George Frideric Handel biography
 

George Frideric Handel

Artist: George Frideric Handel 
Born:1685, Halle
Died:1759, London
Summary:Important composer from the Baroque period who became a British citizen in 1726. He wrote many operas and oratorios, including the popular Messiah.
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George Frideric Handel Biography


George Frideric Handel (German Georg Friedrich Händel), (February 23, 1685 – April 14, 1759) was a German-born British Baroque music composer. His best-known work is Messiah, an oratorio set to texts from the King James Bible. It is customarily performed at Christmas time. He was also deeply influential on many composers after him, including Haydn, mozart, and Beethoven.

George Frideric Handel
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George Frideric Handel
Contents

Biography

Handel was born at Halle in Saxony. At the age of seven he was a skillful performer on the harpsichord and organ, and at nine he began to compose music. In 1702, in obedience to his father's wishes, he began the study of law at the University of Halle, but the following year he abandoned law for music and accepted a position as violinist in the orchestra of the opera-house at Hamburg. Here his first two operas, Almira and Nero, were produced early in 1705. Two other early operas, Daphne and Florindo, were produced at Hamburg in 1708. During the years 1707-1709 Handel traveled and studied in Italy. His Rodrigo was produced at Florence in 1707, and his Agrippina at Venice in 1708. Two oratorios, La Resurrezione and Il Trionfo del Tempo, were produced at Rome in 1709 and 1710, respectively.

In 1710 Handel became Kapellmeister to George, elector of Hanover, afterward George I of Great Britain. He visited London in 1710 and settled there permanently in 1712, receiving a yearly income of £200 from Queen Anne. In 1927 Handel's opera Scipio (Scipione) was performed for the first time, the march from which remains the regimental slow march of the British Grenadier Guards.

In 1727 Handel was commissioned to write four anthems for the coronation ceremony of King George II. One of these, Zadok the Priest, has been played at every coronation ceremony since. Handel was director of the Royal Academy of Music 1720-1728, and a partner of J. J. Heidegger in the management of the King's Theatre 1729-1734. Handel also had a long association with the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, where many of his Italian operas were premiered. Handel gave up operatic management entirely in 1740, after he had lost a fortune in the business. In 1751 he became blind, and died in London. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

George Frideric Handel
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George Frideric Handel

Handel's compositions include some fifty operas, twenty-three oratorios, and a large amount of church music, not to speak of his superb instrumental pieces, such as the organ concerti, the Opus 6 Concerti Grossi, the Water Music, and the Fireworks Music.

After his death, Handel's Italian operas fell into obscurity, save the odd fragment, such as the ubiquitous aria from Serse, 'Ombra mai fù'; his reputation throughout the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, particularly in the anglophone countries, rested primarily on his English oratorios, which were customarily performed by enormous choruses of amateur singers on solemn occasions. These include Esther (1720); Saul (1739); Israel in Egypt (1739); Messiah (1742); Samson (1743); Judas Maccabaeus (1747); and Jephthah (1752).

Since the 1960s, with the revival of interest in baroque music and original instrument playing styles, interest has revived in Handel's Italian operas, and many have been recorded and performed onstage. Of the fifty he wrote between 1705 and 1738, Alcina (1735), Ariodante (1735), Orlando (1733), Rinaldo (1711,1731), Rodelinda (1725), and Serse (also known as Xerxes) (1738) stand out and are now performed regularly in opera houses and concert halls. Arguably the finest, however, is Giulio Cesare (1724) which, thanks to its superb orchestral and vocal writing, has entered the mainstream opera repertoire.

Also revived in recent years are a number of secular cantatas and what one might call secular oratorios or concert operas, Of the former, Ode for St, Cecilia's Day (1739) (set to texts of John Dryden) and Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (1713) are particularly noteworthy. For his secular oratorios, Handel turned to classical mythology for subjects, producing such works as Acis and Galatea (1719) Hercules (1745), and Semele (1744). In terms of musical style, particularly in the vocal writing for the English-language texts, these works have close kinship with the above-mentioned sacred oratorios, but they also share something of the lyrical and dramatic qualities of Handel's Italian operas. As such, they are sometimes performed onstage by small chamber ensembles.

Handel House at 25 Brook Street, London
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Handel House at 25 Brook Street, London

With the rediscovery of his theatrical works, Handel, in addition to his renown as instrumentalist, orchestral writer, and melodist, is now perceived as being one of opera's great musical dramatists.

Handel adopted the spelling 'George Frideric Handel' on his naturalization as a British citizen. His name is spelled 'Händel' in Germany and 'Haendel' in France, which causes no small grief to cataloguers everywhere. There was another composer with a similar name, Handl, who was a Slovenian (without umlaut; so not Händel). He was usually known as Jacobus Gallus.

Handel's works were edited by S. Arnold (40 vols., London, 1786), and by F. Chrysander, for the German Händel-Gesellschaft (100 vols., Leipzig, 1859-1894).

Handel lived at 25 Brook Street, London from 1723 until his death in 1759. It was here that he composed Messiah , Zadok the Priest, and Fireworks Music. In 2000 the upper storeys of 25 Brook Street were leased to the Handel House Trust, and, after an extensive restoration programme, the Handel House Museum opened to the public on 8 November 2001.

This article includes content derived from the public domain Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1914.

Media

  • Listen to Handel's Gigue, HWV 433.

Other

Asteroid 3826 Handel is named after the composer.

External links



This biography is published under the GNU Licence






Items to buy by George Frideric Handel



Messiah "(An Oratorio). By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). Edited by T. Tertius Noble. For SATB choir (with solos) and piano accompaniment (SATB). Choral. Baroque. Difficulty: medium to medium-difficult. Vocal score. Choral notation, piano reduction, introduc

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Messiah "(A sacred oratorio). By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). Edited by Watkins Shaw. For soprano solo voice, alto solo voice, tenor solo voice, bass solo voice, SATB choir and piano accompaniment (Vocal Score). Music Sales America. Baroque, Choral, Christ

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45 ARIAS from Operas and Oratorios for Voice and Piano (High Voice) "(Volume I). By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). Edited by Sergius Kagen. For high voice solo and piano accompaniment (high voice). Baroque. Difficulty: difficult. Collection. Vocal melody, piano accompaniment, lyrics, translations and introductory tex

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Aria Con Variazioni - Trumpet/Piano "(From 5th Harpsichord Suite). By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). Edited by trans. Bernard Fitzgerald. Arranged by R. Bernard Fitzgerald. For Bb trumpet (cornet) and piano. Brass - B-Flat Cornet (Trumpet) Solo; Masterworks; Solo. Baroque. Difficulty:

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45 ARIAS from Operas and Oratorios for Voice and Piano (High Voice) "(Volume II). By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). Edited by Sergius Kagen. For high voice solo and piano accompaniment (high voice). Baroque. Difficulty: difficult. Collection. Vocal melody, piano accompaniment, lyrics, translations and introductory te

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Water Music "By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). Arranged by Arthur Campbell. For solo piano. Baroque. SMP Level 6 (Late Intermediate). Collection. Standard notation, fingerings and introductory text (does not include words to the songs). 14 pages. Published by Ed

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45 Arias from Operas and Oratorios "(Volume III - High Voice). By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). For high voice solo and piano accompaniment (high voice). Baroque. Difficulty: difficult. Songbook. Vocal melody, lyrics and piano accompaniment. Published by International Music Company"

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Passacaglia - Duo for Violin and Cello (score & parts) By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). Edited by Frieda R. Davis and Nathan Stutch. For violin and cello. Baroque. Difficulty: difficult. Set of performance parts and score. Bowings and fingerings. 10 pages. Published by International Music Company

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Sonata No. 3 (Alto Sax and Piano). By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). Arranged by Sigurd Rascher. For alto saxophone and piano accompaniment (Alto Sax). Woodwind Solo. Baroque. Difficulty: medium. Set of performance parts (includes separate pull-out saxophone part

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45 Arias from Operas and Oratorios - for Voice and Piano (Low) "(Volume I). By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). Edited by Sergius Kagen. For low voice and piano accompaniment (low voice). Baroque. Difficulty: difficult. Collection. Vocal melody, lyrics, piano accompaniment, translations and introductory text. 63 p

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Seven (7) Sonatas and Famous Largo By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). For flute and piano. Woodwind Solos & Ensembles - Flute Collection. Baroque. Set of performance parts. 100 pages. Published by Southern Music Company

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Seven Sonatas for Flute and Piano (for Flute & Piano). By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). Arranged by Louis Moyse. For flute and piano (Flute). Woodwind Solo. Baroque. Set of performance parts. 66 pages. G. Schirmer #ED3164. Published by G. Schirmer

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45 Arias from Operas and Oratorios "(Low Voice - Volume II). By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). For voice and piano (low voice). Baroque. Difficulty: difficult. Songbook. Vocal melody, lyrics and piano accompaniment. Published by International Music Company"

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Hallelujah Chorus From The Messiah "((from Messiah)). By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). For SATB choir and piano accompaniment (SATB). Choral. Baroque, Choral and Sacred. Octavo. 12 pages. G. Schirmer #OC2020. Published by G. Schirmer"

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Eleven Sonatas For Flute And Basso Continuo "By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). Edited by Hans-Peter Schmitz and Terence Best. For flute (alto recorder) and basso continuo. This edition: Urtext edition. Baroque. Difficulty: medium. 2 volume set. Basso continuo, keyboard realization and introduc

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Passacaglia - Duo for Violin and Viola (Score & Parts). By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) and Johann Halvorsen (1864-1935). Edited by Frieda R. Davis and Leonard Davis. For violin and viola. Baroque. Difficulty: difficult. Set of performance parts and score. Bowings and fingerings. 12 page

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Six Sonatas - Piano / Violin (Violin and Piano). By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). Edited by A Betti. Arranged by Adolfo Betti. For violin and piano (Violin). String Solo. Baroque. Difficulty: medium. Set of performance parts. Solo part and piano accompaniment. 51 pages. G. Schi

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Water Music Suites for String Quartet "By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). For string quartet (violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello). Instrumental Ensemble - Strings. A very playable arrangement of the complete suites. Includes 3rd violin part. Baroque. Grade 3. Set of performance parts. Publi

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HANDEL: Six Sonatas for Violin and Piano By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). For violin. Instrumental Solo Part and CD. Published by Music Minus One

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Ombra mai fu (Voice and Piano). By George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). Vocal Solo. 4 pages. Ricordi #R127487. Published by Ricordi

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