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The life and early career of george friederich handel

And many of them know and love that oratorio on Christ's life, death, and resurrection, as well as a few other greatest hits like the orchestral Water Music and Royal Fireworks Music, and perhaps Judas Maccabeus or one of the other English oratorios.

Yet his operas, for which he was widely known in his own time, are the province mainly of specialists in Baroque music, and the events of his life, even though they reflected some of the most important musical issues of the day, have never become as familiar as the careers of Bach or Mozart.

Perhaps the single word that best describes his life and music is "cosmopolitan": Handel was born in the German city of Halle on February 23, 1685.

  • Not only Messiah but also Israel in Egypt, Samson, Saul, and many other works established him as a venerated elder of English music;
  • After periods of ill health and failing eyesight leading to blindness, Handel died in bed at his home in Brook Street on 14 April 1759 at the age of 74;
  • Three people died, including one of the trumpeters on the day after.

His father noted but did not nurture his musical talent, and he had to sneak a small keyboard instrument into his attic to practice. As a child he studied music with Friedrich Wilhelm Zachoworganist at the Liebfrauenkirche, and for a time he seemed destined for a career as a church organist himself.

A Biographical Introduction

After studying law briefly at the University of Halle, Handel began serving as organist on March 13, 1702, at the Domkirche there. Dissatisfied, he took a post as violinist in the Hamburg opera orchestra in 1703, and his frustration with musically provincial northern Germany was perhaps shown when he fought a duel the following year with the composer Matheson over the accompaniment to one of Matheson's operas.

In 1706 Handel took off for Italy, then the font of operatic innovation, and mastered contemporary trends in Italian serious opera.

George Frederick Handel

He returned to Germany to become court composer in Hannover, whose rulers were linked by family ties with the British throne; his patron there, the Elector of Hannover, became King George I of England.

English audiences took to his 1711 opera Rinaldo, and several years later Handel jumped at the chance to move to England permanently. Through the 1720s Handel composed Italian operatic masterpieces for London stages: Ottone, Serse Xerxesand other works often based on classical stories.

His popularity was dented, though, by new English-language works of a less formal character, and in the 1730s and 1740s Handel turned to the oratorio, a grand form that attracted England's new middle-class audiences.

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Not only Messiah but also Israel in Egypt, Samson, Saul, and many other works established him as a venerated elder of English music. The oratorios displayed to maximum effect Handel 's melodic gift and the sense of timing he brought to big choral numbers. Among the most popular of all the oratorios was Judas Maccabeus, composed in 32 days in 1746. Handel presented the oratorio six times during its first season and about 40 times before his death 12 years later, conducting it 30 times himself.

George Frideric Handel: collected documents: volume 1 1609-1725

In 1737, Handel suffered a stroke, which caused both temporary paralysis in his right arm and some loss of his mental faculties, but he recovered sufficiently to carry on most normal activity. He was urged to write an autobiography, but never did. Blind in old age, he continued to compose. He died in London on April 14, 1759.

  • Romain Rolland states that these anthems were as important for his oratorios as the cantates for his operas;
  • He was naturalised a British subject in the following year;
  • A Biographical Introduction This web site is an evolving project dedicated to the great baroque composer George Frideric Handel auf deutsch;
  • Four years later he became a naturalized British citizen, and in October 1727 he provided four anthems for the coronation of George II including Zadok the Priest, which has been performed at every British coronation since;
  • Cecilia's Day , three trombones Saul , clarinets or small high cornets Tamerlano , theorbo, French horn Water Music , lyrichord, double bassoon, viola da gamba, bell chimes, positive organ, and harp Giulio Cesare, Alexander's Feast.

Beethoven thought Handel the greatest of all his predecessors; he once said, "I would bare my head and kneel at his grave.