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Author Jonathan Keates visits CLS

Thursday, 11 May 2017

City of London School is lucky to boast widely published author Jonathan Keates as one of its former teachers. Last night, he paid a visit to his old workplace to host a talk about his most recent book, Messiah. Messiah details the composition of Handel’s masterpiece, its debut on the eighteenth century music scene and its afterlife.

The evening began with a drinks and canape reception, where Old Citizens enjoyed catching up with each other and asking Jonathan if he remembered them (mainly from their infamous antics in their School days!). Leavers ranged from as recently as 2013 all the way to the 1960s, making it clear that Jonathan’s time at City was fondly remembered by all.

Jonathan was introduced by the President of the John Carpenter Club, Mark Stockton, who was in Jonathan’s form during his time at School. When the talk began, Jonathan took his audience through the story of Handel’s friendship with the musical enthusiast Charles Jennings, his time composing for Italian singers in Rome during his early years as a musician and his inspirations behind Messiah.

After 40 minutes full of humorous facts, wonderful impressions and plenty of jokes, Jonathan concluded his talk. His listeners marvelled at how Messiah put Handel on the map, and has greatly eclipsed his other works. Jonathan explained that Handel was only known by a small number of works in the nineteenth century, but that now he draws crowds in their millions from all over the world. We learned that the tale of his composition “is a tale of endurance, survival and ultimate triumph”.

After the talk, guests enjoyed asking Jonathan questions and taking away their signed copy of Messiah.

Jonathan’s time at City was fondly remembered by all.
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