UK Handel exhibition to explore man behind music

Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:40pm EDT
 
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By Catherine Bosley

LONDON (Reuters) - London's Handel House Museum, where the German-born composer died, will host an exhibition in 2009 focusing on his passion for food and his finances to mark the 250th anniversary of his death.

The museum, located in the Mayfair townhouse where Handel wrote "Messiah," aims to unmask the man behind the music by focusing on the little-known details of his personal life.

"The personal aspects of Handel are very shadowy and it would be nice to fill out the man," said Edward Blakeman, program editor for BBC Radio 3.

The BBC will also air special Handel programs throughout the year, including a performance of the Messiah in Westminster Abbey on April 14, the day the composer died.

For the first time it will also broadcast all of George Frideric Handel's 40-odd operas, Blakeman added.

Many legends surround German-born Handel, who moved to London in 1713, Handel House curators said. According to one story, he played his harpsichord so much its keys were hollowed out like spoons.

"They (composers) filter what they see and hear in the world ... through their own personalities," said Christopher Hogwood, a Cambridge University professor organizing the exhibition.

He said finding out more about the composer's life would help to understand his music.   Continued...