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: Jephtha / Oelze, Ainsley, Creed
Release Date: 05/28/2013   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94668    Number of Discs: 3
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Handel: Rinaldo / Jacobs, Genaux, Persson, Kalna
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 921796   Number of Discs: 3
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Handel: Arias / Alice Coote, Harry Bicket, English Concert
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 67979   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Trio Sonatas Op 2 / Monica Huggett, Sonnerie
Release Date: 04/06/2004   Label: Avie  
Catalog: 33   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Jephtha / Gilchrist, Bickley, Blaze, Christopers, The Sixteen
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Coro  
Catalog: 16121   Number of Discs: 3
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Work: Messiah, HWV 56

Browse 26-50 of 126 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Handel: Messiah, Acis And Galatea / Sutherland, Bumbry, Pears, Boult
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4804924 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Kenneth McKellar,  David Ward  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus,  Philomusica of London  ... 
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  • 27.
    Handel: Messiah / Watts, Le Brocq, Wyn-Rogers, Oldfield, Glover
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 246 Release Date: 05/24/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  James Oldfield,  Catherine Wyn-Rogers,  Mark Le Brocq,  Elizabeth Watts
    Conductor:  Jane Glover
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huddersfield Choral Society,  Northern Sinfonia
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  • 28.
    Handel: Messiah / Cleobury, Dawson, Summers [2 Cds + Dvd]
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94127 Release Date: 04/19/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Alastair Miles,  Lynne Dawson,  Hilary Summers,  John Mark Ainsley
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brandenburg Consort,  Cambridge King's College Choir
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  • 29.
    Handel: Messiah / Davis, Battle, Quivar, Aler, Ramey
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 18718 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Samuel Ramey,  Florence Quivar,  Kathleen Battle,  John Aler
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Symphony Orchestra,  Toronto Mendelssohn Choir,  Elmer Iseler Singers
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  • 30.
    Handel: Messiah / Bynum, Cathedral Choir Of Men & Boys
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5637688845 Release Date: 11/26/2010  
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Robert Breault,  Kirsten Sollek,  Jennifer Aylmer,  Nathaniel Webster
    Conductor:  Woodrow Bynum
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cathedral Choir Of Men And Boys
    CD: $23.99
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  • 31.
    Handel: Messiah / Sutherland, Bumbry, Mckellar, Ward, Boult
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802032 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  David Ward,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Grace Bumbry,  Kenneth McKellar
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
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  • 32.
    Handel: Messiah / Sorrell, Apollo's Fire
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2208 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Amanda Forsythe,  Elizabeth Shammash,  Ian Honeyman,  Ross Hauck  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeannette Sorrell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
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  • 33.
    The Complete Christmas Celebration
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001493002 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Hans-Peter Blochwitz,  Olaf Bär,  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Christopher Hogwood,  Valery Gergiev,  Georg Ratzinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Academy of Ancient Music  ... 
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  • 34.
    Handel: Messiah / Gritton, Horak, Spinosi
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 703008 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Richard Croft,  Bejun Mehta,  Susan Gritton,  Cornelia Horak  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean-Christophe Spinosi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arnold Schoenberg Choir,  Ensemble Matheus
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 35.
    Handel: Messiah / Gritton, Horak, Spinosi [Blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 703104 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Bejun Mehta,  Florian Boesch,  Susan Gritton,  Martin Pöllmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Ensemble Matheus,  Jean-Christophe Spinosi,  Arnold Schoenberg Choir
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 36.
    Georg Friedrich Handel: Die Grossen Chore
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300065 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Hartmut Friedrich,  Frank Peter Zimmermann,  Helmut Oertel,  Roland Münch  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch,  Heinz Rögner,  Dietrich Knothe,  Wolf-Dieter Hauschild
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  • 37.
    Passion - Sacred Masterpieces
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94032 Release Date: 05/04/2010   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Various,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Conductor:  Timothy Brown
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Clare College Choir
    CD: $48.99
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  • 38.
    Nikolaus Harnoncourt -  Sacred   Masterworks
    Label: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 7606532 Release Date: 12/08/2009   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Werner Güra,  Christian Gerhaher,  Gerald Finley,  Bernarda Fink  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus,  Arnold Schoenberg Choir
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  • 39.
    Handel: Messiah / Cleobury, King's College Choir
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 68156 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Ailish Tynan,  Matthew Rose,  Allan Clayton,  Alice Coote  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Academy of Ancient Music
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  • 40.
    Handel: Messiah / Layton, Polyphony
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67800 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Julia Doyle,  Andrew Foster-Williams,  Allan Clayton,  Iestyn Davies
    Conductor:  Stephen Layton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony,  Britten Sinfonia
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  • 41.
    Handel: Messiah / Mccarthy, Washington National Cathedral
    Label: Loft Recordings   Catalog: 801 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Susan Lewis Kavinski
    Conductor:  Michael McCarthy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Washington National Cathedral Choir
    CD: $24.99
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  • 42.
    Musica Sacra - Handel: Messiah / Cleobury
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 93948 Release Date: 10/13/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Alastair Miles,  Lynne Dawson,  Hilary Summers,  John Mark Ainsley
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brandenburg Consort,  Cambridge King's College Choir
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  • 43.
    Handel: Messiah / Bernius, Sampson, Taylor, Harvey
    Label: Carus   Catalog: 83219 Release Date: 09/08/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Carolyn Sampson,  Daniel Taylor,  Ben Hulett,  Peter Harvey
    Conductor:  Frieder Bernius
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Choir,  Stuttgart Baroque Orchestra
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  • 44.
    Handel: Messiah / Cleobury, King's College Choir
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 68156 Release Date: 06/02/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Allan Clayton,  Alice Coote,  Ailish Tynan,  Matthew Rose
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Academy of Ancient Music
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  • 45.
    Esprit - Sacre
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5169 Release Date: 05/26/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  John Dowland,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi  ... 
    Performer:  Gérard Lesne,  Sandrine Piau,  Sara Mingardo
    Conductor:  Christoph Spering,  Rinaldo Alessandrini,  Emmanuel Krivine,  Jean-Claude Malgoire  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus,  Concerto Italiano,  La Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy  ... 
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  • 46.
    Handel: Der Messias / Koch, Berlin Radio, Werner, Et Al
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 184712 Release Date: 05/12/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Regina Werner,  Heidi Riess,  Peter Schreier,  Theo Adam  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Solistenvereinigung,  Berlin Radio Chorus
    CD: $22.49
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  • 47.
    Handel - The Masterworks [30 CDs]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001275302 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 30
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Paul Harvey,  Alison Hagley,  Susan Gritton,  Andreas Scholl  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul McCreesh,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players,  Gabrieli Consort,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir  ... 
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  • 48.
    Handel: Messiah (Mozart Arrangement) / Corboz, Lausanne Vocal Ensemble & Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4692961 Release Date: 04/06/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Jard Van Nes,  Hans-Peter Blochwitz,  Marcos Fink,  Hans Egidi  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Corboz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lausanne Vocal Ensemble,  Lausanne Chamber Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Handel: Messiah / Harnoncourt, Lipovsek, Gale, Kennedy, Hollweg, Vienna Concentus Musicus
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4692824 Release Date: 04/06/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Roderick Kennedy,  Elisabeth Gale,  Marjana Lipovsek,  Werner Hollweg
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus,  Stockholm Chamber Choir
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  • 50.
    Handel: Messiah / Koopman, Kweksilber, Bowman, Reinhart / The Sixteen, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4692826 Release Date: 04/06/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Marianne Kweksilber,  James Bowman,  Gregory Reinhart,  Paul Elliott
    Conductor:  Ton Koopman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen,  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
    On sale! $19.99
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