On today’s date in 1739, Mr. George Frideric Handel took out an advertisement, announcing that he was now accepting subscriptions for his new set of 12 Grand Concertos for strings. He had, in fact, finished the first concerto one month before, on September 29th, and spent the next five weeks polishing off the other 11 at the rate of one every two or three days.
Handel’s publisher was John Walsh, Jr, who had a shop in London at the sign of the harp and oboe in Catherine Street on the Strand. One hundred twenty-two copies of the music were to be printed and sold at a pre-publication price of two guineas each. Among the initial 100 subscribers were three royal princesses and the Duke of Cumberland, and two copies each were sold to the Academy of Music in Dublin and a certain Mr. Charles Jennens.
It was Mr. Jennens who was to provide the text for Handel’s next major oratorio, “Messiah,” and the city of Dublin the venue for its famous premiere.
So, in 1739, just as today, it pays to advertise!