1759-04-14

GEORG FRIDERIC HANDEL, German composer, died (b. 1685); Of the German composer who anglicized the spelling of his name to “Frederick” upon removing to England, a contemporary wrote, “His social affectations were not very strong; and to this it may be imputed that he spent his whole life in a state of celibacy; that he had no female attachments of another kind may be ascribed to better reason.” What was the “better reason” that made Handel eschew not only marriage, but “female attachments of another kind,” presumably mistresses or whores? Was it the fear of syphilis or the possibility that the composer was homosexual? The evidence is far from conclusive, but the latter is more than probably.