My teacher Mr. Mueller often mentioned that Handel was Beethoven's favorite composer. He would say that the trio from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony was a Handelian fugato which inextricably leads into a glorious hymn (with trombones, which, up to this point had been mainly used in religious works).
Then, this past Saturday, I conducted Beethoven's 5th in the afternoon, and Handel's Messiah in the evening. While conducting Handel's oratorio, I was as much listener as leader, taking in all of the glories and wonders that would later find its way into the symphonies of Beethoven.
Thank you, Mr. Mueller. Now I get it!