Handel House Museum: Royal Handel

We recently completed a film for the Handel House Museum exploring the composer’s connection with the Royal family during his time in London. It was a fantastic opportunity to speak with knowledgeable and enthusiastic people about a fascinating period in London’s history. We heard all sorts of rumours including one hinting that Handel may have been a spy when he first arrived in London but, as ever, not everything can make the final cut.

We spent one lovely serene day filming between the grey walls of the room where Handel died in his bed and treading on the (squeaky) original floorboards that Handel would have trodden on between bouts of writing not only The Messiah but the great pieces that can be heard in the film, all pieces that were written specifically for members of the Stuart and Hanoverian dynasties.

 

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Horniman Museum and Gardens: At Home With Music

To mark the opening of their new display, At Home With Music, the Horniman asked us to film a music recital. The instrument was a beautiful 1772 Kirckman harpsichord which has been restored into playing condition specifically for this new display.

This was a live event at the opening of the new display and the harpsichord is displayed fairly flat against a wall along a narrow corridor between stunning display cases. There was a challenge then to get a range of footage in a dark, tight and busy environment that would also best respect the music and occasion. To do this we arrived early to insert a camera in overhead ceiling vent and employed a gopro which sat almost directly on the keyboard giving us a bird’s eye and an ant’s eye view of the proceedings.

The pieces we recorded were the two new compositions that had won a competition run by the Horniman to mark the opening of the new exhibition and restoration of the harpsichord. They were wonderfully played by Jane Chapman, who was very accommodating to our technical discussions, and really brought the new display to life with her performances.

The Sprawl by Adam W. Stafford

Vine by Tim Watts

The exhibition is a permanent new display, curated by Mimi Waitzman and is a collection of keyboard instruments from the V&A and Horniman collections. Unsurprisingly it can be found in the museum’s music gallery and is very inviting, the only problem is trying not to touch the very welcoming keyboards and stunning pieces on open display.