After three concerts with varied programs at London’s venerable and gorgeous Wigmore Hall, I had a day off before traveling to Italy for the continuation of the ESQ tour. On Thursday I was given a private tour of the Handel House in Brook Street, where the great composer had lived for 36 years. It’s well worth a visit. I saw a first edition of Mozart’s arrangement of The Messiah, which created a revival of interest in the masterpiece some 30 years after Handel’s death. (I didn’t know that it had ever needed a revival. In any case, it’s fascinating to see how Mozart became aware of and adapted the music of Handel and Bach.) Another feature of interest: Jimi Hendrix lived next door for awhile in the 1960s. His 2 rooms, which now serve as administrative offices for the Handel House, were recently opened to the public to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his death. Thousands of visitors came, and many of these walked through Handel’s rooms and had their first exposure to a very different sort of musician. My guide for this visit was the granddaughter of my father’s violin teacher at the Cologne Conservatory, Bram Eldering, who in his youth had known Brahms.
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