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Saul, HWV53

16 January 1739
author of text
after 1 Samuel 17 to 2 Samuel 1

In a typical Vauxhall evening’s concert, a mixture of styles of music was important, juxtaposing popular songs and dances with more solemn, serious music and martial airs reflecting the contrast between Apollo (sophisticated, lyre playing) and Marsyas (rustic pipes), a popular subject of discussion at the time and one that Tyers employed as a decoration on one of his silver season tickets. The Dead March precedes the Elegy on the Death of Saul and Jonathan in Act III from Handel’s oratorio Saul (HWV53) of 1738.

As Tyer’s had ingeniously converted his own house’s ball-room into a raised pavilion with a private dining room and open loggia for Prince Frederick, Vauxhall’s ground—landlord, the Prince of Wales became a regular and popular attendee at these Vauxhall concerts bringing with him his youthful energy and a large following of fashionable society. The Dead March was performed for Prince Frederick on 7th May 1739 and regularly thereafter, with brass, winds and strings, and organ becoming an archetype of Vauxhall music. It was later played annually on the anniversary of the death of Jonathan Tyers, 26th June as well as at several state funerals.

from notes by Bridget Cunningham © 2015


Handel: English Arias
Arias for Guadagni
Studio Master: CDA67924Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Handel: Handel at Vauxhall, Vol. 1
Studio Master: SIGCD428Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Act 1 Scene 5. Aria: O Lord, whose mercies numberless (David)
Track 1 on CDA67924 [5'28]
Track 8 on CDH55419 [3'30]
Act 2. Duet: O fairest of ten thousand fair (Michal/David)
Track 3 on CDH55419 [3'11]
Act 3: Dead March

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