Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Drangiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Alexander's Feast by Georg Friedrich Händel

Well, well, I must admit that I expected Händel one of the last composers to be interested in Alexander the Great! His interpretation of history is apparently reflected by his own time-frame, making Thais Alexander’s mistress.
The piece is set at Persepolis, where Alexander organizes a banquet that is being enhanced by songs and lyre-playing by his court-musician Timotheus, a famous aulos (double-flute) player. After taking Alexander through different moods, the music finally leads to the burning of the Palace of Persepolis to revenge his soldiers who died in the conquest of Persia.
The work was composed by Händel in January 1736 and premiered at Covent Garden a month later. It was a great success and eventually led Händel to writing English choral works instead of the Italian operas as he had done till then.
I found this highly praised performance of the entire work on YouTube.
For those who want to watch closely how the story according to Händel evolves, the lyrics can be found on this link.
I’m convinced that even in his wildest dreams Alexander would never have expected to hear his beloved lyre occupying such a prominent place in a composition written two centuries after his death!

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