Great among the Nations

20–21 November 1999

King’s College, London

Handel is regarded as one of the most ‘cosmopolitan’ composers of his period. As a young man he became familiar, in his home town of Halle, with German music for the Lutheran church and, in Hamburg, with opera based on both Italian and French styles of composition. In Italy he mastered instrumental and vocal genres and techniques, secular and sacred, and in England he reinvented the anthem and ode and created the dramatic oratorio. The description ‘great among the nations’ applies to him in two ways: his music demonstrates both a fluency in the musical languages of the time and an ability to combine them in a distinctive manner, while his success as a composer, particularly in London, earned him an international reputation. The purpose of this conference was to study the Handel’s music from all these points of view.