The notated absence of sound creates some of the most dramatic and compelling moments in Handel's mature music. Handel's practice can be traced to the word-based silences of the madrigal on one hand, and the rhetorical silences found in Corelli's trio sonatas on the other. By transferring Corelli's systematic use of silence to vocal music, Handel moved beyond word-painting to expressive text-setting. Some critics condemned these silences, which prove strikingly similar to the emotional pauses introduced later by Garrick into his theatrical roles, as incorrect. Others considered them sublime.
- ©© 2005 by the Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.