Oh, how I loved this little chapter-book biography of Handel!!! M.T. Anderson should write more books just like this! I loved the book's liveliness. It was clever and full of personality. I love the touch of humor and wit!
Right from an early age, George Frideric Handel knew just what he liked. He wanted to study music. His father said he couldn't. His father said nobody ever made any money as a musician. He told the boy to study something that would make him money. Handel's father was a doctor. But little Handel knew what he liked. What he liked was music. So he smuggled a clavichord up into the attic without his parents knowing. Late at night, he taught himself to play. Handel was an unusual boy. Not everyone has the courage to smuggle a clavichord past their parents. (1)
Handel studied first in his own city of Halle, and later, when he was eighteen, in the city of Hamburg. One of his best friends in Hamburg was a composer named Mattheson. They both loved music. In particular, they loved operas. Sometimes they even performed operas together. Mattheson couldn't get enough opera--especially his own. He would write an opera, and then he would star in it himself. He would often arrange to play a character who died partway through the opera. That way he could jog down and lead the orchestra from the harpsichord. Handel, who'd be playing when Mattheson got there, would have to stop and move aside for his friend. Handel thought Mattheson was a bit of a pain. One night when Mattheson had killed himself onstage and come down to play the harpsichord, Handel refused to get up. Mattheson threatened him. Handel was very stubborn; he kept right on playing. So right there and then, Mattheson challenged Handel to a duel. They walked out of the theater into the cold winter's night. They drew their swords and set upon each other in the square. Mattheson thrust his rapier right toward Handel's heart--but luckily the blade hit Handel's coat button, and broke. Later that night, they went out for a big dinner. After all, they were still good friends. Big dinners always made Handel feel a lot better. (6, 8)© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews