The Work of the Bee
Musical Borrowings & Trinitarian Echoes
by Christopher Hoyt
George Frideric Handel stands out even among his contemporaries as a composer who borrowed musical ideas with exceptional frequency. Though the composer Johann Mattheson mentioned Handel’s borrowing habit as early as 1722, research and thought devoted to the subject has significantly blossomed only over the last three decades, with scholars such as George Buelow and John Roberts spearheading the effort to catalogue and evaluate an ever-lengthening list of borrowings.
Messiah, Handel’s best-known musical work, has not escaped this scrutiny. Music scholar Wendy Lai has argued that there are as many as eleven different instances of borrowing spread across ten of Mess . . .