Handel enraged

This extract, suggested by Michael Barley, is adapted from Handel: The Man and His Music by Jonathan Keates

“As we all know, Handel arranged for the first performances of Messiah to be in Dublin. His sea crossing was to be from Chester, but there was some kind of problem that delayed getting the ferry he wanted to take. So he engaged in some local music-making (“profitably” so Keates says). Mr Baker, the organist of the cathedral at Chester ‘rustled up’ a scratch choir to try out some of the new Messiah choruses for him. One of the singers, a printer named Janson, proved sadly inadequate to the task. Handel let loose his great bear upon him; and after swearing in four or five languages cried out in broken English ‘You scoundrel! Did you not tell me you could sing at sight?’ ‘Yes sir’ says the printer ‘so I can, but not at first sight.’ “

Further reading Handel - the Man and His Music.