G F Handel – The Sixteen

[Handel] is the only person I would wish to see before I die, and the only person I would wish to be, were I not Bach. — Bach

Handel is the greatest composer who ever lived. I would bare my head and kneel at his grave. — Beethoven

The Sixteen choir and orchestra, Carolyn Sampson soprano, conducted by founder Harry Christophers at The Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

I think this from the BBC Proms 2009, but cannot be certain. As usual BBC shoot themselves in the foot and the broadcast is no longer available on their website.

This marked the 30th anniversary of The Sixteen and Handel’s 250th anniversary.

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), together with English composer Henry Purcell (who was to greatly influence Handel), was one of the leading composers of English Baroque music.

Handel’s Messiah was an inspiration from angels and an attempt to capture their voices. On completing the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ Handel is reported to have exclaimed ‘I think I did see all Heaven open before me and the great God Himself.’

Later in life, Handel was to compare his experience with that of Saint Paul: ‘Whether I was in my body or out of my body when I wrote it, I know not. God only knows.’

For my lovely friend Pandora.

Hail, Mother of the Redeemer

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2 Responses to “G F Handel – The Sixteen”

  1. Pandora Says:

    Thank you Keith so much, this is really special!!! But it has presented me with an enigma … why Sixteen?

    Enjoy your night.

    • keithpp Says:

      That was exactly my thought when I saw The Sixteen three weeks ago in Guildford Cathedral.

      I always assumed there were sixteen of them, but there are not, there are more. Nor have I seen any explanation for the name.

      I am now thinking maybe there is a musical explanation. We deal in octaves, have polyphonic music, ie music of many voices cf plainchant.

      Maybe to those more musically literate than ourselves the answer is staring us in the face.

      Next time I am in Ben’s Records in Guildford, I will ask Ben, maybe he will know.

      Or hopefully someone reading this will have the answer,

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