Page:Romain Rolland Handel.djvu/90

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took the character of a national manifestation. It was a reaction of popular common sense against the pompous childishnesses of the Italian Opera, and against the snobbishness which attempted to impose it on other nations. We see in this the first blow struck at the triumphant Italianism. Nationality awoke. In 1729 the Passion according to St. Matthew was given. Some years later Handel's earlier oratorios were performed, and also the first operas of Rameau. In 1728 to 1729 Martin Heinrich Fuhrmann entered the campaign against Italian Opera with his famous pamphlets. After him, Mattheson re-entered the ring: The Goths and their Hippogriffs to be purified in the crater of Etna. But nowhere was this national reaction so widely spread as in England, where it roused itself with such robust humour, as with Swift and with Pope, those famous layers of ghosts[1] and dreams.

. . . . . .

Handel felt this. After 1727 he sought steadily to establish himself on the national English soil. He had become a naturalized Englishman on February 13, 1726. He wrote for the Coronation of

  1. The first three books of the Dunciad of Pope appeared in 1728; The Voyages of Gulliver in 1726. Swift did not forget the musical folly in his satire on the kingdom of Lilliputia.