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Jennens - Handel's librettist

Duration:
58 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 09 February 2013

Catherine Bott visits the Handel House in London where Ruth Smith has curated an imaginative exhibition on the life of Handel's librettist, Charles Jennens.
It was Jennens who created the libretto for Handel's Messiah, he might even have suggested the idea to Handel, and he also furnished the composer with words for several other of his oratorios including Saul, Belshazzar, L'Allegro and perhaps Israel in Egypt. As such, Jennens often features as a footnote in Handel's biography, but the academic and author Ruth Smith believes more credit should be given to Jennens for the contribution he made to 18th century artistic life in this country. Not only did he provide Handel with libretti, he was also one of the first to faithfully edit the works of Shakespeare.
Ruth Smith has curated an exhibition about Jennens at the Handel House in London and Catherine Bott visits and Dr Smith to find out more about the man and his achievements.

Music Played

16 items
  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel Messiah: "And the Glory of the Lord"

    Performers: The Sixteen, Harry Christophers (conductor)

    CORO, COR16062

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel L'Allegro (part 3): "As steals the morn upon the night"

    Performers: Patrizia Kwella (soprano), Maldwyn Davies (tenor), Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)

    ERATO, ECD 880752

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel Saul – "Birth and Fortune I Despise!"

    Performers: Robert Murray (Jonathan), The Sixteen, Harry Christophers (conductor)

    CORO, COR16103

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel Saul – Endor scene "Wretch that I am" – Apparition of Samuel

    Performers: Christopher Purves (Saul), Jeremy Budd (Witch of Endor), Stuart Young (Ghost of Samuel), The Sixteen, Harry Christophers (conductor)

    CORO, COR16103

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel Israel in Egypt: "Sing Ye to the Lord"

    Performers: Elisabeth Priday (soprano), Monteverdi Choir and Monteverdi Orchestra, John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)

    ERATO, ECD99192

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel Messiah: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion"

    Performers: Carolyn Sampson (soprano), The Sixteen, Harry Christophers (conductor)

    CORO, COR16062

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel Messiah: "Their sound is gone out"

    Performers: The English Concert, Trevor Pinnock (director)

    ARCHIV, 423 6302

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel Belshazzar: Chorus "By slow degrees"

    Performers: Choir of the English Concert, The English Concert, Trevor Pinnock (director)

    ARCHIV, 0289 477 0372

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel "And the Glory of the Lord" from Messiah

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel "As steals the morn upon the night" from part 3 of 'L'Allegro'

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel "Birth and Fortune I Despise!" from 'Saul'

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel Endor scene "Wretch that I am" - Apparition of Samuel (from 'Saul')

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel "Sing Ye to the Lord" from 'Israel in Egypt'

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion" from Messiah

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel "Their sound is gone out" from Messiah

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel Chorus "By slow degrees" from 'Belshazzar'

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