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 76-100 of 126 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Collectors Edition - Handel: Oratorios / Hogwood, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000529602 Release Date: 10/11/2005   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Emma Kirkby,  Judith Nelson,  Paul Elliott,  David Thomas  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Christ Church Cathedral Choir,  Oxford New College Choir  ... 
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  • 77.
    Handel: Der Messias / Koch, Berlin Radio, Werner, Et Al
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 2124 Release Date: 10/01/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Heidi Riess,  Dietrich Knothe,  Theo Adam,  Peter Schreier  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Chorus,  Berlin Radio Solistenvereinigung,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 78.
    Handel: Messiah / Hogwood
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 2269 Release Date: 09/27/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Paul Elliott,  David Thomas,  Emma Kirkby,  Judith Nelson  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
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  • 79.
    Handel: Messiah / Willcocks, Bowman / Tear, Luxon, King's College Choir
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 893123 Release Date: 03/01/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  James Bowman,  Benjamin Luxon,  Robert Tear
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 80.
    Handel: Messiah [dvd Audio]
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 45007 Release Date: 10/26/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Lynne Dawson,  Charles Daniels,  Antonio Abete,  Guillemette Laurens
    Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti,  Svizzera Radio Chorus
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  • 81.
    Handel: Messiah / Brown / Kallisch / Sacca / Rilling
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 101175 Release Date: 10/19/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Roberto Saccà,  Donna Brown,  Alastair Miles
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart
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  • 82.
    Classic Library - Handel: Messiah / Shaw Chorale
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 62317 Release Date: 10/12/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Thomas Paul,  Florence Kopleff,  Richard Lewis,  Judith Raskin  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robert Shaw Chorale,  Robert Shaw Orchestra
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  • 83.
    Handel/Mozart: Messiah (In German) / Rilling, Stuttgart Bach Collegium
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98434 Release Date: 08/01/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Alastair Miles,  Donna Brown,  Roberto Saccà,  Cornelia Kallisch
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium
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  • 84.
    Handel: Messiah / Boughton, Smart, Towers, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5709 Release Date: 07/06/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  William Towers,  Michael Hart-Davis,  Gavin Carr,  Alison Smart
    Conductor:  William Boughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Michael's Singers,  English Symphony Orchestra
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  • 85.
    Handel: Messiah / Menuhin, Roberts, Janutas, Schollum, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 4608192 Release Date: 11/10/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Susan Roberts,  Lilia Bizimeche-Eisinger,  Algridas Janutas,  Benno Schollum
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra
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  • 86.
    Handel: Messiah / Fasolis, Dawson, Laurens, Et Al
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47627 Release Date: 10/28/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Antonio Abete,  Charles Daniels,  Guillemette Laurens,  Lynne Dawson
    Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swiss Radio Chorus,  I Barocchisti
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  • 87.
    Handel: Messiah; For Ever & Ever - A Documentary
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000123209 Release Date: 10/14/2003  
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Sylvia McNair,  Jerry Hadley,  Anne Sofie von Otter
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 88.
    Handel: Messiah / Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 434297 Release Date: 01/14/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Saul Quirke,  Charles Brett,  Richard Hale,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  English Baroque Soloists
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  • 89.
    Westminster - Handel: Messiah / Scherchen, Alarie, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471232 Release Date: 05/14/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Richard Standen,  Léopold Simoneau,  Nan Merriman,  Pierrette Alarie
    Conductor:  Hermann Scherchen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Academy Chamber Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
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  • 90.
    Handel: Messiah / Parrott, Kirkby, Bowman, Et Al
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas   Catalog: 62004 Release Date: 05/07/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Margaret Cable,  James Bowman,  Joseph Cornwell,  Emily van Evera  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Parrott
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Choir,  Taverner Players
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  • 91.
    Handel: The Messiah / Alldis, London Philharmonic, Et Al
    Label: Sparrow Records   Catalog: 51560 Release Date: 03/12/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Philip Langridge,  Ulrik Cold,  Alfreda Hodgson,  Felicity Lott
    Conductor:  John Alldis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Choir
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  • 92.
    Handel: Messiah / Minkowski, Les Musiciens Du Louvre
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 471341 Release Date: 10/01/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Charlotte Hellekant,  Lynne Dawson,  Russel Smythe,  Magdalena Kozená  ... 
    Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre,  Choeur des Musiciens du Louvre
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  • 93.
    Handel: Messiah / Radu, Baird, Lane, Price, Deas, Ama Deus
    Label: Vox Classics   Catalog: 7502 Release Date: 06/28/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  David Price,  Jennifer Lane,  Julianne Baird,  Kevin Deas
    Conductor:  Valentin Radu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ama Deus Ensemble
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  • 94.
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 7112/13 Release Date: 01/01/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Linda Finnie,  Helen Kucharek,  Rodney Macann,  Neil Mackie  ... 
    Conductor:  Timothy Dean
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pro Christe Choir,  Pro Christe Orchestra
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  • 95.
    Handel: Messiah / Mackerras, Harwood, Baker, Esswood, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 69449 Release Date: 10/03/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Elizabeth Harwood,  Paul Esswood,  Raimund Herincx,  Robert Tear  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers
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  • 96.
    Handel: Messiah / Rilling, Oregon Bach Festival
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98198 Release Date: 02/29/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Thomas Quasthoff,  Sibylla Rubens,  James Taylor,  Ingeborg Danz
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Chorus,  Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra
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  • 97.
    Handel: Messiah / Burdick, The Trinity Choir And Orchestra
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8554511-12 Release Date: 11/30/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Owen Burdick
    Conductor:  Owen Burdick
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Trinity Church Orchestra,  New York Trinity Church Choir
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  • 98.
    Handel: Messiah / Bojesen, Dam-jensen, Dolberg, Camerata
    Label: Danica   Catalog: 8200 Release Date: 11/23/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Inger Dam-Jensen,  Kirsten Dolberg,  Peter Grönlund,  Per Hoyer
    Conductor:  Michael Bojesen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Orchestra,  Camerata Chamber Choir
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  • 99.
    Handel: The Messiah / Sjökvist, Högman, Hammarström, Et Al
    Label: Nosag Records   Catalog: 2027 Release Date: 10/26/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Petteri Salomaa,  Stefan Dahlberg,  Lynton Atkinson,  Christina Högman  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustaf Sjökvist
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Storkyrkans Chorus,  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 100.
    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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