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 Friederich Händel (listen); 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, concerti grossi and organ concertos. Handel received important training in Halle 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 fifteen 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

George Frideric Handel
Sarabande (Keyboard Suite in D minor, HWV 447)
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Sarabande (Keyboard Suite in D minor, HWV 447)

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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
Messiah (Rejoice Greatly)
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Messiah (Rejoice Greatly)
George Frideric Handel
Concerto grosso in C major HWV.318 'Alexander's Feast'
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Concerto grosso in C major HWV.318 'Alexander's Feast'
George Frideric Handel
The Alchymist - incidental music HWV.43
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The Alchymist - incidental music HWV.43
George Frideric Handel
Suite in B flat major, HWV 434: IV. Menuet
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Suite in B flat major, HWV 434: IV. Menuet
George Frideric Handel
Ev'ry Valley Shall be Exalted from Messiah
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Ev'ry Valley Shall be Exalted from Messiah
George Frideric Handel
3 arias from Messiah HWV 56 - If God be for us, Rejoice greatly, He shall feed his flock
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3 arias from Messiah HWV 56 - If God be for us, Rejoice greatly, He shall feed his flock
George Frideric Handel
Passacaille from Organ Concerto HWV 310
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Passacaille from Organ Concerto HWV 310
George Frideric Handel
Organ Concerto in F major, Op.4`5
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Organ Concerto in F major, Op.4`5
George Frideric Handel
Theodora - oratorio in 3 acts: Act 3
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Theodora - oratorio in 3 acts: Act 3
George Frideric Handel
Theodora - oratorio in 3 acts: Act 2
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Theodora - oratorio in 3 acts: Act 2
George Frideric Handel
Theodora - oratorio in 3 acts: Act 1
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Theodora - oratorio in 3 acts: Act 1
Nicola Matteis
Matteis: Aria malinconica; Handel/Babell: Lascia ch'io pianga
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Matteis: Aria malinconica; Handel/Babell: Lascia ch'io pianga
George Frideric Handel
Agrippina (Overture)
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Agrippina (Overture)
George Frideric Handel
Concerto grosso in D major Op.3`6
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Concerto grosso in D major Op.3`6
George Frideric Handel
Suite in D major, HWV 341
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Suite in D major, HWV 341
George Frideric Handel
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: Part I: Aria: O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion (
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Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: Part I: Aria: O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion (
George Frideric Handel
Concerto grosso in D major Op.6, No 5
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Concerto grosso in D major Op.6, No 5
George Frideric Handel
Da tempeste il legno infranto (from Giulio Cesare)
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Da tempeste il legno infranto (from Giulio Cesare)
George Frideric Handel
Keyboard Suite No. 7 in G minor, HWV 432: VI - Passacaille
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Keyboard Suite No. 7 in G minor, HWV 432: VI - Passacaille
George Frideric Handel
I know that my redeemer liveth (Messiah)
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I know that my redeemer liveth (Messiah)
George Frideric Handel
Organ Concerto in B flat major, Op.4`2
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Organ Concerto in B flat major, Op.4`2
George Frideric Handel
Organ Concerto in F major, HWV 293
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Organ Concerto in F major, HWV 293
George Frideric Handel
O Lord, whose mercies numberless (Saul)
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O Lord, whose mercies numberless (Saul)
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
Tu vivi e punito from Ariodante
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Tu vivi e punito from Ariodante
George Frideric Handel
Ombra mai fu (from Serse, HWV 40, arr Pluhar)
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Ombra mai fu (from Serse, HWV 40, arr Pluhar)
George Frideric Handel
Scipione: 'Scoglio d'immota fronte'
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Scipione: 'Scoglio d'immota fronte'
George Frideric Handel
Sinfonia, from 'Orlando' (HWV.31)
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Sinfonia, from 'Orlando' (HWV.31)
George Frideric Handel
Messiah - But who may abide
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Messiah - But who may abide
George Frideric Handel
Ariodante - Dopo notte
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Ariodante - Dopo notte
George Frideric Handel
Hallelujah Chorus (from The Messiah)
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Hallelujah Chorus (from The Messiah)
George Frideric Handel
Amadigi di Gaula (Overture)
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Amadigi di Gaula (Overture)
George Frideric Handel
Scipione: 'Scoglio d'immota fronte' (Berenice)
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Scipione: 'Scoglio d'immota fronte' (Berenice)
George Frideric Handel
The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
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The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
George Frideric Handel
Silent Worship
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Silent Worship
George Frideric Handel
Semele - 'Where 'er you walk'
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Semele - 'Where 'er you walk'
George Frideric Handel
Rinaldo - aria 'Lascia, ch'io pianga'
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Rinaldo - aria 'Lascia, ch'io pianga'
George Frideric Handel
Rinaldo - aria 'Furie terribili'
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Rinaldo - aria 'Furie terribili'
George Frideric Handel
Lotario - aria 'Scherza in mar'
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Lotario - aria 'Scherza in mar'
George Frideric Handel
Rinaldo - Overture
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Rinaldo - Overture
George Frideric Handel
Alcina - Aria 'Ah, mio cor'
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Alcina - Aria 'Ah, mio cor'
George Frideric Handel
Agrippina - Opera, overture; Aria 'Non ho cor che per amarti'
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Agrippina - Opera, overture; Aria 'Non ho cor che per amarti'
George Frideric Handel
Giulio Cesare in Egitto - Aria 'V'adoro, pupille'
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Giulio Cesare in Egitto - Aria 'V'adoro, pupille'
George Frideric Handel
Concerto Grosso in B flat major Op.3`2
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Concerto Grosso in B flat major Op.3`2
George Frideric Handel
As steals the morn (L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato)
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As steals the morn (L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato)
George Frideric Handel
I rage, I melt. I burn; O ruddier than the cherry (Acis and Galatea)
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I rage, I melt. I burn; O ruddier than the cherry (Acis and Galatea)
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