Happy Birthday Handel

« previous episode | next episode »

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Today is Handel's 326th birthday. In his honor, we're going to play one of his most beloved pieces. You told us you wanted to hear selections from Handel's Messiah and we played it today at 12 noon.


Comments [59]

Michael Meltzer

Thank you for honoring the memory of Richard Westenburg.

Feb. 23 2011 12:34 PM
Peter O'Malley from Oakland, New Jersey

I also agree with Andrew and the others who point out the vast output of G.F.H. and note that the ones chosen for this somewhat silly event are the ones that are always played, over and over, on what has become a form of "Top 40" classical (though I admit things are better than in the waning days of the commercial station, despite the feeble and annoyingly inadequate signal).

How about "Ariodante"?

Feb. 23 2011 12:14 PM
John R. Gonzalez from Laconia, NH 03246

Back in the 1960's I used to concertise in Stamford, Conn. and feature the piano music of Louis Moreauv Gottschalk. They often referred to me as the Victor Borge of the clergy. I've been listening and enjoying QXR since the 1930's. I especially liked LLoyd Moss now in his 80's? Is he still alive? God bless you all.

Feb. 23 2011 12:01 PM
poeta from Rumson

Happy Birthday Handel! I picked The
Royal Fireworks as I need that harmonious motivation today!!!

Feb. 23 2011 11:59 AM
Takakazu KATO from Japan

I love both the Water Music and the Royal Fireworks, but the best music for his birthday is Messiah.

Feb. 23 2011 11:58 AM

I welll remember the first time I heard the Royal Fireworks. It was at the royal firework display in London in honor of the marriage of Charles and Diana. They had to get a volunteer to dress in a fireproof suit to spin the firewheel... Sparks flu!
Thanks for the selections. Could you play some of Handel's lesser known works?

Feb. 23 2011 11:56 AM
Cristina Malinverno from Blauivelt, NY

I would have preferred to hear one of Concerti Grossi. They are one if not the first example of this kind, and the precursor of the concerto in three movements as we know it today.

Feb. 23 2011 11:54 AM
Steve from Bronx

Andrew from NoLIta is right on the money. Hasn't it occured to you that it might be more enjoyable and interesting (not to mention challenging) to play some of Handel's (or anyone else's) less familiar works?

Feb. 23 2011 11:53 AM
Bezalel Stern from Manhattan

I like music!!!!!!

Feb. 23 2011 11:49 AM
Andrew from NoLIta from NoLIta in lower Manhattan

It would be wonderful to hear Handel's "Dixit Dominus" or "Zadok the Priest" as welcome alternatives to the pieces you're offering which, while lovely to listen to, get played over and over, ad infinitum.

Feb. 23 2011 11:48 AM
Peter F. Eder from Darien, CT

Water Music ... warm, water music ... to melt the feet of snow that still cover house and garden ... and to make this lovely bright birthday day even brighter.

Feb. 23 2011 11:48 AM
Tom Mangne from NY, NY

Given the three choices, you've made it very difficult to pick.

Feb. 23 2011 11:45 AM

Yes some "fireworks" conducted by Raymond Leppard, please.

Feb. 23 2011 11:43 AM
Norman from Rockville Centre

As Handel celebrated the birth of the Messiah in his glorious Oratorio, we should celebrate the composer's birthday with several of its selections. Beethoven knew what he was saying when he chose Handel as his favorite composer.

Feb. 23 2011 11:41 AM
Counce from Avon, CT

Thayer, in his biography of Beethoven, relates the following: "One joyful event brightened the solitary gloom of the sick chamber in the middle of December[1826]. From Johann Andreas Stumpff, of London, Beethoven received ... the works of Handel... Gerhard von Breuning pictures the joy of Beethoven at the reception of the gift... 'I have long wanted them,.. for Handel is the greatest, the ablest composer that ever lived. I can still learn from him.' .."

Feb. 23 2011 11:19 AM
Ruth Widder from Manhattan

I second your selections as Handel's greatest works. Handel House at 25 Brook St. London, was the his home and where he composed most of his works. It is now a wonderful museum and performance space well worth visiting. He also was a smart businessman and fairly affluent. Jimi Hendrix lived there in the'60s when is was still in disrepair. Many of his instruments are still in use.

Feb. 23 2011 11:18 AM
Tom Walsh from Montclair, NJ

I think "Messiah" is the GREATEST piece of music ever written! So naturally, I have voted for it.
I do agree with others who suggest that maybe you at WQXR should consider traveling some of the lesser trodden roads, and offer some of the lesser played works of the giants of composition in the classical world when you offer these showdowns.
I love the station, however, and listen most of the day.

Feb. 23 2011 11:04 AM

Any Handel is spectacular, but Music forThe Royal Fireworks is stately and invigorating andgets the blood pumping. Happy Birthday,G. F.!

Feb. 23 2011 11:03 AM

Here's a shameless plug to all Handel lovers: the Water Gap Singers, of which I'm a member, will be performing his oratorio "Judas Maccabaeus" at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Blairstown, NJ, on May 15 at 4 p.m. Admission is free, but we'll be taking a collection at Intermission. In the role of Judas will be tenor John Hammel, with bass J.B. Davis in the role of Simon. I hope a lot of you all will come out to Blairstown that afternoon. Rural New Jersey is beautiful in May!

Feb. 23 2011 11:01 AM
Bonnie Gustafsson from Bloomfield, NJ

Boy, that's a hard choice. As a former choral singer and church musician, Messiah has a special place for me.

However, Water Music does as well. It has always -- since my college days (and that's quite a while) -- been what I played when I was feeling low or just wanted to be uplifted and brought to a better place. And, unlike Messiah, I don't feel compelled to participate by singing along.

Feb. 23 2011 10:59 AM
Richard from Roosevelt Island

Based on the number of performances in Handel's lifetime, the Messiah has to be a hands-down winner. After its premiere, he conducted many additional performances, often noting the names of the soloists in his conducting score. No piece by Handel has had the audience draw of the Messiah, to this day.

Feb. 23 2011 10:56 AM
Vivian Gluss from Stamford, CT

I'm having a friend for lunch. Messiah too heavy, Fireworks too loud, Water Music just right!

Feb. 23 2011 10:54 AM
Linda Birnbaum

I agree w/ anne, you don't play enough choral music

Feb. 23 2011 10:53 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

I voted for "Messiah", one of the greatest works ever composed. Thank you, G.F. Handel, and happy birthday!

Feb. 23 2011 10:52 AM
Virginia Angelovich

Water Music is one of my favorite pieces. It lifts me up! It reminds me of summer floating down the Thames! Just what we need in this weather.

Feb. 23 2011 10:50 AM
Gregg from Astoria Queens

And I picked his "Music for the Royal Fireworks".

However there is only one definitive version for it. And that was recorded by the Cleveland Symphonic Winds, conducted by Fennel, when the digital era started.

Feb. 23 2011 10:47 AM
anne c from Bronx, New York

Messiah -- because there's not enough choral music played on WQXR.

Feb. 23 2011 10:46 AM
Zulema from Bronx

Thank you, Kenneth Lane, for joining us here. And let us hear "Worthy is the Lamb" and "Amen."

Feb. 23 2011 10:43 AM
Karen Davidowitz from Flushing, NY

Being a string player I would like to hear any of the Concerti Grossi Op. 6, especially any one of the last 6. Pure string sound without the need of woodwinds, brass or voices. But if you need to go with the whole package the Watermusic is great as is "Let the Bright Seraphim". Handle Handel with loving care!

Feb. 23 2011 10:42 AM
John J. Christiano from Franklin NJ

"Svegliatevi nel core" from Giulio Cesare in Egitto!

Feb. 23 2011 10:35 AM

The Water Music please! Although we miss Jeff, thank you Elliot for making this week lovely! You and all the other WQXR hosts are what make this station so special! Thanks again!

Feb. 23 2011 10:30 AM
jess from NYC

I'll go with Harmonious Blacksmith as well.

Feb. 23 2011 10:29 AM
Joanna from Clayton, GA

None of these potboilers are my favorite. Alcina, or Zadok the priest (it's short) or The Harmonious Blacksmith on the Harpsichord, not the trumpet!

Feb. 23 2011 10:24 AM
David from NYC

Both water music and royal fire works are the composer's achievements in turning events music into immortal classic. But it seems water music has more diversity and colorful orchestration. So let is be Water Music.

Feb. 23 2011 10:14 AM
Margaret Lutteral, Esq. from Manhattan

Some "fireworks" please.

I adore Elliot Forrester

Feb. 23 2011 10:13 AM
Mary-Jo Knight from NJ

Would love to hear Worthy IS The Lamb through to the Amen Chorus from The Messiah. It's the part that many concert- goers miss!

Feb. 23 2011 10:12 AM
John Turner from Indianapolis

Amen! I couldn't agree more! What a lack of imagination these showdowns always display. Rather than show the less knowledgeable something else from Handel, et al., you pander to the lowest common denominator. Is this a top-40 format or a real classical music station?

Feb. 23 2011 10:11 AM
Elsie St. Leger from Harlem, NY

As much as I love Handel's Messiah, I would prefer a musical road much less trampled on to honor the great composer. You'd never know the breadth of his output by WQXR's limited range and choices.

Feb. 23 2011 09:54 AM
Counce from CT

Water Music - a prayer for this snowy winter of our discontent.

Feb. 23 2011 09:43 AM
Alma Daniel from New York City

It would be lovely if you played something from Acis and Galatea, instead of the old war horses, which are so familiar I can hum them backwards. Your colleague, Bill McLaughlin has been able to find other works by Handel. Many of us would appreciate it if you could, too.

Feb. 23 2011 09:33 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane from BOONTON, NJ

My birthday also is today on February 23rd. I sang "Sound an alarm" from Handel's "Judas Maccabeus." To this day that is my favorite tenor selection from Handel's oeuvre. My vote would be for the "Messiah," but the alternatives are treasures and masterpieces to cherish.

Feb. 23 2011 09:21 AM

I cast my vote for Messiah!!! As a singer, I want to hear some Baroque Vocal Polyphony! Its a shame that the chorus "Let Their Celestial Concerts Unite" from Samson wasn't on the showdown. Please WQXR even if its not in the showdown today, for Handel's birthday you must play "Let Their Celestial Concerts Unite" from Samson!!!!!!

Feb. 23 2011 09:12 AM
Jennifer from Newark

Water Music, please.

Feb. 23 2011 09:07 AM
Matthew Moll from Hudson Valley, N.Y.

I voted for WATER MUSIC.
...Such a splended piece of music with 'boat ride story' accompaniment.

~Happy Birthday G. F. HANDEL~!

Feb. 23 2011 08:55 AM
Dani from New Rochelle, NY

Messiah is my 1st choice, but Water Music and the Royal Fireworks are very lovely also.

Feb. 23 2011 08:53 AM
Kate from NY

Me, too! I vote for Messiah but love the idea of the Harmonious Blacksmith.

Feb. 23 2011 08:51 AM
Barbara Sontz from Upper West Side, New York

The first day I took a Walkman on the subway (how many years ago???), I was walking down a wide stairway at the Columbus Circle station. Handel's Water Music was playing, so I strode down the staircase in as stately a manner as I could muster. I passed a young man coming up who was obviously bopping on his music machine to much more contemporary music. But we smiled, each recognizing the pleasure that music brings. It was a New York Moment.

Feb. 23 2011 08:50 AM
Caleb from Cyberspace

I vote for water music, but I also like the idea of Harmonious Blacksmith!

Feb. 23 2011 08:48 AM
Richard from Englewood, NJ

Messiah, of course. WQXR plays Fire and Water much too often! As great as those suites may be, please give us more variety.

Feb. 23 2011 08:47 AM
Tim Warner from Brooklyn, NY

The Water Music,
how lovely and soothing.

Feb. 23 2011 08:47 AM
Judith Galletti

Messiah !!!

Feb. 23 2011 08:17 AM
Terry from Central New Jersey

Messiah, please!

Feb. 23 2011 07:57 AM
Flavio Hasselmann from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I´ll follow Michael´s remarks above and vote also for the Harmonious Blacksmith.

Feb. 23 2011 07:49 AM
SC from New Jersey

The Messiah

Feb. 23 2011 07:44 AM
Shawn Kazubowski-Houston from Toronto, Canada


Feb. 23 2011 07:26 AM

Oh! I always thought it was plain old "Messiah," not "THE Messiah."

At any rate, that's what I asked for. But I'll enjoy whichever work wins the showdown!

Feb. 23 2011 06:25 AM


Feb. 23 2011 06:24 AM

Water Music Hornpipe pwetty please! LOL.

Feb. 23 2011 03:25 AM
Michael Meltzer

If you want representative choices, the Messiah is of course prime, but deciding between the Water Music and the Royal Fireworks Music is making a distinction without a difference. Substitute the Harmonious Blacksmith for one of those latter two.

Feb. 23 2011 03:05 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.