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 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
Suite no. 2 in F major HWV.427 for keyboard
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Suite no. 2 in F major HWV.427 for keyboard

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George Frideric Handel
Concerto in B Flat Major Allegro ma non presto
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Concerto in B Flat Major Allegro ma non presto
George Frideric Handel
'Va tacito e nascosto' (Giulio Cesare)
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'Va tacito e nascosto' (Giulio Cesare)
George Frideric Handel
Water Music Suite No.1 In F, HWV 348: 5. Air
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Water Music Suite No.1 In F, HWV 348: 5. Air
George Frideric Handel
Rinaldo - opera in 3 acts: Act 1 sc.6; Augellette, che cantate [aria, Almirena]
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Rinaldo - opera in 3 acts: Act 1 sc.6; Augellette, che cantate [aria, Almirena]
George Frideric Handel
Rinaldo: Overture
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Rinaldo: Overture
George Frideric Handel
Water Music (Alla Hornpipe)
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Water Music (Alla Hornpipe)
George Frideric Handel
3rd Movement of the Queen of Sheeba from Solomon
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3rd Movement of the Queen of Sheeba from Solomon
George Frideric Handel
Messiah
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Messiah
George Frideric Handel
Zadok the priest, HWV 258
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Zadok the priest, HWV 258
George Frideric Handel
Tornami a vagheggiar (Alcina)
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Tornami a vagheggiar (Alcina)
George Frideric Handel
Keyboard Suite in E major, HWV 430 (Air with 5 variations)
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Keyboard Suite in E major, HWV 430 (Air with 5 variations)
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
Fugue in E minor: Allegro
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Fugue in E minor: Allegro
George Frideric Handel
Keyboard Suite No 3 in D minor, HWV 428 (Courante)
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Keyboard Suite No 3 in D minor, HWV 428 (Courante)
George Frideric Handel
My heart is inditing, HWV.261
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My heart is inditing, HWV.261
George Frideric Handel
Organ Concerto HWV 295 'The Cuckoo and the Nightingale' (3rd mvt)
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Organ Concerto HWV 295 'The Cuckoo and the Nightingale' (3rd mvt)
George Frideric Handel
Let the bright seraphim (Samson)
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Let the bright seraphim (Samson)
George Frideric Handel
Aure, deh, per pieta (Giulio Cesare)
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Aure, deh, per pieta (Giulio Cesare)
George Frideric Handel
Da tempeste il legno infranto (Giulio Cesare)
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Da tempeste il legno infranto (Giulio Cesare)
George Frideric Handel
Piangerò la sorte mia (Giulio Cesare)
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Piangerò la sorte mia (Giulio Cesare)
George Frideric Handel
V'adoro pupille (Giulio Cesare)
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V'adoro pupille (Giulio Cesare)
George Frideric Handel
Passacaglia (Suite No.7 in G minor)
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Passacaglia (Suite No.7 in G minor)
George Frideric Handel
Messiah
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Messiah
George Frideric Handel
Minuet in G minor
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Minuet in G minor
George Frideric Handel
Voi ch'udite il mio lamento (Agrippina)
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Voi ch'udite il mio lamento (Agrippina)
George Frideric Handel
Otton qual portentoso fulmine (Agrippina)
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Otton qual portentoso fulmine (Agrippina)
George Frideric Handel
O Ruddier Than The Cherry
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O Ruddier Than The Cherry
George Frideric Handel
Solomon: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba; Fugue; Air
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Solomon: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba; Fugue; Air
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
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
Se potessero i sospir' miei from Imeneo
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Se potessero i sospir' miei from Imeneo
George Frideric Handel
As with rosy steps the morn (Theodora)
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As with rosy steps the morn (Theodora)
George Frideric Handel
Semele / Act 2: Oh sleep, why dost thou leave me?
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Semele / Act 2: Oh sleep, why dost thou leave me?
George Frideric Handel
Organ Concerto in F major, HWV 292
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Organ Concerto in F major, HWV 292
George Frideric Handel
Sonata in G minor, HWV 360
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Sonata in G minor, HWV 360
George Frideric Handel
Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351 (Overture)
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Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351 (Overture)
George Frideric Handel
Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351 (Overture)
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Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351 (Overture)
George Frideric Handel
Hallelujah (from Messiah)
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Hallelujah (from Messiah)
George Frideric Handel
Sonata in C minor for recorder, violin and continuo, HWV 386a
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Sonata in C minor for recorder, violin and continuo, HWV 386a
George Frideric Handel
Passacaille
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Passacaille
George Frideric Handel
Sento la gioia (Amadigi di Gaula)
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Sento la gioia (Amadigi di Gaula)
George Frideric Handel
The Faithful Shepherd Suite (arr. Beecham) (extract)
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The Faithful Shepherd Suite (arr. Beecham) (extract)
George Frideric Handel
Solomon: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
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Solomon: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
George Frideric Handel
Sarabande Duel
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Sarabande Duel
George Frideric Handel
Music for the Royal Fireworks (La réjouissance)
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Music for the Royal Fireworks (La réjouissance)
George Frideric Handel
Water Music (Prelude and Hornpipe)
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Water Music (Prelude and Hornpipe)
George Frideric Handel
Keyboard Suite in F major, HWV 427
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Keyboard Suite in F major, HWV 427
George Frideric Handel
Samson: Awake the trumpet's lofty sound
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Samson: Awake the trumpet's lofty sound
George Frideric Handel
Music for the Royal Fireworks
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Music for the Royal Fireworks
George Frideric Handel
Eternal source of light divine (Birthday Ode for Queen Anne)
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Eternal source of light divine (Birthday Ode for Queen Anne)
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