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, 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 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: End Title
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Sarabande: End Title

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George Frideric Handel
Piangerò la sorte mia (Giulio Cesare)
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Piangerò la sorte mia (Giulio Cesare)
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
Music for the Royal Fireworks (La réjouissance)
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Music for the Royal Fireworks (La réjouissance)
George Frideric Handel
Concerto for Organ No.13 "The Cuckoo and the Nightingale", HWV 295: II. Allegro
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Concerto for Organ No.13 "The Cuckoo and the Nightingale", HWV 295: II. Allegro
George Frideric Handel
Ode for St Cecilia's day - What passion cannot music raise and quell
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Ode for St Cecilia's day - What passion cannot music raise and quell
George Frideric Handel
Oh Lord, whose mercies numberless (Saul) arr. voice & lute
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Oh Lord, whose mercies numberless (Saul) arr. voice & lute
George Frideric Handel
Voglia Tempo (Il Trionfo Del Tempo e Del Disinganno)
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Voglia Tempo (Il Trionfo Del Tempo e Del Disinganno)
George Frideric Handel
Lascia ch'io pianga from Act 2 Sc.2 of Rinaldo (HWV.7)
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Lascia ch'io pianga from Act 2 Sc.2 of Rinaldo (HWV.7)
George Frideric Handel
Sorge nell'alma mia (Imeneo)
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Sorge nell'alma mia (Imeneo)
George Frideric Handel
Endless pleasure... (Semele, Act 1)
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Endless pleasure... (Semele, Act 1)
George Frideric Handel
Concerto in B flat major Op.4`6 vers. for harp and orchestra
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Concerto in B flat major Op.4`6 vers. for harp and orchestra
George Frideric Handel
The Alchymist - incidental music HWV.43
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The Alchymist - incidental music HWV.43
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
Concerto grosso (Op.3`4) in F major
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Concerto grosso (Op.3`4) in F major
George Frideric Handel
Suite for keyboard in G minor - 1733 no.6 (HWV.439)
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Suite for keyboard in G minor - 1733 no.6 (HWV.439)
George Frideric Handel
Zadok the priest - coronation anthem no. 1 HWV.258
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Zadok the priest - coronation anthem no. 1 HWV.258
George Frideric Handel
Serse - opera in 3 acts
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Serse - opera in 3 acts
George Frideric Handel
Giulio Cesare in Egitto - opera
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Giulio Cesare in Egitto - opera
George Frideric Handel
Rinaldo - opera in 3 acts
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Rinaldo - opera in 3 acts
George Frideric Handel
Messiah
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Messiah
George Frideric Handel
Dixit Dominus, HWV 232
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Dixit Dominus, HWV 232
George Frideric Handel
Trio Sonata in E major, HWV394
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Trio Sonata in E major, HWV394
George Frideric Handel
Recitative and aria from Giulio Gesare
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Recitative and aria from Giulio Gesare
George Frideric Handel
Coronation Anthem No.4 HWV261 'My heart is inditing'
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Coronation Anthem No.4 HWV261 'My heart is inditing'
George Frideric Handel
Va tacito (from Giulio Cesare)
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Va tacito (from Giulio Cesare)
George Frideric Handel
Acis and Galatea, HWV 49: Sinfonia
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Acis and Galatea, HWV 49: Sinfonia
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
I know that my redeemer liveth (Messiah)
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I know that my redeemer liveth (Messiah)
George Frideric Handel
'Behold I tell you a mystery' and 'The trumpet shall sound' from the Messiah
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'Behold I tell you a mystery' and 'The trumpet shall sound' from the Messiah
George Frideric Handel
What though I trace (Solomon)
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What though I trace (Solomon)
George Frideric Handel
Concerto Grosso in G major, Op 3 No 3
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Concerto Grosso in G major, Op 3 No 3
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
Semele - Happy Happy Shall We Be
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Semele - Happy Happy Shall We Be
George Frideric Handel
Semele - Excerpts from Act III
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Semele - Excerpts from Act III
George Frideric Handel
Semele - Excerpts from Act III
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Semele - Excerpts from Act III
George Frideric Handel
Semele - Excerpts from Act II
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Semele - Excerpts from Act II
George Frideric Handel
Semele - O sleep, why dost thou leave me?
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Semele - O sleep, why dost thou leave me?
George Frideric Handel
Semele - Endless pleasure, endless love
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Semele - Endless pleasure, endless love
George Frideric Handel
Semele - Why dost thou thus untimely grieve?
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Semele - Why dost thou thus untimely grieve?
George Frideric Handel
Semele - Overture
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Semele - Overture
George Frideric Handel
Concerto grosso in A minor, Op 6 no 4 (HWV 322)
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Concerto grosso in A minor, Op 6 no 4 (HWV 322)
George Frideric Handel
Agrippina - Aria "Spera, alma mia"
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Agrippina - Aria "Spera, alma mia"
George Frideric Handel
Agrippina - Act 3, sc 1; Tacero, pur che fedele (Ottone)
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Agrippina - Act 3, sc 1; Tacero, pur che fedele (Ottone)
George Frideric Handel
Eternal source of light divine (Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne)
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Eternal source of light divine (Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne)
George Frideric Handel
Trio sonata in G minor Op 2 No 5
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Trio sonata in G minor Op 2 No 5
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
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