strange_complex: (Handel)
[ profile] my_mundane_life has found an easier way to do the Johari Window meme that's going round. Just go here if you'd like to help me make mine by selecting 6 adjectives which you think best describe me - and you can set up your own when you're done, too.

At the moment, I am listening to Handel's very own actual, real-life harpsichord1. I bought the CD yesterday at the Bate Collection, which houses the instrument, and which I visited with [ profile] megamole. I'm not normally overly inclined to sit around listening to harpsichord suites, but the special identity of the instrument this time overrides my normal preferences. And it can't harm to have some about the place: you know, for those times when you come over all harpsichordy.

In fact, since my stereo is in the other room from my computer, and I'm listening to it through an open door, I can have fun imagining that Handel himself is sitting in the next room, running through a few of his latest compositions before he lets them loose on an eager, waiting public.

No, actually, I wouldn't want that to be true at all, because Handel was fucking scary. A poster-board in the Bate Collection related a great story about an incident when some joker had de-tuned all the instruments to be used in a performance of one of his works before the Prince of Wales. When the players began, Handel was so enraged by the cacophony which issued forth that he stormed through the orchestra, knocking a double-bass out of the way as he went, grabbed a kettle-drum, and hurled it at the first violinist; losing his wig in the process. Then he stormed back to the front of the stage, where he was so apoplectic with rage he could barely speak, but stood there huffing, stamping his feet and glaring at the audience instead. Only the Prince of Wales himself could calm him down.

So: a great composer, but I wouldn't want him in my house!

The Bate Collection also featured a plaster cast of Haydn's very own actual, real-life skull. There was a portrait of him displayed next to it, presumably so that you could compare the two and see the resemblance. Or something. I am still quite weirded out by that, actually.

1. Probably.


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