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Donald Burrows

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199737369

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199737369.001.0001

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The Music of the ‘Academy’ Years

The Music of the ‘Academy’ Years

(p.172) Chapter Seven The Music of the ‘Academy’ Years

Donald Burrows

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores musical compositions written by George Frideric Handel during his time at the Royal Academy of Music where he was Master of the Orchestra. It examines Handel's works in some detail, beginning with his early Academy operas as a general introduction. During the years 1723–25, Handel produced three major works that must be regarded as the masterpieces of his Academy years in terms of quality — Giulio Cesare, Tamerlano, and Rodelinda. For sheer musical and compositional power, Rodelinda might be preferred: one beautiful aria follows another in a consistently well-balanced succession of contrasts. Tamerlano, on the other hand, had a conventional final aria for one of the leading soloists preceded by a chain ensemble. For illustration of the wide range of Handel's techniques, however, the best example is Giulio Cesare, consisting of a fast-moving plot, full of incident and containing some of Handel's best arias.

Keywords:   George Frideric Handel, Royal Academy of Music, Master of the orchestra, Giulio Cesare, Tamerlano, Rodelinda, aria, chain ensemble

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