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Handel: The Man and His Music


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Fully revised, expanded and updated edition of Jonathan Keates' magisterial 1985 biography of one of the world's favourite composers.

About the Author

Jonathan Keates is a prizewinning biographer and novelist, well known as a reviewer and as a writer on Italian culture and history. He teaches at the City of London School and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.


Following closely on the heels of Christopher Hogwood's impressive biography ( LJ 4/15/85), this latest tercentennial tribute to Handel is less glossy, more subjective, and just as enjoyable as its predecessor. Keates is not a musicologist or performerhe is a Shakespeare scholar and fiction writer, but has an amateur's enthusiasm for his subject and an engaging writing style. Moreover, he is able to avail himself of recent Handel research without deadening the prose. While the writing is essentially nontechnical, there are many astute observations on Handel's musical connections with his contemporaries. Scholars will prefer the excellent bibliography and detailed chronology in Hogwood's book; its clarity and objectivity make it a requisite first choice for libraries. For larger collections, however, Keates's quirky and colorful account will be a fine addition. Larry Lipkis, Music Dept., Moravian Coll., Bethlehem, Pa.

This portrait of the German composer interweaves biographical details with commentary on his immenseoeuvre. (Jan.)

Readers cannot go wrong if they choose Keates's account, which is always thoughtful and well-informed, and simmers with an unashamed passion for the music itself * Sunday Telegraph *
An 18th-century mix of pleasure and instruction... As well as having magisterial critical judgements, this is a book rich in dry humour and telling anecdote * Spectator *
The music is the thing and Keates gives it full volume * The Times *
Keates appraises his works with passionate scrutiny, capturing superbly the increasing solitude of Handel's English years * Sunday Times *
This expanded edition of a book Keates published 23 years ago takes in a wealth of new knowledge, and combines biographical and musicological analysis in a way that will appeal both to the general reader and the aficionado... With its astute commentaries on the operas, this book makes a brilliantly lucid guide to Handel's evolving art * Independent *

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