No, that’s not a typo. I’m referring to Jakob Handl (1550-1591), also known as Jacobus Gallus and even Jacobus Handelius, a Slovenian composer who wrote a lot of sacred music and whose music the LCH choir is singing this Sunday. Named Jakob Petelin at birth (meaning “rooster”), Handl used the Latin form of his name (Gallus) while Handl means the same thing in German.
This week the LCH choir is singing his 5-voice motet, Mirabile mysterium, a highly chromatic piece reminiscent of the works of Don Carlo Gesualdo. (Check out the link to read about Gesualdo’s bizarre life, including his murdering his wife because of infidelity! It was considered a justifiable homicide so he was never charged.) Although there are quite a few works of Handl in the LCH library, there are none like Mirabile mysterium, and so the choir has had to put in several rehearsals on this music.
Speaking of Handl, I’d like to sound off on a pet peeve about the other Handel — Georg Frideric Handel (1650-1759) and although you’d never confuse the two — Jakob Handl and Georg Frideric Handel — there is a difference in how you pronounce their last names.
(Jakob) Handl is pronounced “hahn-del,” with a broad “a.” But the more famous composer of Messiah (Georg Frideric) was born in Germany, and his last name has an umlaut — Händel – which would be pronounced “hendle.” For a very short time, he studied in Italy, at which time his name could be pronounced as “hahn-del,” with the broad “a.” But most of his life and career was spent in England, where he anglicized his name to “George Frideric Handel” and they pronounce his name as “handle” with a short “a.”
“Handel” with care!