Handel and the Slave Trade with David Hunter

Season 2, Episode 8

In 2013, the music librarian David Hunter found the name George Frideric Handel in a printed list of investors in one of Britain’s official slave trading companies. Since then, Dr. Hunter has researched Handel and his patrons’ investments in the slave trade, as well as the broader relationship between slavery and the history of classical music. What does it mean that profits from the brutality and horror of the Middle Passage benefitted the career of the composer who wrote the “Messiah”? And what should we do with our knowledge of this today?

David Hunter is Librarian Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin.

If you’re interested in learning more about Dr. Hunter’s work, you can check out:

Sound Expertise is hosted by Will Robin (@seatedovation), and produced by D. Edward Davis (@warmsilence). Please subscribe via Apple PodcastsStitcher, and/or Spotify. Questions or comments? Email williamlrobin@ gmail

A written transcript of this episode is available here; many thanks to Andrew Dell’Antonio for volunteering to prepare transcripts for the show!