Sorry, I realize this blog risks turning into an unsolicited and infinite edition of Private Passions.

Handel only gets a rare look-in among my posts on WAM, utterly eclipsed as he is by his contemporary Bach. I’ve already praised Zodak the Chartered Accountant, I mean Zadok the Priest, and I’ve taken part in many a moving performance of the operas and oratorios with John Eliot Gardiner. So despite my devotion to Bach, I have to feature some enthralling slow Handel arias.

Just to remind myself that there are other divine counter-tenors besides Michael Chance, here’s Andreas Scholl:

And to further pursue our theme of tears:


Mark Padmore singing Waft her, angels:

Israel in Egypt has long been a signature piece of John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi choir—performers and audiences alike were overwhelmed by Michael Chance singing Thou shalt bring them in:

And then Eternal source of light divine is moving in diverse versions. Doing it on tour with Carolyn Samson and David Blackadder was overwhelming (OMG, I can’t believe I was involved in that). But here are a couple more versions, beautiful in different ways:

And never mind HIP “authenticity”, this version is just as moving:

And now I just have to add another rendition—also reminding us of the importance of music in ritual: the entrance of the bride at the royal wedding, sadly neglected in the musical coverage, yet worthy of the spellbinding visual images, setting a magical tone for the whole event, with the passion of Michael Curry and Stand by me:

Eternal source of light divine
With double warmth thy beams display
And with distinguish’d glory shine
To add a lustre to this day.

6 thoughts on “Handel

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