George Frideric Handel

Biography

Born: 1685   Died: 1759   Country: Germany   Period: Baroque
Most music lovers have encountered George Frederick Handel through holiday-time renditions of the Messiah's "Hallelujah" chorus. And many of them know and love that oratorio of Christ's life and death, 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 Read more 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": he was a German composer, trained in Italy, who spent most of his life in England.

Handel was born in the German city of Halle on February 23, 1685. 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 Zachow, organist at the Liebfrauenkirche, and for a time he seemed destined for a career as a church organist himself. 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. 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. He impressed King George early on with the Water Music of 1716, written as entertainment for a royal boat outing.

Through the 1720s Handel composed Italian operatic masterpieces for London stages: Ottone, Serse (Xerxes), and 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. 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. 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. Beethoven thought Handel the greatest of all his predecessors; he once said, "I would bare my head and kneel at his grave." Read less

Handel: The Triumph Of Time & Truth
Release Date: 07/08/2014   Label: Delphian  
Catalog: 34135   Number of Discs: 2
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Handel: Harpsichord Works Vol 3  / Sophie Yates
Release Date: 09/24/2002   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 688   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Harpsichord Works Vol 2 / Sophie Yates
Release Date: 09/25/2001   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 669   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Harpsichord Works Vol 1 / Sophie Yates
Release Date: 10/19/1999   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 644   Number of Discs: 1
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Opera In English - Handel: Julius Caesar / Mackerras, Et Al
Release Date: 05/18/1999   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 3019   Number of Discs: 3
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Work: Messiah, HWV 56

Browse 1-25 of 127 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    L'Oiseau-Lyre - The Baroque Era
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002072902 Release Date: 06/17/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Thomas Augustine Arne,  William Boyce,  John Blow,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Catherine Bott,  Libby Crabtree,  Michael George,  Emma Kirkby  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  Philip Pickett,  Joshua Rifkin,  Christophe Rousset  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Westminster Abbey School Choristers Choir,  New London Consort Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $179.98
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  • 2.
    The Argo Years / Neville Marriner, Academy Of St Martin In The Fields [28-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002081902 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 28
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Arcangelo Corelli,  Giuseppe Torelli,  Pietro Antonio Locatelli  ... 
    Performer:  Gwynne Howell,  Philip Langridge,  Anna Reynolds,  Elly Ameling  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
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    CD: $149.99
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  • 3.
    The Great Recordings / Malcolm Sargent [18-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634121 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Sir William Walton,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Lewis,  John [baritone (50s)] Cameron,  James Milligan,  Duncan Robertson  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Huddersfield Choral Society,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $64.49
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  • 4.
    Handel: Messiah / Harper, Watts, Davis [Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002009546 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Heather Harper,  Helen Watts,  John Shirley-Quirk,  John Wakefield
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Handel/Mozart: Messiah / Max, Frimmer, Pregardien, Georg, Schreckenberger
    Label: Warner Brothers   Catalog: 6055523 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Monika Frimmer,  Mechthild Georg,  Christoph Prégardien,  Stephan Schreckenberger
    Conductor:  Hermann Max
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rheinische Kantorei,  Das Kleine Konzert
    CD: $17.99
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  • 6.
    Handel - Citizen of Baroque Europe
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908417 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Egarr
    Performer:  Hélène Guilmette,  Andreas Scholl,  Andreas Wolf,  Richard Egarr  ... 
    Conductor:  Marcus Creed,  Richard Egarr,  René Jacobs,  Nicholas McGegan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy for Ancient Music Berlin,  Berlin Vocal Consort,  Academy of Ancient Music  ... 
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  • 7.
    The Only Classical Christmas Collection You Will Ever Need [eone]
    Label: Light Records   Catalog: 5803 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    CD: $6.99
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  • 8.
    Handel/Mozart: Messiah (In German) / Rilling, Stuttgart Bach Collegium
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98022 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Alastair Miles,  Roberto Saccà,  Cornelia Kallisch,  Donna Brown
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium
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  • 9.
    Sacred Music - Bach, Handel, Beethoven / Klemperer
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 935402 Release Date: 08/20/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Franz Crass,  Agnes Giebel,  Nicolai Gedda,  Dame Janet Baker  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  BBC Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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    CD: $33.99
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  • 10.
    Handel: Messiah / Christie, Les Arts Florissants
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 501498 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Sandrine Piau,  Mark Padmore,  Andreas Scholl,  Barbara Schlick  ... 
    Conductor:  William Christie
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
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  • 11.
    Handel: Messiah / Haller, La Chapelle Rhenane
    Label: K 617   Catalog: 617243 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Matthieu Lécroart,  Manfred Bittner,  Ekkehard Abele,  Henning Kaiser  ... 
    Conductor:  Benoit Haller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Chapelle Rhénane
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  • 12.
    Handel: Messiah / Cleobury, Dawson, Summers, Ainsley, Miles
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2081 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  John Mark Ainsley,  Lynne Dawson,  Hilary Summers,  Alastair Miles
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Brandenburg Consort
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  • 13.
    Handel: Messiah / Taurins, Gauvin, Blaze, Muller, Polegato
    Label: Tafelmusik Media   Catalog: 1016 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Brett Polegato,  Robin Blaze,  Rufus Müller,  Karina Gauvin
    Conductor:  Ivars Taurins
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik Chamber Choir,  Tafelmusik Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Handel: Sacred Music [6-CD Set]
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5312 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Bernarda Fink,  Lynne Dawson,  Chris de Moor,  Stephen Varcoe  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean-Claude Malgoire,  Rinaldo Alessandrini,  Marc Minkowski,  Alan Curtis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy,  Namur Chamber Choir,  Concerto Italiano  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 15.
    All-Baroque Box (From Monteverdi To Bach) [50-CD Limited Edition]
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 001719702 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Harvey,  Stephen Varcoe,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Michael Chance  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Paul McCreesh,  Marc Minkowski,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Gabrieli Consort  ... 
    CD: $179.99
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  • 16.
    Handel: Messiah / Katschner, Rostorf-Zamir, Wesseling, Rensburg, Nolte, Dresdner Kammerchor, Lautten Compagney
    Label: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 5443522 Release Date: 08/07/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Sharon Rostorf-Zamir,  Maria Riccarda Wesseling,  Kobie van Rensburg,  Raimund Nolte
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Katschner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney,  Dresdner Kammerchor
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  • 17.
    Handel: Messiah / Leitner, Briem, Bence, Wunderlich, Rohr
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9072 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Fritz Wunderlich,  Margarethe Bence,  Tilla Briem,  Otto von Rohr
    Conductor:  Heinz Mende,  Ferdinand Leitner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  South German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Stuttgart Philharmonic Chorus,  Cappella Coloniensis
    CD: $9.99
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  • 18.
    Magnificat - 500 Years Of Choral Masterworks [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001664502 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Gregorio Allegri,  Antonio Lotti,  Orlando de Lassus,  Josquin Des Préz  ... 
    Performer:  Patrick Russill,  Marinella Pennicchi,  Michael Chance,  Mark Tucker  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers,  Paul McCreesh,  Stephen Cleobury,  Edward Wickham  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen,  Gabrieli Consort,  Gabrieli Players  ... 
    CD: $179.99
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  • 19.
    Handel: Messiah, Johannes Passion, La Resurrezione / Vitale, Nemeth, Cleobury
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94317 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Alastair Miles,  Lynne Dawson,  Hilary Summers,  John Mark Ainsley  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Pál Németh,  Marco Vitale
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brandenburg Consort,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Capella Savaria  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 20.
    Handel: Messiah / Davis, Battle, Quivar, Aler, Ramey
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85189 Release Date: 01/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  John Aler,  Kathleen Battle,  Florence Quivar,  Samuel Ramey
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Symphony Orchestra,  Toronto Mendelssohn Choir,  Elmer Iseler Singers
    CD: $23.99
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  • 21.
    Handel: Messiah / Ohrwall, Kenny, Esswood, Hill, Linden
    Label: Lim   Catalog: 29 Release Date: 01/17/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Martyn Hill,  Paul Esswood,  Yvonne Kenny,  Magnus Lindén
    Conductor:  Anders Öhrwall
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Stockholm Bach Choir
    On sale! $65.98
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  • 22.
    Handel: Messiah / Marriner, Popp,  Fassbaender,  Gambill,   Holl
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 0882892 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Lucia Popp,  Robert Holl,  Robert Gambill,  Fassbaender
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $30.99
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  • 23.
    Handel: Messiah / Jacobs, Davies, Avemo,  Bardon, Zazzo
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2921928 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Kobie van Rensburg,  Neal Davies,  Patricia Bardon,  Lawrence Zazzo  ... 
    Conductor:  René Jacobs
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Clare College Choir,  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Handel: Messiah / Mccreesh, Gabrieli Consort & Players
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 4779574 Release Date: 10/18/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Bernarda Fink,  Dorothea Röschmann,  Charles Daniels,  Susan Gritton  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Consort,  Gabrieli Players
    On sale! $27.99
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  • 25.
    A Handel Portrait
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94214 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Robin Miller,  Maria Grafova,  Stefanie True,  Kristine Gether  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Haydon Clark,  Sir Alexander Gibson,  Hartmut Haenchen,  John Lubbock  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consort of London,  Scottish Chamber Orchestra,  Janácek Philharmony  ... 
    CD: $78.99
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