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    Handel Stories

    Beethoven Praises Handel

    This is where you flaunt your admiration for Handel with personal anecdotes. The caption to the left is Beethoven’s quote, "Handel is the greatest composer who ever lived; I would bare my head and kneel at his grave." Quite a strong endorsement from a guy who knew a thing or two about music himself.

    If you have good stories relating to Handel or your fanaticism, email them to and they will get posted in this section (assuming they are not vulgar or anything, and I cannot yet imagine why they would be). I pride myself on being quite a Handel fanatic, and would like to hear from the other ones out there.

    My own stories:

    Handel Lives! - April 14th, 2009. A very loaded day for Handelians, as we observed the 250th anniversary of his passing. As providence would have it, it fell on a Tuesday, which was a night I happened to have a bowling league match.

    I should explain that this is a very informal league for people who are not particularly good. It is also a silly league, and they occasionally have theme/costume nights to liven things up. Again, by a coincidence that borders on the miraculous, this particular day we did have a theme night, and it was Zombies. My girlfriend Julie pointed out that this was a sign that I should dress as Zombie Handel, and I quickly realized she was right.

    Zombie HandelZombie Handel

    So I improvised a costume in record time with whatever I could find at local 2nd-hand outlets, made myself a crude wig out of polyester filler, packed my outfit with stuffing to achieve Handel's distinctive gait, and then added the necessary makeup to make myself look like one who has recently risen from death to feast upon human flesh. Sadly, very few people (by which I mean none at all) understood it.

    Ah yes, and it occurred to me to make a "decomposing composer" joke in the title, but that seemed too obvious.

    Update! Halloween 2009 I decided to resurrect Zombie Handel a second time. Since I had so little time to cobble it together on the bowling night, I thought I could do it better justice. The second picture shows the somewhat improved version.

    Rebel with a Very Specifice Cause - I did visit Handel’s grave on my first trip to London, as Beethoven would have liked. The signs in Westminster Abbey say to turn off cameras, but I had my heart set on a shot of the monument. But I can solemnly swear that besides the one photo, I was completely compliant. (The picture is the one seen in the fifth Biography page of this site; a bit blurry, but I’ll treasure it forever.)

    Perhaps photographing the statue carries some sort of curse, because the vacation was ill-fated with regard to Handel. I arrived about a week too late to see the Oxford Handel Festival, and a week too early to see Theodora performed in London. I was there to see a friend rather than shows. This taught me a valuable lesson, and since then I have always planned trips so as to maximize Handel. In the Summer of 2009 I will take a trip that will include 5 concerts in 7 days (in Halle, Dresden, Paris, if all goes well).

    Holiday Stress - November 22nd, back in 2006, I hosted a St. Cecilia’s Day party. It was to consist of hanging out, snacking, and listening to Handel’s wonderful ode to music. But shortly before the Big Night I had a terrible nightmare in which the party was a catastrophe. Everything went wrong. There was no food, I couldn't not find the right recording amongst my CDs, and soon a throng of rowdy, uninvited hooligans showed up. They proceeded belligerently to spill their drinks everywhere and make a mess, while I bustled about trying to control the situation and get them out the door. In actuality, the party went pretty smoothly. But to this day I would not wish St. Cecilia’s Day Anxiety on my worst enemy.

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