5-4 Midnight August 1741

The composer Handel is a remarkable biography of a man famous as a composer, who fell out of fashion and was about destitute when he began writing Messiah. It’s worth a read. Hence:

 

Midnight August 1741

 

A music sheet was barren as a skeleton

on a table by his piano, curling in humidity.

 

Tonight, sweat dribbled down his nose

and he flicked it with his quill pen,

watched it arc in candlelight and splat on

scraps of lyrics on the floor.

 

He glanced at an Isaiah passage penned on paper

and heard a voice singing across the ages

Comfort ye my people. Then Messiah’s words

The trumpet will sound pierced his mind

With a piccolo trumpet prelude.

 

Lyrics and harmonies and violins and woodwinds

began swirling like eddies in the Thames

as he felt a river of blackest ink

 

burst through his melancholy

 

and he dipped his pen

 

to scribble the first note.

 

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