In 1712, a young German composer followed his princely master to London and would remain there for the rest of his life. That master would become King George II and the composer was George Freidrich Handel. Handel, then still only twenty-seven and largely self-taught, would be at the heart of music activity in London for the next four decades, composing masterpiece after masterpiece, whether the glorious coronation anthem, Zadok the Priest, operas such as Rinaldo and Alcina or the great oratorios, culminating, of course, in Messiah. Here, Jane Glover, who has conducted Handel’s work in opera houses and concert halls throughout the world, draws on her profound understanding of music and musicians to tell Handel’s story. It is a story of music-making and musicianship, but also of courts and cabals of theatrical rivalries and of eighteenth-century society. It is also, of course the story of some of the most remarkable music ever written, music that has been played and sung, and loved, in this country—and throughout the world—for three hundred years.
Jane Glover, author of Mozart's Women, has had a long and hugely successful career as a conductor. She has been Music Director of the Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Artistic Director of The London Mozart Players, and has conducted all the major symphony and chamber orchestras in Britain. She appears regularly at the BBC Proms and is a regular broadcaster for television series on Mozart. She lives in London.
"As we might expect from a conductor of Glover’s experience, her descriptions of Handel’s music—of how the composer married text with sound to such extraordinary effect—are deeply perceptive. Her explanations of operatic form are clear and deft."
– The American Scholar
"Glover’s account of Handel in London examines how a German musician of strong opinions and unpredictable temperament captured the rhythms of a world capital. The merit of Handel in London is to focus on the mechanics and context of how Handel conceived and achieved music of deathless fascination. Ms. Glover, the first woman music director of a London orchestra when she led the London Mozart Players in the 1980s, has conducted more than 100 ‘Messiahs’; she ought to know."
– Wall Street Journal
"Grover brings all her knowledge and experience to bear in this thorough and revealing work about the prolific and prodigious George Frideric Handel. Lush and illuminating—a lovely structure built on a solid foundation of research, expertise, and affection."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Glover narrates with rich detail the musical life of George Frideric Handel in this lively biography. Glover’s stirring and vibrant biography captures Handel’s remarkable output and his breathtaking innovation."
– Publishers Weekly (starred)
"A biography of such gusto and brilliance that it is as pleasurable as informative. Glover illuminates every aspect of Handel’s work and describes the plots and musical distinctions of most of the operas and oratorios so fetchingly that the reader itches to hear and see them. She also brings Handel’s times and most constant collaborators, sponsors, and antagonists to vivid life as she keeps the rather-elusive maestro, who wrote almost nothing about himself, firmly in focus."
– Booklist (starred)
"Glover conjures up an extraordinary past so convincingly that its wonders seem to stray off the page and into our present. Every detail—of business and of manners; of royalty and politics—enriches her portrait of a labyrinthine society while each insight illuminates the workings of genius."
– Barnes & Noble Review
"One of the most intriguing aspects of this biography is Handel’s relations with members of the British monarchy, who offered continuing financial support for his musical aspirations. Another strength is its description of the cultural and political setting in which Handel worked. Recommended for readers who wish to know more about Handel as an empresario for his own works."