Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Sunday, 19 April 2009


[Don't blame me, that's Radio 3's name]

Today is the 250th anniversary of the death of Handel, and as part of the celebrations of the great man's works, Radio 3 listeners have voted for their favourite piece. No, not the Hallelujah Chorus, not Zadok the Priest, not anything from the Music for the Royal Fireworks or the Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (that would be too much like Classic FM), but "As steals the morn" from L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato.

It's hardly a work that's been drummed into the popular imagination, but it is a beautiful piece, yet more proof of how humane a composer he was. But it's always possible the result might have had something to do with the fact that only recently there was a replay on BBC TV of a Prom concert performance where it was ravishingly sung by the even more ravishingly beautiful Kate Royal:

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