George Frideric Handel

Born 23 February 1685. Died 14 April 1759
George Frideric Handel
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1685-02-23
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George Frideric Handel

George Frideric Handel Biography (BBC)

Born in Halle in central Germany, George Frideric Handel was lured from his intended career in law by music, and had his first opera produced in Hamburg before he was 20.

The following year he took himself to the fount of all things operatic, Italy, where a four year stay added a new sophistication and finish to his already notable abilities. Many of his most brilliant vocal works date from this time, including the choral psalm-setting Dixit Dominus, the opera Agrippina and the oratorio La resurrezione.

Handel emerged from his Italian experience looking for a career in opera, and after a brief period in Hanover was soon in London, scoring a significant success in 1711 with the spectacular Rinaldo. Over the next 30 years he was to compose around 40 Italian operas for the London stage, the climaxes of his achievement coming in 1724–5 with Giulio Cesare, Tamerlano and Rodelinda, and in 1735, the year of Ariodante and Alcina.

At the same time he gained a sure foothold with the British establishment, cultivating wealthy patrons and winning prestigious royal commissions, including the four anthems which he composed for the coronation of George II in 1727. That year he also became a British citizen.

During the 1730s English interest in Italian opera waned, and Handel was forced to look elsewhere for a living. His solution, oratorio in English, has fixed his position on the British musical landscape ever since. His first English oratorio, Esther of 1732, was an adaptation of an earlier stage work, but by the end of the decade a number of striking original works had followed, including Saul and Israel in Egypt. For a while he composed oratorios alongside operas, but by the early 1740s oratorio had won the day, buoyed by the successes of Messiah in Dublin in 1742 and Samson in London the following year. The ensuing decade saw a stream of notable oratorios, culminating in 1751 in his last masterpiece, Jephtha.

Handel’s greatness as a composer has been acknowledged from his time to ours, even if perceptions of exactly why have changed. During the 19th century and much of the 20th he was seen as the great religious artist, noble master in the oratorios of vast choral sound and intimate pious sentiment, but in recent decades he has come to be appreciated for the more worldly slant of his operas, whose penetrating psychological insight and broad human compassion have won him a position in the front rank of musical dramatists. What has never been in dispute, however, is his easy skill as a composer, his healthy cosmopolitanism, and the sheer tunefulness and charm of his music.

Profile © Lindsay Kemp

George Frideric Handel Biography (Wikipedia)

George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel (born Georg Friedrich Händel; 23 February 1685 (O.S.) [(N.S.) 5 March] – 14 April 1759) was a German, later British, Baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming well-known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos. Handel received important training in Halle-upon-Saale and worked as a composer in Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712; he became a naturalised British subject in 1727. He was strongly influenced both by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and by the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.

Within 15 years, Handel had started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera. Musicologist Winton Dean writes that his operas show that "Handel was not only a great composer; he was a dramatic genius of the first order." As Alexander's Feast (1736) was well received, Handel made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742) he never composed an Italian opera again. Almost blind, and having lived in England for nearly fifty years, he died in 1759, a respected and rich man. His funeral was given full state honours, and he was buried in Westminster Abbey in London.

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.

George Frideric Handel Performances & Interviews


George Frideric Handel Tracks

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George Frideric Handel
Lascia la spina - from Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno
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Lascia la spina - from Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno
George Frideric Handel
Ombra mai fu (Serse)
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Ombra mai fu (Serse)
George Frideric Handel
Athalia: When storms the proud to terrors doom
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Athalia: When storms the proud to terrors doom
George Frideric Handel
Concerto Grosso in A minor, Op 6 No 4
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Concerto Grosso in A minor, Op 6 No 4
George Frideric Handel
Water Music No.1 in F
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Water Music No.1 in F
George Frideric Handel
Trio Sonata In F, Op 2 No 4
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Trio Sonata In F, Op 2 No 4
George Frideric Handel
Il Pastor Fido - ballet music
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Il Pastor Fido - ballet music
George Frideric Handel
Ombra mai fu (Serse)
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Ombra mai fu (Serse)
George Frideric Handel
Organ Concerto in F major, HWV 295, 'The Cuckoo and the Nightingale'
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Organ Concerto in F major, HWV 295, 'The Cuckoo and the Nightingale'
George Frideric Handel
Sonata (Op.1 No.5) in F major (HWV.363a) vers. oboe & bc
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Sonata (Op.1 No.5) in F major (HWV.363a) vers. oboe & bc
George Frideric Handel
Three Arias "Tornami" / "Un momento" / "No, no, I'll take no I'll take no less"
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Three Arias "Tornami" / "Un momento" / "No, no, I'll take no I'll take no less"
George Frideric Handel
Trio Sonata in F major
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Trio Sonata in F major
George Frideric Handel
Acis and Galatea: Act 2 ('Wretched lovers!' to 'Love sounds th' alarm')
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Acis and Galatea: Act 2 ('Wretched lovers!' to 'Love sounds th' alarm')
George Frideric Handel
'Va tacito' (Giulio Cesare)
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'Va tacito' (Giulio Cesare)
George Frideric Handel
Concerto Grosso in B flat major, Op 3 No 1
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Concerto Grosso in B flat major, Op 3 No 1
George Frideric Handel
D'un barbaro scortese (Poro)
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D'un barbaro scortese (Poro)
George Frideric Handel
Sinfonia, 'Arrival of the Queen of Sheba' (Solomon)
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Sinfonia, 'Arrival of the Queen of Sheba' (Solomon)
George Frideric Handel
Caro!... Bella! (Giulio Cesare)
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Caro!... Bella! (Giulio Cesare)
George Frideric Handel
Let the bright seraphim (Samson)
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Let the bright seraphim (Samson)
George Frideric Handel
La réjouissance (Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351)
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La réjouissance (Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351)
George Frideric Handel
Music for the Royal Fireworks (La réjouissance)
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Music for the Royal Fireworks (La réjouissance)
George Frideric Handel
Athalia: Gentle Airs Melodious Strains
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Athalia: Gentle Airs Melodious Strains
George Frideric Handel
My heart is inditing
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My heart is inditing
George Frideric Handel
Forte e lieto a morte andrei (Tamerlano)
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Forte e lieto a morte andrei (Tamerlano)
George Frideric Handel
Harpsichord Suite in B flat major HWV434: Aria con variazione
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Harpsichord Suite in B flat major HWV434: Aria con variazione
George Frideric Handel
Sonata In G Major for Violin and Continuo, HWV 358
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Sonata In G Major for Violin and Continuo, HWV 358
George Frideric Handel
Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351
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Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351
George Frideric Handel
Concerto Grosso in G Op.3 No.3
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Concerto Grosso in G Op.3 No.3
George Frideric Handel
Air with 5 variations "The harmonious blacksmith" (Suite no.5 in E major HWV.430)
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Air with 5 variations "The harmonious blacksmith" (Suite no.5 in E major HWV.430)
George Frideric Handel
Felicissima quest'alma (Apollo e Dafne)
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Felicissima quest'alma (Apollo e Dafne)
George Frideric Handel
Overture (Agrippina); 'Son contenta di morire' (Radamisto)
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Overture (Agrippina); 'Son contenta di morire' (Radamisto)
George Frideric Handel
Allegro in C minor, HWV 408
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Allegro in C minor, HWV 408
George Frideric Handel
Agrippina: Recit + Voi ch'udite
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Agrippina: Recit + Voi ch'udite
George Frideric Handel
Agrippina: Quanto fa quanto puote....L'alma mia fra le tempeste
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Agrippina: Quanto fa quanto puote....L'alma mia fra le tempeste
George Frideric Handel
Agrippina: Tacerò pur che fedele
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Agrippina: Tacerò pur che fedele
George Frideric Handel
Dixit Dominus - Psalm 110 HWV.232 (opening chorus)
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Dixit Dominus - Psalm 110 HWV.232 (opening chorus)
George Frideric Handel
Love in her eyes sits playing (Acis and Galatea)
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Love in her eyes sits playing (Acis and Galatea)
George Frideric Handel
Water music - suite (HWV.349) in D major
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Water music - suite (HWV.349) in D major
George Frideric Handel
Hush, ye pretty warbling choir! (from Acis and Galatea)
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Hush, ye pretty warbling choir! (from Acis and Galatea)
George Frideric Handel
Leave me, loathsome light (Semele)
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Leave me, loathsome light (Semele)
George Frideric Handel
Saeviat Tellus Inter Rigores: Aria
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Saeviat Tellus Inter Rigores: Aria
Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges, George Frideric Handel, Jeanine De Bique, Chineke! Orchestra & Kevin John Edusei
Au Penchant SEGUE Rejoice Greatly (Messiah)
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Au Penchant SEGUE Rejoice Greatly (Messiah)
George Frideric Handel
Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Act 3; Da tempeste il legno infranto)
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Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Act 3; Da tempeste il legno infranto)
George Frideric Handel
Messiah: Pifa
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Messiah: Pifa
George Frideric Handel
Amadigi di Gaula (Overture)
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Amadigi di Gaula (Overture)
George Frideric Handel
Delirio Amoroso, HWV 99 (Sonata)
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Delirio Amoroso, HWV 99 (Sonata)
George Frideric Handel
"Si, si, fellon, t'intendo.." & "Fra Tempeste funeste a quest'alma" (Rodelinda)
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"Si, si, fellon, t'intendo.." & "Fra Tempeste funeste a quest'alma" (Rodelinda)
George Frideric Handel
Suite in F major, HWV 348, 'Water Music'
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Suite in F major, HWV 348, 'Water Music'
George Frideric Handel
Glory be to the Father (Jubilate for the Peace of Utrecht)
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Glory be to the Father (Jubilate for the Peace of Utrecht)
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