Page:Romain Rolland Handel.djvu/200

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sonorous. The shorter movements comprise a Bourrée, a Largo a la Siciliana, entitled Peace,[1] of a beautiful heroic grace, which lulls itself to sleep; a very sprightly Allegro entitled The Rejoicing, and two Minuets for conclusion. It is an interesting work for the organisers of our popular fêtes and open-air spectacles to study.[2] If we have said that after 1740 Handel wrote hardly any other instrumental music than the Firework Music, and the two monumental concertos, a due cori (for two horns) we have the feeling that the last evolution of his thought and instrumental style led him in the direction of music conceived for great masses, wide spaces, and huge audiences. He had always in him a popular vein of thought. I immediately call to mind the many popular inspirations with which his memory was stored, and which vivify the pages of his oratorios. His art, which renewed itself perpetually at this rustic source, had in his time an astonishing popularity. Certain airs from Ottone, Scipione, Arianna, Berenice, and such other of his operas, were circulated and vulgarised not only in England,[3] but abroad, and

  1. Written for 9 horns in three sections, 24 oboes in two sections, and 12 bassoons.
  2. It would not be difficult to add other analogous works by Handel and Beethoven. There exists a fine repertoire of popular classical music for open-air fêtes. But, nevertheless, it is completely disregarded.
  3. The Gavotte theme from the Overture to Ottone was played all over England and on all kinds of instruments, "even on the pan's-pipes of the perambulating jugglers." It was found even at the end of the eighteenth century as a French vaudeville air. (see the Anthologie françoise ou Chansons choisies, published by Monnet, in 1765, Vol. I, p. 286). The March from Scipio, as also that from Rinaldo, served during half a century for the Parade of the Life Guards. The minuets and overtures from Arianna and Berenice had a long popularity. One sees in the English novels of the time (especially in Fielding's Tom Jones) to what an extent Handel's music had permeated English country life, even from the small country squires to the county magnates, so absolutely cut off as they were from all artistic influences.