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Arts Desk

French Conductor Emmanuelle Haïm Shares Her Passion for the Music of George Frideric Handel

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Courtesy of the artist
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Emmanuelle Haïm

Conductor and keyboard player Emmanuelle Haïm talks about the eternal quality of Handel's music, and why he’s so relevant today. 

On Sunday, August 22nd on WRTI 90.1 at 1 PM, and Monday, August 23rd at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2, Emmanuelle Haïm conducts The Philadelphia Orchestra in a program that includes Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks and his cantata, Il delirio amoroso, with soprano Lenneke Ruiten.

George Frideric Handel, born in 1685, traveled beyond his native Germany, and moved to Italy in his early 20s where he wrote his cantata, Il delirio amoroso.

"He can immediately sees the genius of a nation such as Italy and take all the best of it," says French conductor and harpsichordist Emmanuelle Haïm, who has a passion for Baroque music and founded the early music ensemble, Le Concert D'Astree.

She says this music, whether played on period instruments or modern counterparts, resonates today. "It's so challenging for the players, but so well written as well. The oboe part of Il delirio amoroso, very soloistic, is quite incredible. The violin solo is also amazing. And the solo cello! The writing talks to any good musician."

In 1712, Handel settled in England where he would have a long successful career writing operas, oratorios, concertos and other works for a variety of occasions. A public rehearsal for his Music for the Royal Fireworks in 1749 was reported to draw 12,000 people.

"Handel was somebody with a great appetite for life," Haïm says.  "He was very much able to write what he felt, but also for big events such as those Royal Fireworks. One can see immediately how he can paint the grandeur of the royalness. The writing for the brass is amazing."