The commemoration was organized by John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich and the Concert of Antient Music and took the form of a series of concerts of Handel’s music, given in the Abbey by vast numbers of singers and instrumentalists.
Above Handel's own monument in the Abbey, there is a small additional tablet to record the commemoration. An account of the commemoration was published by Charles Burney in the following year (1785).
The commemoration established a fashion for large-scale performances of Handel’s choral works throughout the nineteenth century and much of the twentieth. E.D. Mackerness (in A Social History of English Music) described it as “the most important single event in the history of English music”.
- E.D. Mackerness, A Social History of English Music, London, 1964.
- H. Diack Johnstone, A Ringside Seat at the Handel Commemoration. Musical Times, Vol. 125, No. 1701 (Nov., 1984), pp. 632–633+635-636
- William Weber, The 1784 Handel Commemoration as Political Ritual. Journal of British Studies, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Jan., 1989), pp. 43–69
- Pierre Dubois, Reviews of the Handel Commemoration of 1784: Discourse and Reception. ESSE-8: LONDON 2006