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Georg Friedrich Handel - ein Lebensinhalt. Gedenkschrift fur Bernd Baselt (1934-1993).

The tragically early death of Bernd Baselt in 1993 robbed the music world of one of its most outstanding Handel scholars, a man of exceptional industry and no less exceptional modesty. Had he lived another year, Baselt would surely have been honored with a festschrift; sadly the present volume has to be a Gedenkschrift.

The volume contains thirty-four essays, mostly by German, British, and North American scholars; the first group predominates, and it includes appropriately eleven authors from Halle, the birthplace that Baselt shared with Handel. Five of the essays are reprints or revisions (radical in one case) of earlier publications or conference papers. The essays are preceded by a preface (a gracious tribute by Klaus Hortschansky) and followed by a list of Baselt's writings and editions.

Inevitably, the Gedenkschrift is something of a potpourri. Handel, of course, provides a unifying theme, as does Telemann to a lesser extent. In addition the editors have grouped certain related essays together: the volume opens with three essays on oratorios and one on the Funeral Anthem; these are followed by three on the operas; a further group covers aspects of the Handel tradition in the nineteenth century; and there are three essays on Telemann. Some of the writers pursue themes arising directly out of Baselt's research: Martin Ruhnke's essay, "Telemanns Umarbeitung des Textes zur Serenade Don Quichotte auf der Hochzeit des Comacho," for example, is based on Baselt's edition of the serenade and is indebted to his articles in Telemann und seine Dichter: Konferenzbericht der 6. Magdeburger Telemann-Festtage 1977 (Magdeburg: s.n., 1978) and the Hamburger Jahrbuch fur Musikwissenschaft (iii, 1978). In a more general way, Baselt's survey of early German opera at the court of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt (in Musiktheatralische Formen in kleinen Residenzen, ed. Friedhelm Brusniak [Koln: Studio, 1993]) provides the background to Werner Braun's article on the opera Die Triumphirende Treue (Coburg, 1686). Other writers pay tribute to Baselt for the ideas generated by his research and for his behind-the-scenes work in stimulating and promoting music performances. In the very first essay Donald Burrows suggests that the 1738 Oratorio is a strong contender for an additional HWV catalog number ([A.sup.16]) and wonders how Baselt would have reacted to the suggestion. The last essay, Rudolf Angermuller's "Tafelmusik in Salzburg," takes as its theme a subject with which Baselt was much concerned in the last year of his life, and on which he was to have given a paper at the 1994 Rovereto conference on musica da tavola.

The Handelian focus of the volume is a wide one. It encompasses, for example, Percy Young's essay on the aesthetics of Uvedale Price (1747-1829); Dieter Gutknecht's essay on Chrysander's views on performance practice in Handel's oratorios; Annette Landgraf's essay on the early years (1940-46) of the Hallische Handel-Ausgabe; Gert Richter's essay on the interpretation of Handel's work under the Marxist regime of the former German Democratic Republic (Handel was praised for being "antiaristokratisch," "volkerverbindend," and "revolutionar"); and Friedhelm Brusniak's essay on the musical connections between Waldeck-Pyrmont and England in Handel's day (an example of Fellerer's "landschaftlich gebundene Musikforschung"). The essays on nineteenth-century cultivation of Handel's music form an interesting group. The recent discovery of the music archives of the Dusseldorf Musikverein provides the basis for Klaus Wolfgang Niemoller's essay on the Handel manuscripts contained in the archives and of the performance of Handel's music (chiefly the oratorios) in the circle of Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann. The significance of Handel's music for Schumann is taken a stage further by Wolfgang Boetticher in "Das Fortleben Handels in der Geisteswelt Robert Schumanns"; and Undine Wagner assesses the work of Josef Proksch (1794-1864) in promoting Handel's music in Prague. Kathrin Eberl demonstrates the importance of Daniel Gottlob Turk and Johann Friedrich Reichardt as promoters of Handel's music to an earlier generation.

In contrast to these are essays that concentrate on a single composition of Handel, or on a group of related works. Hans Joachim Marx's essay on the alternative versions of Messiah, first presented as a lecture in 1994, summarizes the composition and performance history of the work, and examines in detail the revisions of the air "How Beautiful Are the Feet." Edwin Werner's essay on the Funeral Anthem places the work in a mid-German music tradition, drawing attention to thematic similarities found in chorale melodies and a phrase from Heinrich Schutz's Musikalisches Exequien. Rudolf Pecman's essay on Handel's music for performance in the open air concentrates on the Music for the Royal Fireworks and matters of scoring. Winton Dean helpfully brings together thoughts from his previous writings on Handel's relations with his opera librettists, emphasizing the likelihood of Handel's active collaboration with his librettists (especially Nicolini Haym), and suggesting the interesting possibility that Angelo Cori, an Italian poet resident in London, might have provided some of the anonymous later librettos.

The contributions by Ellen Harris and Terence Best arise out of the authors' experience in editing Handel's music. Harris addresses the familiar question: What to do about bars of irregular length? She distinguishes three types of barring irregularities in the sources (including autograph manuscripts): shortened or lengthened bars in recitative (3/2 or 2/4 in the general context of 4/4); similar irregularities in arias; and the barring of arias, usually in "compound" meter, in irregular groups. Her example 3a (and others of this type) perhaps deserves a category of its own, for it is an obvious mistake that requires editorial intervention of a more radical kind than simply deciding where to put the barlines. (The eighteenth-century solution in ex. 3b seems preferable to Harris's in ex. 3c, which necessitates the addition of several "missing" flags.) Drawing parallels with attitudes toward other editorial problems (dynamics and rhythm), she judiciously assesses the relative merits of regularization and flexibility, coming down finally in favor of the former. Best skillfully disentangles the complex filiation of Handel's second set of Suites de pieces pour le clavecin, published by Walsh in about 1727, demonstrates how knowledge of transmission is essential in reaching editorial decisions, and acknowledges the necessity for editorial judgment in cases of intractable difficulty. Such distillations of the workings of an editor's mind are an invaluable contribution to the discussion of editorial practice.

Also welcome are three essays that present substantial music analyses: Friedhelm Krummacher's "Requiem fur Mignon: Goethes Worte in Schumanns Musik"; Ursula Ismer and Hanna John's essay on the Brahms Handel Variations, op. 24; and Gunter Fleishhauer's "Annotationen zum Wort-Ton-Verhaltnis in Georg Philipp Telemanns Messias (TWV 6:4)." The last is one of a group of three Telemann essays, its companions being Ruhnke's essay on the Don Quichotte serenade and Wolf Hobohm's study of Johannes Riemer, a theologian, writer, and teacher of Telemann. Aspects of German opera before Handel are covered by Konstanze Musketa in "David Pohle und die Oper im mitteldeutschen Raum" and Klaus-Peter Koch in "Keiser, Graupner und Schieferdecker: Die Jahre 1706-1709." In three essays the connection with Handel is provided by his birthplace: Wolfgang Ruf's "Hallescher Pietismus und deutsches Lied" and the two essays on Turk (student, organist, and teacher in Halle) by Eberl and Hortschansky. Standing somewhat apart from the Handel-Halle-Telemann axis are essays by Hans-Joachim Schulze ("Markus-Passion und kein Ende: Zur angeblichen Passions-Cantatte von Ph: E: Bach"), Herbert Schneider ("Danchets und Campras Idomenee"), and Reinhard Wiesend ("Die Identifizierung eines unbekannten Galuppi-Librettos - oder: Von Schwierigkeiten der Opernforschung"). The subject of the last named is a libretto of an opera entitled L'amante di tutte, printed at Venice in 1761, which Wiesend has succeeded in identifying as a work of Galuppi.

In his important study of the 1738 Oratorio, succinctly characterized as "a benefit pasticcio," Burrows has reconstructed the contents of this curious work: most of act 2 comes from Deborah, while acts 1 and 3 draw on a variety of works, including Athalia, Esther, and the cantata Cecilia volgi un sguardo. The mixture of languages (English and Italian) reflects Handel's practice in his London oratorio performances of the preceding years, which had often included Italian soloists. In a copy of the 1733 wordbook for Athalia in the Coke collection, Burrows discovered an inserted page that must relate to the 1735 Covent Garden performances (for which no wordbook survives): it contains five Italian airs and a duet, specially written for the castrato Carestini, Handel's primo uomo in the 1735 operatic season. In addition to providing firm evidence for the form in which Athalia was performed at this revival, the discovery also indicates that Italian movements were being inserted in oratorios earlier than has been suspected. Burrows's discovery supplies a footnote reference for Howard Serwer's essay, "The Italians in Esther," strengthening his belief that similar inserts might have been printed for Esther performances as early as 1733.

John Roberts's densely argued essay "A New Handel Aria, or Hamburg Revisited" takes as its starting point a search for "Casti amori," referred to by Charles Burney in his General History. Roberts locates two sources for the aria (manuscripts with Hamburg connections in Berlin and Vienna), and at this point the essay broadens out into a much wider study, taking in manuscript provenance, borrowings, adaptation, and biography. The "revisiting" of Roberts's title is literal as well as metaphorical: he concludes that Handel might have interrupted his stay in Italy on two occasions to return to Hamburg: ca. December 1707 to ca. January 1708, for the performances of Florindo and Daphne; and ca. December 1708 to (?) summer 1709. The German text ("Mit dem Hetzen") that appears in both sources for "Casti amori" (in the Berlin manuscript it is written above the Italian original) could have been added, Roberts suggests, in order to create a substitute aria for insertion in an undocumented revival of Keiser's opera Aurora.

Graydon Beeks's article, "Reconstructing a Lost Archive Set of the Chandos Anthems," is a fine demonstration of what can be achieved by meticulous filiation study. Beeks identifies three manuscripts of Chandos Anthems copied by scribe S3 and demonstrates that one of the anthems, HWV 254 ("O Praise the Lord with One Consent"), was copied from a manuscript now at the British Library and that the latter is almost certainly the sole survivor of a lost archive set of the Chandos Anthems. (It is good to have S3's verbal howlers preserved in print.)

The volume has been carefully edited and proofread; printing errors are easily corrected. It is a pity that there is no index.

ANDREW V. JONES Selwyn College, Cambridge
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Author:Jones, Andrew V.
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1998
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