Handel Hendrix House sheds light on lives of George Frideric Handel and Jimi Hendrix

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Handel Hendrix House sheds light on lives of George Frideric Handel and Jimi Hendrix
Handel and Hendrix in London cares for and presents to the public the homes of two of the greatest musicians ever to have lived in London. Photo Credit: Christopher Ison.



LONDON.- Hallelujah! Handel’s London home has been fully restored and newly opened exhibitions shed new light on the great composer and his next-door neighbour, rock legend Jimi Hendrix. Handel Hendrix House cares for and presents to the public the homes of two of the greatest musicians ever to have lived in London.

George Frideric Handel lived at 25 Brook Street from 1723 until his death in 1759. It was here that Handel wrote and rehearsed his greatest works, including Messiah and its ever popular ‘Hallelujah chorus’ – perhaps the most famous piece of classical music ever written. His stirring anthem ‘Zadok the Priest’, was also written in Brook Street and has accompanied the coronation of every British monarch since George II (for whom it was written in 1727), including HM King Charles III.

In 1968, Jimi Hendrix moved into an adjoining flat at number 23. Here, in the only place he said he felt truly at home, Hendrix entertained, inspired and collaborated with other icons of British 60s rock music.

Handel Hendrix House has completed a £3million project to open all of Handel’s house to the public for the first time by restoring the basement and ground floor, until recently a luxury goods shop, and refurbishing the upper floors which were first opened in 2001. Through this project, the charity has:

• Faithfully recreated Handel’s basement kitchen with all its fixtures and fittings, carefully detailed on research and an inventory made shortly after the composer’s death.

• Restored the ground floor parlours in which Handel would receive his guests and aristocratic patrons and in which his assistant, J.C. Smith, would sell tickets and subscriptions to new works. Until recently, these rooms were an independent shop.

• Restored the front façade of 25 Brook Street so that visitors can finally enter Handel’s home through his front door.

New things to see in Handel’s house include:

• Historic rooms presented as they might have been in the 1740s, when the composer was in a new burst of creative energy and commercial success writing dramatic oratorios.

• Recently acquired works of art, creating a collection representative of the more than 100 works of art Handel owned in Brook Street.

• New exhibitions about Handel’s music and the musicians he worked with and a mixed reality audiovisual display about the writing of Messiah in the very room in which it was composed.

• Live music performed in the rooms in which it was written and, often, first heard.

• The restored museum will welcome more visitors and host concerts, masterclasses, and exclusive private events. The income will be reinvested in the museum’s heritage and learning programme.

As well as new displays and exhibitions about Handel and Hendrix, visitors will also enjoy live music and talks. Over the course of the opening week, visitors can hear harpsichordist Nathanael Mander, recorder player Olwen Foulkes, guitarist Laurent Judson and a talk about Handel’s Coronation Anthems. A digital room guide is also included as part of a visit, and there will be Coronation-themed craft activities for families.

HM The King, when Prince of Wales, was the patron of the project. Handel’s music featured heavily in the Coronation, both in the concert prior to the liturgy and with the thrilling performance of Zadok the Priest at the moment of anointing. In a recent address to the Bundestag, HM The King spoke of Handel’s ‘astonishing music’.

As Simon Daniels, Director of Handel Hendrix House commented: “The team at Handel Hendrix House are thrilled to be opening our doors once again, after 18 months’ construction. There is more to see at the museum than ever before, from a Georgian kitchen to fascinating new exhibitions and stunning 18th-century interiors, complemented by a fantastic programme of live performance and talks. The Hallelujah Project is the culmination of more than 60 years’ effort to acquire and fully restore Handel’s home, and we are delighted to be offering greater insight into Jimi Hendrix’s music and life in London. As we saw at the Coronation, Handel’s music is as fresh and powerful as the day it was written and has the ability to inspire and move us. He is London’s great composer, and we are delighted to have achieved our goal of restoring his house and excited to be sharing his life and music with more visitors, schools, and the local community. I am grateful to all the generous donors, supporters and advisors who have helped make this project possible.”

USA-born countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, who recently gave a performance at the British Residence in New York for supporters of the Handel House Foundation of America, said: “Ever since I was a young singer, the Handel Hendrix House has served as a great inspiration, making the past feel tangible and illuminating the underpinnings of music that has come to define me.”

In 2016, Jimi Hendrix’s flat in 23 Brook Street was brilliantly restored and opened to the public. To be enjoyed as a contrasting and complementary part to a visit to Handel’s home, the Hendrix experience at Handel Hendrix House has been expanded as part of the Hallelujah Project:

• For the first time, visitors can walk up and down the stairs to his flat, where George Harrison famously had to step over one of Jimi’s other visitors who had passed out en route to the exit.

• A new exhibition features a film showing visitors exploring Hendrix’s legendary guitar technique and his influence on musicians and creatives, with high quality sound supported by Bang & Olufsen

• The film includes material uncovered by Handel Hendrix House through their national ‘Your Experience’ appeal for memories, images and stories of people’s encounters with Jimi Hendrix across the country.

• In the exhibition, visitors can enjoy the opportunity to share their own recollections of Hendrix’s performances.

A final exhibition looks at London’s vibrant cultural scene in the 18th century and 1960s, exploring why the capital was a magnet for both Handel and Hendrix and how they shaped and changed the city they made their home.

Handel and Hendrix in London cares for and presents to the public the homes of two of the greatest musicians ever to have lived in London.

George Frideric Handel lived at 25 Brook Street from 1723 until his death in 1759. It was here that Handel wrote and rehearsed his greatest works, including Messiah. In 1968, Jimi Hendrix moved into an adjoining flat at number 23. Here, in the only place he said he felt truly at home, Hendrix entertained, inspired and collaborated with other icons of British 60s rock music.

We present these buildings as an evolving celebration of Handel and Hendrix’s lives, sharing their music, their stories and our collections as a source of learning, enjoyment and inspiration for all.

Open to the public since 2001, Handel Hendrix House is a charity (The Handel House Trust, Registered Charity No. 1006009) and an accredited museum. We raise all our own funds. Through visitor admissions, learning programmes, digital, and live performances we share the lives, stories and music of George Frideric Handel and Jimi Hendrix with the widest possible audience.

Supporters of the Hallelujah Project include: the estate of the late Mark Ransom, Bang & Olufsen, the Band Trust, the Drapers' Company, Foyle Foundation, the Steel Charitable Trust, the Michael Uren Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation and other generous donors.










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