Singing Handel, then and now

Wistreich, R. (2019) Singing Handel, then and now. Handel News, 76. pp. 5-8. ISSN 2517-7656

Abstract

If you attend a performance of a Handel opera or oratorio these days, the chances are it may still be billed, perhaps rather self-consciously, as being ‘historically-informed’ – though increasingly it is no longer considered necessary to draw attention to such exceptionality, because this has become the norm. Our ears (and eyes) are now fully acclimatised to the light and agile playing of gut-strung instruments with short, light bows; the pungent, stringy sounds of baroque oboes and bassoons; the almost reedy, piercing quality of narrow-bore, valveless trumpets and horns; and the dry crack of shallow, calf-skin headed timpani beaten with hardwood sticks.

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