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 51-75 of 126 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Handel: Messiah / Leppard, Palmer / English Chamber Orchestra & Chorus
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4692835 Release Date: 04/06/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Felicity Palmer,  Helen Watts,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Ryland Davies
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra Choir
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  • 52.
    Handel Edition: Messiah; Samson; Arias From Rinaldo
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 469568 Release Date: 02/17/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Helen Watts,  Felicity Palmer,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Ryland Davies  ... 
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard,  Claudio Scimone
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra Choir,  London Voices  ... 
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  • 53.
    Gemini - Handel: Messiah / Davis, Battle, Quivar, Aler, Ramey, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 17645 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  John Aler,  Florence Quivar,  Kathleen Battle,  Samuel Ramey
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Symphony Orchestra,  Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
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  • 54.
    Handel: Oratorios - Messiah, Saul / René Jacobs
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908280 Release Date: 10/14/2008   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Gidon Saks,  Lawrence Zazzo,  Emma Bell,  Finnur Bjarnason  ... 
    Conductor:  René Jacobs
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus,  Concerto Cologne,  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra  ... 
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  • 55.
    Handel: Messiah / McNair, Otter, Hadley, Lloyd, Marriner, ASMF
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 470044 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Sylvia McNair,  John Constable,  Ian Watson,  Anne Sofie von Otter  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 56.
    Handel: Messiah / Christophers, Sampson, Padmore, The Sixteen
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16062 Release Date: 09/09/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Catherine Wyn-Rogers,  Christopher Purves,  Mark Padmore,  Carolyn Sampson
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
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  • 57.
    Handel: Messiah
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 4800120 Release Date: 02/11/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
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  • 58.
    Handel: Messiah / Walker, Macliver, Sherman, Mcmahon, Et Al
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 1292141 Release Date: 01/29/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Paul McMahon,  Teddy Tahu Rhodes,  Christopher Field,  Alexandra Sherman  ... 
    Conductor:  Anthony Walker
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cantillation,  Orchestra of the Antipodes
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  • 59.
    Handel: Messiah / Boult, Sutherland, Bumbry, Mckellar, Ward
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 433003 Release Date: 10/22/2007   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  David Ward,  Kenneth McKellar,  Grace Bumbry,  Dame Joan Sutherland
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
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  • 60.
    Handel: Messiah / Davis, Gritton, Mingardo, Padmore, Et Al
    Label: Lso Live   Catalog: 607 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Mark Padmore,  Susan Gritton,  Alastair Miles,  Sara Mingardo
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tenebrae,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 61.
    Handel: Messiah / Pople, London Festival Orchestra, Et Al
    Label: Arte Nova   Catalog: 418490 Release Date: 09/04/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Harold Lester,  Ben Lees,  David Barrell,  Richard Edgar-Wilson  ... 
    Conductor:  Ross Pople
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Festival Orchestra,  Tallis Chamber Choir
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  • 62.
    Handel: Messiah / Rutter, Cambridge Singers, Royal Po
    Label: Martingale   Catalog: 1085 Release Date: 09/04/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Joanne Lunn,  Christopher Purves,  James Gilchrist,  Melanie Marshall
    Conductor:  John Rutter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Singers,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 63.
    Handel: Messiah (Complete)
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 464703 Release Date: 06/12/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  John Shirley-Quirk,  John Wakefield,  Helen Watts,  Heather Harper
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
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  • 64.
    Handel: Messiah (Complete)
    Label: Membran / Scandinavian Classics   Catalog: 220566 Release Date: 04/26/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
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  • 65.
    Handel/Mozart: Der Messias / Budday, Peterson, Et Al
    Label: K & K Verlagsanstalt   Catalog: 61 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Marek Rzepka,  Markus Schäfer
    Conductor:  Jürgen Budday
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Maulbronn Chamber Choir
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  • 66.
    Handel: Messiah / Budday, Chance, Et Al
    Label: K & K Verlagsanstalt   Catalog: 20 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Marc LeBrocq,  Michael Chance,  Christopher Purves,  Miriam Allan
    Conductor:  Jürgen Budday
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Maulbronn Chamber Choir
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  • 67.
    Handel: Messiah / Higginbottom, AAM, Oxford New College Choir
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570131 Release Date: 10/31/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Iestyn Davies,  Robert Brooks,  Otta Jones,  Henry Jenkinson  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Oxford New College Choir
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  • 68.
    Handel: Messiah / Walker, Cantillation
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4130 Release Date: 10/31/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Christopher Field,  Sara Macliver,  Paul McMahon,  Alexandra Sherman  ... 
    Conductor:  Anthony Walker
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Antipodes,  Cantillation
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  • 69.
    Handel: Messiah / Jacobs, Avemo, Bardon, Et Al
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 901928 Release Date: 10/10/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Kobie van Rensburg,  Neal Davies,  Lawrence Zazzo,  Patricia Bardon  ... 
    Conductor:  René Jacobs
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra,  Clare College Choir
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  • 70.
    Handel: Messiah / Somary, Price, Minton, Young, Diaz
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 1969 Release Date: 08/22/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Yvonne Minton,  Alexander Young,  Colin Tilney,  Margaret Price  ... 
    Conductor:  Johannes Somary
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  AmorArtis Chamber Choir,  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 71.
    Handel - Mozart: Messiah / Mackerras, Lott, Palmer, Langridge
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 74 Release Date: 04/25/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Felicity Palmer,  Philip Langridge,  Robert Holliday,  Murray Greig  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huddersfield Choral Society,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 72.
    Handel: Messiah (Complete)
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 4775904 Release Date: 01/02/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
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  • 73.
    Handel: Messiah / Dunedin Consort
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 285 Release Date: 01/01/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Annie Gill,  Matthew Brook,  Edward Caswell,  Susan Hamilton  ... 
    Conductor:  John Butt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dunedin Players,  Dunedin Consort
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  • 74.
    Handel: Messiah / Thomas, Zukerman, Taylor, Et Al
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3360 Release Date: 11/15/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Daniel Taylor,  Steven Tharp,  William Sharp,  Arianna Zukerman
    Conductor:  Jeffrey Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Bach Soloists
    CD: $24.99
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  • 75.
    Handel: Messiah / Harnoncourt, Schäfer, Larsson, Concentus Musicus Wien
    Label: Dhm Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 72039 Release Date: 11/01/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Anna Larsson,  Michael Schade,  Herbert Tachezi,  Gerald Finley  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus,  Arnold Schoenberg Choir
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