Sunday, March 23, 2008

Handel's Messiah- a gift to Robert Heseltine

Just in time for Easter, I received an email attachment from a distant cousin which included an heirloom of our family. The image above shows a book of sheet music of George Frideric Handel's "Messiah" which was given to Robert Heseltine from his church choir at Station Town, County Durham, England. Inside the book's cover was written,

"Presented to Robert Heseltine, Oct 1, 1887, by the choir of the Primitive Methodist Society of Station Town as a token of their appreciation of his faithful service in the choir"

The musical score must have been a treasured gift for the rest of Robert's life as it is even mentioned in his obituary. Apparently he became a noted choir singer and was invited to perform in several churches in the area.

Before the turn of the century, Robert Heseltine immigrated to Barnesboro, Cambria County, Pennsylvania (now, Northern Cambria). In 1894, Robert married Elizabeth WEST, daughter of William and Temple West. They raised 7 children in the Methodist church of Barnesboro. The family is buried at Northend Cemetery, Barnesboro (see image above, click to enlarge).

Robert Heseltine's father, William Heseltine, married Mary Ann Hartley, who was the younger sister of my great grandmother, Eleanor Hartley (married Thomas W. Russell). Thus, Robert was the nephew of my great grandmother.

Source of "Messiah" image: Merelyn M. Davis of CA

1 comment:

Bob Kramp said...

Hi Bob (posted on behalf of Rudolf by Bob)

I looked at your blog and saw the cover of Messiah by Georg Friedrich Handel. I think the sheet music are notes of the bass or tenor voice part (for Robert Heseltine).

I was reminded of the time from 1950 until 1958 when I was in the Berliner Rundfunk. We made not only archive productions, but also several performances and several tours, for instance to the Handel festival in Halle 1955, and we performed on 14 October 1955 with Handel's "Messiah" the reopening ceremony of the "Deutsche Staatsoper" (German Opera of State) at the boulevard "Unter den Linden" in Berlin, after the WW II destroyed opera house had been reconstructed. It was celebrated by the Berlin radio choir and radio symphony orchestra, conducted by Helmut
Koch. These are reminiscenses of a time, when I had only one profession in my head, music and theatre. I never thought that later on, I would ever do such trivial things as office work, and spend the rest of my life in a small, provincial town!

Greetings, Rudolf, 25 Mar 2008