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Editorial
Early Music  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-07-19, DOI: 10.1093/em/caab040
Gardner M, Vickers D.

From a certain point of view, Handel studies already started to be published during his lifetime, with essays, evaluations and polemical pamphlets appearing across several decades even before John Mainwaring’s Memoirs of the life of the late George Frederic Handel (printed in 1760, one year after its subject’s death). With Messiah, the Water Music and Zadok the Priest, and a few popular arias never having fallen from the repertory since the mid 18th century, it is sometimes easy to forget that so much of Handel’s musical output, not to mention attention to its performance practice, and critical scholarship based on the examination of original sources and historical evidence, has only really flourished since the mid 20th century. Nevertheless, there remains much that is far from settled, and plenty more to discover, as is attested to in the present issue of Early Music—not the first to be dedicated to Handel’s music in the journal’s history, and unlikely to be the last. Twenty-first-century Handel studies show little sign of slowing down, and, even as the field expands to include all sorts of interdisciplinary and contextual research, there is an enduring fascination for Handel’s career in Germany, Italy and Britain, his compositional output for the theatre, chamber and chapel, and what we can learn from discoveries about the musicians he worked with.