BAROCKSTAR: GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL Image

If you can forgive the corny pun title of Ulrich Meyszies documentary, you can enjoy a slight overview on the life of the composer George Frideric Handel (1685 – 1759).

The film takes an interesting approach in detailing the social and cultural environment that shaped Handel’s inspired compositions, but a delightful look at how Handel supported himself in the 18th century equivalent of the music industry. A number of composers and biographers offer insight on Handel’s effects on opera and oratorio, though Princess Claudia Ruspoli, a descendant of one of the composer’s aristocratic patrons, coyly notes Handel’s weight gain while taking advantage of a very good life.

Unfortunately, the film’s tight 60-minute running time doesn’t provide full depth into the subject, and Handel’s music is sampled in the very briefest of snippets.  (The impact of “Messiah,” Handel’s masterwork, is barely noted.) Even worse, the film veers into travelogue territory with endless touristy shots of the landmarks in the various cities where Handel established his residence.

But as an introduction to the subject, “Barockstar” helps open a door that should enable the genuinely curious to explore further.

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