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 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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Handel: Water Music / Gibson, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Release Date: 08/28/2001   Label: Chandos Collect  
Catalog: 6642   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Messiah, HWV 56

Browse 101-125 of 127 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Handel: Messiah /Westenburg, Musica Sacra
    Label: Rca Red Seal Hp   Catalog: 63317 Release Date: 08/10/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  John Cheek,  Richard Westenburg,  Martin Berinbaum,  Frederick Zlotkin  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Westenburg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Sacra
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  • 102.
    Bernstein Century - Handel: Messiah /Addison, Oberlin, Et Al
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 60205 Release Date: 03/31/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  William Warfield,  Adele Addison,  David Lloyd,  Russell Oberlin
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Westminster Choir
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  • 103.
    Handel: Messiah / Richter, Donath, Reynolds, Burrows, Et Al
    Label: Dg Double   Catalog: 453028 Release Date: 09/16/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Gordon Webb,  Donald McIntyre,  Hedwig Bilgram,  Anna Reynolds  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 104.
    Handel: Messiah / Harry Christophers, The Sixteen
    Label: Hyperion Dyad   Catalog: 22019 Release Date: 09/09/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  David James,  Catherine Denley,  Michael George,  Lynne Dawson  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen Orchestra,  The Sixteen
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  • 105.
    Händel: Messiah / Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 891/2 Release Date: 08/12/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  John Elwes,  David Thomas,  Midori Suzuki,  Yoshikazu Mera
    Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
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  • 106.
    Handel: Messiah / Scimone, Schuman, Terrani, Ford, Howell
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47105 Release Date: 09/17/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Gwynne Howell,  Bruce Ford,  Lucia Valentini-Terrani,  Patricia Schuman
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Singers,  I Solisti Veneti
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  • 107.
    Handel: Messiah / Marriner, Ameling, Reynolds, Langridge
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 444824 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    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
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  • 108.
    Handel: Messiah / Peter Marschik, Wiener Sangerknaben
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 60068 Release Date: 01/01/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Charles Humphries,  Max Emanuel Cencic,  Ivan Sharpe,  Robert Torday
    Conductor:  Peter Marschik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of London,  Vienna Boys' Choir
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  • 109.
    Handel: Messiah / Sargent, Royal Po & Chorus
    Label: Chesky Records   Catalog: 106 Release Date: 06/23/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  John Shirley-Quirk,  Elizabeth Harwood,  Alexander Young,  Norma Procter
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Choral Society
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  • 110.
    Handel: The Messiah / The Scholars Baroque Ensemble
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550667-68 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  David Gould,  Angus Davidson,  Helen Parker,  James Oxley  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scholars Baroque Ensemble
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  • 111.
    Haendel/Mozart: Le Messie / Malgoire, La Grande Ecurie
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 8509 Release Date: 12/28/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Bernarda Fink,  Stephen Varcoe,  Lynne Dawson,  Hans Peter Graf  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean-Claude Malgoire
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Namur Chamber Choir,  La Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy
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  • 112.
    Handel: Messiah / Davis, Harper, Et Al
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 438356 Release Date: 11/09/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Leslie Pearson,  Ralph Downes,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Helen Watts  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
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  • 113.
    Händel: Messiah / Harnoncourt, Gale, Lipovsek, Hollweg
    Label: Teldec Das Alte Werk   Catalog: 678910 Release Date: 03/09/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Marjana Lipovsek,  Werner Hollweg,  Roderick Kennedy,  Elisabeth Gale
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Chamber Choir,  Vienna Concentus Musicus
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  • 114.
    Handel: Messiah / Marriner, Mcnair, Von Otter, Chance, Et Al
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 434695 Release Date: 11/17/1992   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Robert Lloyd,  Jerry Hadley,  Michael Chance,  Anne Sofie von Otter  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 115.
    Handel: Messiah / Bonynge, Sutherland, Tourangeau, Krenn
    Label: London/Decca Serenata Series   Catalog: 433740 Release Date: 10/13/1992   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Dermot Coleman,  Tom Krause,  Werner Krenn,  Huguette Tourangeau  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Singers,  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 116.
    Handel: Messiah / Pearlman, Boston Baroque
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80322 Release Date: 09/21/1992   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Karen Clift,  Catherine Robbin,  Bruce Fowler,  Victor Ledbetter
    Conductor:  Martin Pearlman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Baroque
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  • 117.
    Handel: Messiah / Hickox, Terfel, Langridge, Rodgers, Et Al
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 522 Release Date: 07/29/1992   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Della Jones,  Joan Rodgers,  Philip Langridge,  Bryn Terfel  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Musicum 90
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  • 118.
    Sir Thomas Beecham Conducts Handel's Messiah
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61266 Release Date: 07/14/1992   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Jon Vickers,  Giorgio Tozzi,  Jennifer Vyvyan,  Monica Sinclair
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 119.
    Handel: Messiah / Hogwood, Academy Of Ancient Music
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 430488 Release Date: 10/10/1991   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Emma Kirkby,  Paul Elliott,  Carolyn Watkinson,  David Thomas  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Christ Church Cathedral Choir
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  • 120.
    Handel: Messiah (Mozart Orchestration) / Mackerras
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 427173 Release Date: 09/13/1991   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Theo Adam,  Peter Schreier,  Birgit Finnilä,  Edith Mathis
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Austrian Radio Chorus
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  • 121.
    Handel: Messiah / Ormandy, Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 607 Release Date: 07/16/1991   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell,  Martha Lipton,  Davis Cunningham,  William Warfield
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Mormon Tabernacle Choir
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  • 122.
    Handel: Messiah / Battle, Quivar, Aler, Ramey, Davis
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 49027 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Florence Quivar,  John Aler,  Kathleen Battle,  Samuel Ramey
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Symphony Orchestra,  Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
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  • 123.
    Handel: Messiah / Pinnock, Auger, Von Otter, Chance, Crook
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 423630 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Arleen Augér,  Anne Sofie von Otter,  John Tomlinson,  Michael Chance  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert Choir,  English Concert
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  • 124.
    Handel: Messiah / Shaw, Stilwell, Mcnair, Erickson
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80093 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Sylvia McNair,  Kaaren Erickson,  Layton James,  Richard Stilwell  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus,  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
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  • 125.
    Handel: Messiah / Solti, Te Kanawa, Gjevang, Lewis, Howell
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 414396 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Gwynne Howell,  Keith Lewis,  Anne Gjevang
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus
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