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
Solomon - The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
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Solomon - The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba

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George Frideric Handel
Suite No 2 in F, HWV427
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Suite No 2 in F, HWV427
George Frideric Handel
Trio sonata in D major Op.5`2
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Trio sonata in D major Op.5`2
George Frideric Handel
Rinaldo (Lascia Ch'Io Pianga)
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Rinaldo (Lascia Ch'Io Pianga)
George Frideric Handel
"Theme Sublime of Endless Praise" (Jephtha)
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"Theme Sublime of Endless Praise" (Jephtha)
George Frideric Handel
Air: "For Ever Blessed by Thy Holy Name" (Jephtha)
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Air: "For Ever Blessed by Thy Holy Name" (Jephtha)
George Frideric Handel
Recitative: "Rise, Jephtha", Air: "Happy, Iphis, Shalt Thou Live" (Jephtha)
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Recitative: "Rise, Jephtha", Air: "Happy, Iphis, Shalt Thou Live" (Jephtha)
George Frideric Handel
Sinfonia (Jephtha)
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Sinfonia (Jephtha)
George Frideric Handel
"Doubtful Fear and Rev'rent Awe" (Jephtha)
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"Doubtful Fear and Rev'rent Awe" (Jephtha)
George Frideric Handel
Accompagnato: "Ye Sacred Priests"; Air: "Fairwell, ye Limpid Springs and Floods (Jephtha)
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Accompagnato: "Ye Sacred Priests"; Air: "Fairwell, ye Limpid Springs and Floods (Jephtha)
George Frideric Handel
Accompagnato: "A Father Off'ring Up", Air: "Waft Her, Angels" (Jephtha)
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Accompagnato: "A Father Off'ring Up", Air: "Waft Her, Angels" (Jephtha)
George Frideric Handel
Air: "Hide Thou Thy Hated Beams, O Sun, in Clouds" (Jephtha)
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Air: "Hide Thou Thy Hated Beams, O Sun, in Clouds" (Jephtha)
George Frideric Handel
Concerto Grosso in D major, Op 3 No 6
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Concerto Grosso in D major, Op 3 No 6
George Frideric Handel
Keyboard Suite, HWV 427 in F major
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Keyboard Suite, HWV 427 in F major
George Frideric Handel
Dixit Dominus, HWV 232
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Dixit Dominus, HWV 232
George Frideric Handel
Concerto grosso in G Minor, Op. 6 No. 6, HWV 324: V. Allegro
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Concerto grosso in G Minor, Op. 6 No. 6, HWV 324: V. Allegro
George Frideric Handel
Air with variations, 'The Harmonious Blacksmith' (Suite No 5 in E major)
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Air with variations, 'The Harmonious Blacksmith' (Suite No 5 in E major)
George Frideric Handel
Water music suite in D, HWV.349
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Water music suite in D, HWV.349
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
Ariodante, HWV 33 Act 2 'Scherza infida'
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Ariodante, HWV 33 Act 2 'Scherza infida'
George Frideric Handel
3 Airs from Vauxhall Gardens
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3 Airs from Vauxhall Gardens
George Frideric Handel
When his loud voice in thunder spoke (Jephtha)
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When his loud voice in thunder spoke (Jephtha)
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
Let the Bright Seraphim (Samson)
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Let the Bright Seraphim (Samson)
George Frideric Handel
Ombra mai fu (Serse)
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Ombra mai fu (Serse)
George Frideric Handel
Trio Sonata in G major, Op 5 No 4
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Trio Sonata in G major, Op 5 No 4
George Frideric Handel
"Per le porte del tormento" (Sosarme, Act 2)
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"Per le porte del tormento" (Sosarme, Act 2)
George Frideric Handel
Ah! che troppo inequali Italian cantata HWV 230
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Ah! che troppo inequali Italian cantata HWV 230
George Frideric Handel
Chandos Anthem No. 9: O praise the Lord with one consent (opening chorus)
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Chandos Anthem No. 9: O praise the Lord with one consent (opening chorus)
George Frideric Handel
II. Allegro (Concerto Grosso No.5 in D minor, HWV 316)
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II. Allegro (Concerto Grosso No.5 in D minor, HWV 316)
George Frideric Handel
Concerto grosso in A minor Op.6`4
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Concerto grosso in A minor Op.6`4
George Frideric Handel
Sorge nell'alma mia (Imeneo)
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Sorge nell'alma mia (Imeneo)
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
Scherza infida (Ariodante)
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Scherza infida (Ariodante)
George Frideric Handel
The Messiah, Bass Aria: 'The Trumpet Shall Sound'
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The Messiah, Bass Aria: 'The Trumpet Shall Sound'
George Frideric Handel
Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No. 1 in G major
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Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No. 1 in G major
George Frideric Handel
Fra l'ombre e gl'orrori (Aci, Galatea e Polifemo)
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Fra l'ombre e gl'orrori (Aci, Galatea e Polifemo)
George Frideric Handel
Verdi prati (Alcina)
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Verdi prati (Alcina)

Verdi prati (Alcina)

Ensemble
Symphony of Harmony and Invention
George Frideric Handel
Concerto for harp and orchestra in B flat major (Op.4 No.6) (HWV.294)
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Concerto for harp and orchestra in B flat major (Op.4 No.6) (HWV.294)
George Frideric Handel
Placa l'alma (Alessandro, HWV21)
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Placa l'alma (Alessandro, HWV21)

Placa l'alma (Alessandro, HWV21)

Performer
Mary Bevan, Lucy Crowe, Bridget Cunningham, London Early Opera
Last played on
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,)
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