David Vickers

Tutor in Academic Studies

BA Hons (Bath Spa), MMus (Leeds), PhD (Open)

Email: [email protected]

Academic Tutor

David teaches various undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the RNCM. His main research is Baroque Music, and in particular Handel: he editor of New Perspectives on Handel’s Music: Essays in Honour of Donald Burrows (Boydell Press, 2022), co-editor of The Cambridge Handel Encyclopedia (2009), and editor of an anthology of Handelian literature (Ashgate’s ‘Baroque Composers’ series, 2011). His doctoral thesis examined the composer’s own different performing versions of Partenope, Arianna in Creta, Esther and Deborah.

An author of essays or books about aspects of Purcell, Vivaldi, Mozart and Haydn, David’s other interests include seventeenth-century vocal music, baroque sacred repertoire, and eighteenth-century opera. He is an essayist for most leading classical record labels (Virgin, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Hyperion, Harmonia Mundi, Chandos, BIS, etc.) and has been a critic for Gramophone since 2003. 

A council member of the Handel Institute, David serves as a project consultant for many international baroque musicians, has appeared frequently on BBC Radio 3, and is in demand as a guest lecturer both at home and abroad. He sings in Leeds Baroque (of which he was a founder member) and conducts choirs in the Huddersfield area. He also has an unhealthy interest in Prog Rock and electric guitars.

Current and Future Research

  • Editing the opera Partenope for the Hallische Händel-Ausgabe (Bärenreiter)
  • ‘“Despised and rejected”: Handel making a scene’ – an evaluation of finished music rejected (cut or replaced) before performance [this will be a large article, probably after a conference paper]
  • Reconstructing Handel’s different performing versions of operas and oratorio-style works
  • Eighteenth-century sources of embellishment in Handel arias [I am collating evidence of manuscript and other musical sources from the early eighteenth century of arias that contain embellished voice parts, and anticipate that this will result in a large article]
  • The London repertoire of soprano Giulia Frasi (fl.1742–74), rediscovering music by Gluck, Galuppi, Ciampi, Terradellas, Arne, J.C. Smith, Stanley, Hayes, etc. [long-term hope to publish an anthology of arias for Handel’s singers by other composers]
  • The repertoire of the castrato Senesino in London (fl. 1720–36), exploring music by Bononcini, Ariosti, Porpora, Veracini, etc. [long-term hope to publish an anthology of arias for Handel’s singers by other composers]
  • Porpora’s works for the Opera of the Nobility, particularly the oratorio David e Bersabea (London, 1734)
  • The sacred music of Giovanni Bononcini, including new performing edition of the anthem When Saul was king (composed for the state funeral of the 1st Duke of Marlborough)
  • ‘Mozart the interloper’ – a fusion of scholarly research and creative programming reassessing Mozart’s music (such as many of the so-called ‘concert arias’) created for insertion into works by other composers, and his treatment of scores by forbears and contemporaries
  • The history, reception, and future of the classical music recording industry, particularly regarding historically-informed performances on period instruments of music from Gabrieli to Stravinsky

Undergraduate Teaching

  • Historical and Contextual Studies (Renaissance and Baroque strands)
  • Music, Culture & Performance (leader of Baroque strand)
  • Performance Studies (from Dowland and Bach to Berlioz and Mahler)
  • European baroque sacred music, 1600–1750 (workshop-based elective)
  • Music Drama from Monteverdi to Mozart (elective)
  • Handel’s Transformations (elective)
  • J.S. Bach’s church music (elective)
  • Music and Beliefs (contributor to team-taught elective)
  • Opera in Paris, 1647–1959 (leader of team-taught elective)

Postgraduate Teaching

  • Repertoire Project (M.Mus seminar leader and research superviser)
  • Lecture Recital (M.Mus tutor and examiner)

Publications

    Authored Books

  • David Vickers, Haydn: His Life & Music, (London: Naxos Books, 2008).
  • Edited Books

  • New Perspectives in Handel’s Music: Essays in Honour of Donald Burrows, ed. by David Vickers, (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2022).
  • The Cambridge Handel Encyclopedia, ed. by Annette Landgraf and David Vickers, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
  • The Baroque Composers: Handel, ed. by David Vickers, (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010).
  • The Cambridge Handel Encyclopedia, ed. by Annette Landgraf and David Vickers, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
  • Journal Articles

  • David Vickers, ‘Giulia Frasi in English music’, Händel Jahrbuch, (2019).
  • David Vickers, ‘“Handel’s revisions to performing versions of Partenope (HWV 27) and Arianna in Creta (HWV 32), 1730–37”’, Händel Jahrbuch, 62 (2016), 217–236.
  • David Vickers, ””The Musick to be disposed after the Manner of the Coronation Service”: Handel’s use of ceremonial anthems in Esther (HWV 50b) and Deborah (HWV 51), 1732–1757’’, Händel Jahrbuch 2013, (2013).
  • David Vickers, ‘Music for a while: John Dryden & Henry Purcell’, Goldberg, 44 (2007).
  • Conference Contributions

  • Handel making a scene: compositional choices in his operas ,  Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music,   2021
  • “Their sound is gone out to all Lands”: period-instrument recordings of Messiah, 1980–2020 ,  Redemption and Modernity: Handel’s Messiah from the late 18th to the 21st century, an international scholarly conference of the Handel Festival in Halle, Halle, Germany 1 June 2021 2021
  • Handel changing his mind: compositional choices in his music dramas ,  Georg Friedrich Händel: Prometheus unchained, Madrid 25 October 2019 2019
  • Handel and Giulia Frasi in context ,  The Handel Institute conference: Handel and his eighteenth-century performers, London 23 November 2016 2016
  • Recordings of Purcell, Handel, Haydn, and Mendelssohn: a survey of the past, an assessment of the present, and speculation about the future ,  Purcell, Handel, Haydn, and Mendelssohn: anniversary reflections (Royal Musical Association), University of Oxford 28 March 2009 2009
  • ‘Reassessing the Italians in Esther: Handel’s bilingual versions of his first English oratorio’ ,  American Handel Society conference, Seattle 25 March 201
  • An overview of Handel’s Partenope on the stage (1730–2009) ,  Statue, obelischi, serragli di fiere: Händel in scena tra storia e presente, Siena 10 October 2
  • Recordings

  • Handel Handel’s Finest Arias for Base Voice, Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen, Christopher Purves (bass) Bass voice, baroque orchestra, Hyperion, All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, January 2012
  • Handel Partenope, Il Pomo d’Oro, Riccardo Minasi, Erato, Lonigo (Vicenza)
  • Handel Agrippina, Il Pomo d’Oro, Erato, 2020
  • Handel Ottone, Il Pomo d’Oro, George Petrou, Decca
  • Handel Serse, Il Pomo d’Oro, Deutsche Grammophon
  • Handel, Arne, Smith, Ciampi Handel’s last prima donna: arias for Giulia Frasi, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Laurence Cummings, Ruby Hughes , Chandos Chaconne

Professional Activity

  • Council member of The Handel Institute
  • Member of the Georg Friedrich Händel Gesellschaft
  • Lecturer for cultural tour operator Martin Randall Travel, including artistic and musicological consultancy for resident festival of Monteverdi’s music in Venice (November 2015)
  • Performance and musicological consultant for numerous high-impact artistic projects in collaboration with clients including The Academy of Ancient Music, The Dunedin Consort, The English Concert, The King’s Consort, La Nuova Musica, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The Sixteen, Göttingen Handel Festival, The Brook Street Band, Christian Curnyn (Early Opera Company), Alan Curtis (Il Complesso Barocco), David Hill (The Bach Choir), Christopher Hogwood, Stephen Layton, Andrew Manze, Nicholas McGegan, Robin Blaze, Max Emanuel Cencic, Danielle de Niese, Mark Padmore, Carolyn Sampson, Lawrence Zazzo, and most major international classical record labels
  • Essayist for opera houses (Glyndebourne, ENO, Drottningholm, Buxton, etc.), concert venues (Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Barbican), artists and festivals
  • Feature articles for Gramophone, including essays on Purcell’s King Arthur and The Fairy Queen, Vivaldi’s Stabat mater, Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Messiah, an overview of liturgical reconstructions, and a guide to the music of Rameau
  • Author of over 60 booklet essays for a range of high-impact commercial recordings by leading artists and labels (2002–2022), many of them incorporating original research and related to premiere recordings of major works.