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Charles Jennens: The Man Behind Messiah Exhibition

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Handel's Inspiration
Charles Jennens, handel house museum
Portrait of Jennens by Huddson, Handel Museum Trust Ltd.

Born in Germany in 1685, George Frideric Handel was a famous Baroque composer famous for operas, concertos, anthems, and oratorios. But just how famous would Handel have been if it was not for Charles Jennens. The Leicestershire-born philanthropist was a collector of fine art, and was a great landowner, having built a country house with extensive grounds. And although he was not a composer, he was very influential in Handel's work. Jennens was the inspiration behind many of Handel's exciting compositions, including his oratorios Saul and Belshazzar.

In a new exhibition running until 14th April 2013, the Handel House Museum are giving you access to the life Jennens, and to examine the details of his work, character, and collaboration with Handel.

There will be several events coinciding with the exhibition, a talk by Dr Ruth Smith, and readings by Oliver Soden from Jennens' correspondence. It will be held at the Savile Club on Brook Street, where there will be a drinks reception at 6.30pm, followed by the talk. The event is free, but to find out the date you need to book.

Sunday 10 February, 10am-7pm

Come and Sing 'Saul'

With highlights from Handel's Saul, Laurence Cummings, will conduct the performance by the Handel House Choir. You will be able to attend both the coaching sessions, which start at 10am, the rehearsal at 3pm, and the main performance at 6pm, which will take place at Grosvenor Chapel. Tickets are 15, include a glass of wine for participants. Alternatively, you can attend just the public performance for 5.

Sunday 17 February, 3-4pm

Charles Jennens' Subscriptions

Jennens supported other composers as well as Handel. For 9 (5 for students), you can listen to John Alcock, William Boyce and JC Smith, performed by Julian Perkins.

Sunday 3 March, 3.30-5pm

Inspiring Handel

A concert of some of Handel's most thrilling arias and duets from Saul, L'Allegro, and Belshazzar. Tickets are 9 or 5 for students.

Saturday 23 March 6.30pm-9.30pm

'Messiah' Anniversary Concert

Celebrating the 270th anniversary of Messiah's premier in London, the Pegasus Choir will perform at Grosvenor Chapel. Tickets are 10 or 5 for students.

Sunday 14 April, 11am-12.30pm

Walking Tour: Charles Jennens

Find out about the man behind Messiah in a 10 walking tour.

Sunday 14 April, 3pm-4pm

Concert: 'L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato'

On the 16th April, Bridget Cunningham will perform at the London Handel Festival. Experience a taster of what's to come as she performs perform a selection from Handel's 1740 ode, L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato. Tickets are 12 or 6 for students.

Tuesday 16 April 4-5pm

Lecture: 'L'Allegro, Il Penseroso ed Il Moderato'

An introductory lecture to L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato at the Savile Club. Bookings for this free event open on the 21st of January.

For all bookings call book by calling 020 7399 1953.
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Why? Discover more about Handel's music
When: Until 16th April
Phone: 020 7399 1953
Where: Handel House Museum
Cost: Free exhibition, with events costing between 5-15
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