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("The Cheerful, the Thoughtful, and the Moderate Man"), HWV 55, is a
pastoral A pastoral lifestyle is that of shepherds herd A herd is a social group of certain animals of the same species, either wildness, wild or Domestication, domestic. The form of collective animal behavior associated with this is called ''he ...

pastoral
ode An ode (from grc, ᾠδή, ōdḗ) is a type of lyrical stanza. It is an elaborately structured poem praising or glorifying an event or individual, describing nature intellectually as well as emotionally. A classic ode is structured in three maj ...
by
George Frideric Handel George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel (; baptised , ; 23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) was a German-British Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a of , , , , and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th century until the 1740 ...
based on the poetry of
John Milton John Milton (9 December 16088 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the under its Council of State and later under . He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best kno ...

John Milton
.


History

Handel composed the work over the period of 19 January to 4 February 1740,Michael O'Connell, John Powell, "Music and Sense in Handel's Setting of Milton's ''L'Allegro'' and ''Il Penseroso''" (Autumn 1978). ''Eighteenth-Century Studies'', 12 (1): pp. 16–46. and it was premiered on 27 February 1740 at the Royal Theatre of
Lincoln's Inn Fields Lincoln's Inn Fields is the largest public square in London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppe ...

Lincoln's Inn Fields
. At the urging of one of Handel's librettists,
Charles Jennens Charles Jennens (1700 – 20 November 1773) was an English landowner and patron of the arts. As a friend of George Frideric Handel, Handel, he helped author the libretti of several of his oratorios, most notably ''Messiah (Handel), Messiah''. ...

Charles Jennens
, Milton's two poems, "
L'Allegro ''L'Allegro'' is a pastoral A pastoral lifestyle is that of shepherds herd A herd is a social group of certain animals of the same species, either wildness, wild or Domestication, domestic. The form of collective animal behavior a ...
" and "
il Penseroso ''Il Penseroso'' (The thinker) is a poem by John Milton John Milton (9 December 16088 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the under its Council of State and later under . He wrote at a t ...
", were arranged by James Harris, interleaving them to create dramatic tension between the personified characters of Milton's poems (L'Allegro or the "Joyful man" and il Penseroso or the "Contemplative man"). The first two movements consist of this dramatic dialog between Milton's poems. In an attempt to unite the two poems into a singular "moral design", at Handel's request, Jennens added a new poem, "il Moderato", to create a third movement. The popular concluding aria and chorus, "As Steals the Morn" is adapted from
Shakespeare William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national p ...

Shakespeare
's ''
The Tempest ''The Tempest'' is a Shakespeare's plays, play by English playwright William Shakespeare, probably written in 1610–1611, and thought to be one of the last plays that Shakespeare wrote alone. After the first scene, which takes place on a ship ...
'', V.i.65–68. Michael O'Connell and John Powell have published an analysis of Handel's setting of the text in his musical treatment.


Dramatis Personae

* Soprano I * Soprano II * Alto (some versions only) * Tenor * Bass * Chorus There are no characters, no specific 'L'Allegro" or "Penseroso". The "drama" comes from alternating episodes representing the humors. Some versions give arias to different soloists. For instance, the "da capo" version of the aria "Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures" is sung by a soprano (Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir, 1980) but the truncated recitative version is sung by a bass (Nelson, Ensemble Orchestra de Paris, 2000). Also, all soloists sing in the "il Moderato" section.


Dance choreography

In 1988, Mark Morris choreographed a dance performance to accompany the music and poetry.Review/Dance; Mark Morris Interprets Handel
Kisselgoff, Anna, ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'', 8 October 1990


References


External links

* Full-text libretto hosted at
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wikisource
.
Score
of ''L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato'' (ed.
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Friedrich Chrysander
, Leipzig 1859)
Full-text libretto
hosted by
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
. * Full-text of Milton's L'Allegro and il Penseroso a
Project Gutenberg
* Text and Commentary on L'Allegro a
Dartmouth.edu
* Text and Commentary on il Penseroso a
Dartmouth.edu


by Boston Cecilia.
Notes by Music with Ease
* {{DEFAULTSORT:Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato Oratorios by George Frideric Handel 1740 compositions