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Donald Burrows

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199737369

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199737369.001.0001

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The Music of the 1740s

The Music of the 1740s

Chapter:
(p.402) Chapter Thirteen The Music of the 1740s
Source:
Handel
Author(s):

Donald Burrows

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199737369.003.0013

This chapter analyses the musical compositions of George Frideric Handel during the 1740s. The decade marked the emergence of a creative period that saw oratorio-type masterworks follow each other, bearing a comparison to his best periods. All works produced by Handel during the 1740s had the same technical parameters: they employed the various forms of recitative, aria, and chorus, in different proportions according to the requirements of each libretto, and were intended to be performed in ‘still life’. As his programmes from 1743 onwards consisted exclusively of such works, it is not surprising that they came to be considered together in common parlance as ‘oratorios’, for they indeed constituted similar elements. The chapter describes how Handel's ‘mature’ oratorios were conceived on the time scale inherited from Italian opera: an evening's entertainment at the theatre consisted of a work in three acts lasting something over three hours in performance, including intervals.

Keywords:   musical compositions, George Frideric Handel, masterworks, technical parameters, recitative, aria, chorus, libretto, still life, time scale

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