: Act II, Scene 10, a) No. 66, Accompagnato, Saul: The Time at length is come
George Frideric Handel
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 6 Track 25
“Up, up and away,” said Saul when the time at length had come. At the end of the Baroque we see our angry king bounding up the C Major arpeggio with a confidence and verve unimaginable by Peri and his colleagues. Between those years and Handel’s productions, tonality came a long way in a short time. And the chords of this recitative have held their anger for the some three hundred years since.
“No longer shall the Stripling make His Sovreign totter on the throne.”
I often wonder if chords are the tail that will sometimes wag the dog. Chords, I feel, should serve the line. In fact, I might go as far to say that it is best when they are only a result of the line. I would go that far if we did not remember Artusi and how silly he seems to us now, saying what music should or should not be. In spite of my feeling toward chords I am sure there is a good piece of music out there that is nothing more than a bunch of chords.
At any rate, what I like about Saul’s fit is the artifice. The cathartic experience of observing his failure is good for all of us. In our own confrontations we can hope to hold ourselves with more dignity and wish that spite were made only for the theater.