Mr Swift meets Mr Handel –
A programme juxtaposing readings from the works of Jonathan Swift with music by some of his contemporaries Handel, Telemann, Geminiani and Dubourg
Malcolm Proud has devised this programme of readings from the works of Jonathan Swift interspersed with music by some of Swift’s contemporaries including two great German composers Georg Philipp Telemann and George Frederick Handel, the Italian violinist and composer Francesco Geminiani who worked and eventually died in Dublin, and Matthew Dubourg ‘Chief Composer and Master of the Music attending His Majesty’s State in Ireland’ and leader of the orchestra at the first performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ in Dublin in 1742.
First published in 1726 Swift’s classic satirical novel ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ was an international success and was soon translated into German. It became so popular in Germany that in 1728 Georg Philipp Telemann composed a suite of five movements, each movement based on a different episode in the book.
Actor Sharon McArdle will read extracts from Gulliver’s Travels and other writings by and about Swift, and harpsichordist Malcolm Proud with baroque violinists Claire Duff and Marja Gaynor will perform the music.
Reputedly unmusical, Jonathan Swift once announced “I would not give a farthing for all the music in the universe”. However, before Handel left Dublin, following the successful premiere of his ‘Messiah’ he paid a courtesy call on the ailing Swift.