Handel and Maurice Greene’s Circle at the Apollo Academy: the Music and Intellectual Contexts of Oratorios, Odes and Masques

Gardner, Matthew (matthew.gardner@zegk.uni-heidelberg.de). Handel and Maurice Greene’s Circle at the Apollo Academy: the Music and Intellectual Contexts of Oratorios, Odes and Masques. Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg, 2007.

The Apollo Academy, a musical club founded in 1731 by Maurice Greene and his friend Michael Christian Festing, was the performance location of various oratorios, odes and masques produced by composers in Greene’s circle of friends, colleagues and pupils. Many of the works performed both in and outside the academy meetings are based on subjects such as Jephtha, Deborah and the choice of Hercules which were well known in eighteenth-century England and also attracted the attention of Handel. This long-overdue study explores these works in terms of their intellectual contexts (political, religious, social and cultural), comparing them to Handel’s compositions on the same or similar subjects. Additionally, detailed source information and musical analysis of the works is included as well as a discussion of the competition between Handel and his English contemporaries in order to provide a fuller picture of the diverse musical and cultural life in London during the first half of the eighteenth century.