Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Handel: the novelisation.

I cleaned some dishes. I washed some clothes. I tidied. I stacked books and took pleasure in reviewing some of the wonderful publications.

It was the start of the hour before dawn when I fell asleep.

I woke at twelve thirty on a Saturday and blearily wandered about, contemplating that navel of inwardness known as the internet, slowly roused up to do some more cleaning.

About one thirty I went shopping. As a reward I bought 2 Russian pastries which, as the Adelaide Market was about the shut, were a dollar each and just delicious. I sat and watched the crowd wash past eating my spinach and ricotta, and leek and potato, "Piroushkis".

I got home feeling simply joyous, whistling Mozart concertoes and bustling around the house, and on a sudden inspiration I chatted with a friend about Frederick Handel's life, which in itself was a significant conversation:

I have felt for many years that Herr Handel's life would make a great popular novelisation, along the style of "Immortal Beloved" or "Amadeus". But for lack of a sense of narrative coherence, without which a story would falter, makes such a novelisation perilous.

So an online friend, an expert in Handel's life and work and not a storyteller as I am, is suggesting story points from the Man's life. One after the other is discarded as not sufficiently riveting to be the climax scene. But we have discovered a few pivotal scenes.

The best candidate for a climax - but to my mind only a major pivotal scene - was the string of commercial failures that turned him from opera to oratoria, fusing his background in opera seria with the ancient tradition of sacred music to forge new works.

The other challenge is that the undisputed pinnacle of Handel's life is the composition of the Messiah. This is climactic in the cultural sense of western history for a number of reasons. But for Handel himself it seems to have been somewhat of an anticlimax, and Messiah flopped when it was performed in London.

My inspiration was that Handel's climactic event may have been his shift from contractual sponsorship to employment linked to the marketplace of music consumers. For Mozart such a move offered greater freedom to earn and to work independently. But for Handel he had an annuity for having taught a princess throughout his latter life and little problem coming to terms with market demand.

So Handel's is a latter life without epiphany! We have records of his kvetching about the Industry, but bugger all about the inspirational climactic experiences that would make a good novel climax.


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