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Handel and Music 115
their work. I feel the presence of Handel behind every note
of his music.
Handel a Conservative
He left no school because he was a protest. There were
men in his time, whose music he perfectly well knew, who are
far more modern than Handel. He was opposed to the
musically radical tendencies of his age and, as a musician,
was a decided conservative in all essential respects—though
ready, of course, to go any length in any direction if he had
a fancy at the moment for doing so.
Handel and Ernest Pontifex
It cost me a great deal to make Ernest [in The Way of All
Flesh] play Beethoven and Mendelssohn ; I did it simply
ad captandum. As a matter of fact he played only the music
of Handel and of the early Italian and old English composers
—but Handel most of all.
It takes as great a composer as Handel—or rather it
would take as great a composer if he could be found—to be
able to be as easily and triumphantly commonplace as Handel
often is, just as it takes—or rather would take—as great a
composer as Handel to write another Hallelujah chorus. It
is only the man who can do the latter who can do the former
as Handel has done it. Handel is so great and so simple
that no one but a professional musician is unable to under-
Handel and Dr. Morell
After all, Dr. Morell suited Handel exactly well—far
better than Tennyson would have done. I don't believe
even Handel could have set Tennyson to music comfortably.
What a mercy it is that he did not live in Handel's time 1
Even though Handel had set him ever so well he would have
spoiled the music, and this Dr. Morell does not in the least