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
Suites by Purcell & Handel; Sonatas by Haydn / Pinnock
Release Date: 02/23/2010   Label: Wigmore Hall Live  
Catalog: 33   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Agrippina / Malgoire, Gens, Jaroussky, Deletre
Release Date: 04/27/2004   Label: Dynamic  
Catalog: 431/1-3   Number of Discs: 3
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Handel: Agrippina / Malgoire, Gens, Jaroussky
Release Date: 07/27/2004   Label: Dynamic  
Catalog: 33431   Number of Discs: 2
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Organo Di Grondona - Ferrini, Handel, Corelli, Etc / Letizia Romiti
Release Date: 02/10/2009   Label: Tactus  
Catalog: 600008   Number of Discs: 1
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Barockstar - George Frideric Handel
Release Date: 11/17/2009   Label: Arthaus Musik  
Catalog: 101375   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Messiah, HWV 56

Browse 76-90 of 90 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    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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  • 77.
    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
    CD: $26.99
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  • 78.
    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
    CD: $25.49
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  • 79.
    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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  • 80.
    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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  • 81.
    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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  • 82.
    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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  • 83.
    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
    CD: $34.99
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  • 84.
    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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  • 85.
    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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  • 86.
    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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  • 87.
    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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  • 88.
    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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  • 89.
    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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  • 90.
    Handel: Messah / Davis, Price, Schwarz, Burrows, Estes
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 412538 Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Stuart Burrows,  Hanna Schwarz,  Simon Estes
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
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