Handel’s Saul

13th May 2017

St. Edmund’s Church, Shipston-on-Stour

Handel’s Saul

is surely one of the most moving works in Handel’s whole output.

G. F. Handel

He took great care over it, spending a full 65 days in its composition (compared with the amazing 24 days for Messiah and 27 days for Israel in Egypt).

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Charles Jennens

was born in Gopsall Hall in Leicestershire.

His great-grandfather was one of the great Birmingham ironmasters and lived at Aston Hall. So the family were immensely wealthy and Charles lived accordingly, with a second home in Bloomsbury.

Charles Jennens

He was a man of literary pretensions, bringing out his own edition of some of Shakespeare’s tragedies, which brought him scorn and ridicule from some quarters. But he was a very able amateur librettist, providing the libretti for Messiah and Belshazzar, as well as Saul.

Both Jennens and Handel were difficult men, apt to be high-handed. Handel could fairly massacre a libretto to suit his music; but Jennens would not countenance such treatment of his work. (see maggot number 3 elsewhere in this article)

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