Before coming into contact with James Brydges, Earl of Carnarvon, Handel was is dire straits in London. His pension of £200 a year for teaching the Royal princesses had stopped, as had the public taste for opera. London had plunged into a hedonistic, alcohol- and gambling-driven lifestyle, where the bawdier things were the better. Brydges, one of the most colourful and roguish figures of the day, had built himself a vast palace (from wealth plundered whilst he was Paymaster General during the Spanish Wars of Succession) to rival anything the King could boast of – Cannons House in north London, set up as a rival court to King George I, where he employed Handel to replace Johann Pepusch as Kapellmeister. No surprise that the Earl has been described as ‘having no enmity with his conscience:’ The ‘King of Bling’ would have 13 Chandos Anthems and the Te Deum on this recording composed by a grateful Handel. It couldn’t last, though, and Handel was eventually lured back to the embrace of the Royal Court and London’s rediscovered love of opera. Now the 1st Duke of Chandos, Brydges had lost his vast fortune and his home in the South Sea Bubble financial crisis of 1720, and Cannons House was demolished, its treasures and features sold off. It was as if it had never been – except for Handel’s glorious music composed at Cannons House.