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
Serse - opera in 3 acts
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Serse - opera in 3 acts

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George Frideric Handel
O Lord whose mercies numberless (Saul)
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O Lord whose mercies numberless (Saul)
George Frideric Handel
Alexander's Feast: The Many Rend the Skies with Loud Applause
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Alexander's Feast: The Many Rend the Skies with Loud Applause
George Frideric Handel
Solomon - The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
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Solomon - The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
George Frideric Handel
Ho Un Non So Che Nel Cor
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Ho Un Non So Che Nel Cor
George Frideric Handel
Rodelinda: Aria "Dove Sei?"
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Rodelinda: Aria "Dove Sei?"
George Frideric Handel
Suite No 2 in F major, HWV 427
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Suite No 2 in F major, HWV 427
George Frideric Handel
La Lucrezia 'Alla Salma'
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La Lucrezia 'Alla Salma'
George Frideric Handel
Dove sei, amato bene (Rodelinda)
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Dove sei, amato bene (Rodelinda)
George Frideric Handel
Haste thee, nymph (L' Allegro, il penseroso,)
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Haste thee, nymph (L' Allegro, il penseroso,)
Johannes Brahms
25 variations and fugue on a theme by G.F. Handel for piano (Op.24)
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25 variations and fugue on a theme by G.F. Handel for piano (Op.24)
George Frideric Handel
Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351
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Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351
George Frideric Handel
As with rosy steps the morn (Theodora)
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As with rosy steps the morn (Theodora)
George Frideric Handel
Gentle Morpheus, son of night (Calliope's song) from Alceste
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Gentle Morpheus, son of night (Calliope's song) from Alceste
George Frideric Handel
Concerto Grosso in D minor, Op 3 No 5
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Concerto Grosso in D minor, Op 3 No 5
George Frideric Handel
Trio sonata for 2 violins & bc (HWV.388) in B flat major (Op.2 No.3)
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Trio sonata for 2 violins & bc (HWV.388) in B flat major (Op.2 No.3)
George Frideric Handel
Passacaille in G Major, HWV 399
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Passacaille in G Major, HWV 399
George Frideric Handel
Recitative È tale Otton and Aria Falsa Immagine from Ottone
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Recitative È tale Otton and Aria Falsa Immagine from Ottone
George Frideric Handel
Da Tempeste il legno infranto from Cesare HWV 17
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Da Tempeste il legno infranto from Cesare HWV 17
George Frideric Handel
Allegro from Overture to Il Pastor Fido HWV 456.1
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Allegro from Overture to Il Pastor Fido HWV 456.1
George Frideric Handel
Alessandro, HWV 21: Placa l'alma
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Alessandro, HWV 21: Placa l'alma
George Frideric Handel
Tu del Ciel ministro eletto (excerpt 'Il Trionfo del tempo e del disinganno')
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Tu del Ciel ministro eletto (excerpt 'Il Trionfo del tempo e del disinganno')
George Frideric Handel
Sound an Alarm (Judas Maccabeus)
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Sound an Alarm (Judas Maccabeus)
George Frideric Handel
Lascia ch'io pianga (Rinaldo)
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Lascia ch'io pianga (Rinaldo)
George Frideric Handel
Suite No 2 in F, HWV427
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Suite No 2 in F, HWV427
George Frideric Handel
Serse - Ombra mai fu
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Serse - Ombra mai fu
George Frideric Handel
Harmonious Blacksmith for Harpsichord from Suite no.5 in E major - movement IV
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Harmonious Blacksmith for Harpsichord from Suite no.5 in E major - movement IV
Leonardo Vinci
Dea Triforme... (L'Elpidia)
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Dea Triforme... (L'Elpidia)
George Frideric Handel
Zadok the Priest
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Zadok the Priest
George Frideric Handel
Lascia ch'io pianga (Rinaldo)
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Lascia ch'io pianga (Rinaldo)
George Frideric Handel
Ballet music from 'Terpsichore'
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Ballet music from 'Terpsichore'
George Frideric Handel
Concerto no. 10 in D minor Op.7`4; Allegro
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Concerto no. 10 in D minor Op.7`4; Allegro
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
Introduction to Il delirio amoroso
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Introduction to Il delirio amoroso
George Frideric Handel
Dixit Dominus (Dixit Dominus, HWV 232)
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Dixit Dominus (Dixit Dominus, HWV 232)
George Frideric Handel
Conceerto Grosso, Op. 6 no 1 in G major
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Conceerto Grosso, Op. 6 no 1 in G major
George Frideric Handel
Ma quando tornerai (from Alcina)
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Ma quando tornerai (from Alcina)
George Frideric Handel
Va tacito (Giulio Cesare)
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Va tacito (Giulio Cesare)
George Frideric Handel
Water music - suite (HWV.350) in D major, Trumpet minuet
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Water music - suite (HWV.350) in D major, Trumpet minuet
George Frideric Handel
Da tempeste il legno infranto (Giulio Cesare)
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Da tempeste il legno infranto (Giulio Cesare)
George Frideric Handel
Water Music: Suite I (Alla Hornpipe)
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Water Music: Suite I (Alla Hornpipe)
George Frideric Handel
Concerto grosso in F Major, Op. 6 No. 2 Allegro, ma non troppo
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Concerto grosso in F Major, Op. 6 No. 2 Allegro, ma non troppo
George Frideric Handel
Concerto grosso in F Major, Op. 6 No. 2 Largo
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Concerto grosso in F Major, Op. 6 No. 2 Largo
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
Sonata for 2 violins in G minor, HWV 390a
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Sonata for 2 violins in G minor, HWV 390a
George Frideric Handel
Ombra mai fu (Serse)
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Ombra mai fu (Serse)
George Frideric Handel
Lascia ch'io pianga (Rinaldo)
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Lascia ch'io pianga (Rinaldo)
George Frideric Handel
Recitative and aria from Giulio Gesare
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Recitative and aria from Giulio Gesare
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
Dixit Dominus (De Torrente)
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Dixit Dominus (De Torrente)
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