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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: Messiah / Higginbottom, AAM, Oxford New College Choir
Release Date: 10/31/2006   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570131   Number of Discs: 2
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Handel: Messiah / Haim, Crowe, Mead, Purves, Staples
Release Date: 10/28/2014   Label: Erato  
Catalog: 624055   Number of Discs: 2
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Handel: Agrippina / Daniels, Ostman
Release Date: 10/18/2005   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 2054538   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Messiah / Boult, Sutherland, Bumbry, Mckellar, Ward
Release Date: 10/22/2007   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 433003   Number of Discs: 3
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Sir Thomas Beecham Conducts Handel's Messiah
Release Date: 07/14/1992   Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal  
Catalog: 61266   Number of Discs: 3
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Work: Hallelujah!

Browse 1-25 of 264 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    111 Classics for Christmas
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002179902 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Leroy Anderson,  Leopold Mozart,  Johnny Marks,  John Frederic Coots  ... 
    Performer:  Helen Donath,  Anna Reynolds,  Christa Ludwig,  Maria Teresa Garatti  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler,  Karl Richter,  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
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  • 2.
    Orff: Carmina Burana / Rattle, Berlin Philharmonic [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2053674 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Sally Matthews,  Lawrence Brownlee,  Christian Gerhaher
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus
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  • 3.
    Handel: Halleluja (Famous Choruses From Messiah) / Hofstetter, Neumeyer Consort
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 884 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Neumeyer Consort,  Mainz Ensemble Barock Vokal
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  • 4.
    Vladimir Horowitz Live at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 548417 Release Date: 09/30/2013   Number of Discs: 42
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Muzio Clementi  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Isaac Stern,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Leonard Bernstein,  Lyndon Woodside,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Oratorio Society of New York
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  • 5.
    O Come All Ye Faithful [classic]
    Label: Mvd Audio   Catalog: 5971 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Jean Baptiste Calkin,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Leslie Pierson,  John Paice,  Richard Lewis
    Conductor:  Peter Knight,  John McCarthy,  John Pritchard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The London Bell Ringers
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  • 6.
    Handel: Water Music - Masterpieces
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564651683 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Lowell Mason,  Anonymous
    Performer:  Richard [Tenor Vocal] Morton,  Felicity Palmer,  John Angelo Messana,  Felicity Lott  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Jean-François Paillard,  Raymond Leppard,  Hugh Wolff  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Les Musiciens du Louvre
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  • 7.
    Handel: Romantic Organ Transcriptions / Massimo Gabba
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94709 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Felix Alexandre Guilmant
    Performer:  Massimo Gabba
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  • 8.
    Carl Conducts... Classical Festival Favourites
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 20 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Jean Sibelius,  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
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  • 9.
    Essential Choral
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 234422 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Heather Harper,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Robert Tear,  Peter Barley  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Sir David Willcocks,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
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  • 10.
    Label: Avalon Records   Catalog: 60286 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  Charles Gounod,  Lewis H. Redner,  James R. Murray  ... 
    Performer:  Sara Macliver,  Jonathan Prentice,  Margaret Burdett,  Lynton Atkinson  ... 
    Conductor:  Alfred Walter,  Richard Hayman,  Igor Golovschin,  Jaroslav Krcek  ... 
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  • 11.
    Label: Platinum Legends   Catalog: 60760 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Traditional,  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Xaver Gruber  ... 
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  • 12.
    Anniversary Series - Choral Collection
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 304 Release Date: 11/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Francis Poulenc,  Eric Whitacre,  Robert Chilcott  ... 
    Performer:  Elin Manahan Thomas
    Conductor:  Nigel Short,  Robert Chilcott,  Joseph Cullen,  James Vivian  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voces8,  Tenebrae,  King's Singers  ... 
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  • 13.
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 1074717 Release Date: 11/20/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  George Frideric Handel,  Traditional,  Adolphe Adam  ... 
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Markus Leoson,  Ulf Forsberg,  Anne Sofie von Otter  ... 
    Conductor:  Ion Marin,  Trevor Pinnock,  Kurt Herbert Adler,  Uwe Christian Harrer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Regia Musicalis,  Los Romeros
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  • 14.
    Home For The Holidays
    Label: Universal Music Enterprises   Catalog: 001740802 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Irving Berlin,  Roger Miller,  Howard Blake,  Frank Steijns  ... 
    Performer:  Anna Reker,  Freya Cremers,  Marcel Falize,  Jennifer Kowalski  ... 
    Conductor:  André Rieu
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  • 15.
    Home For The Holidays / Andre Rieu
    Label: Hip-o Records   Catalog: 001740609 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Irving Berlin,  Roger Miller,  Howard Blake,  Frank Steijns  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Falize,  Marcel Falize,  Ward Vlasveld,  Boris Goldenblank  ... 
    Conductor:  André Rieu
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  • 16.
    The Baroque Collection
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 73420 Release Date: 10/22/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Giovanni Palestrina  ... 
    Performer:  Xavier Darasse,  Maurice André,  Guy Touvron,  Pierre Pierlot  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Auriacombe,  Jörg Faerber,  Jacques Roussel,  Raymond Leppard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Chamber Orchestra,  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra,  Antiqua Musica  ... 
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  • 17.
    Highlights From Handel's Messiah
    Label: Word   Catalog: 888638 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Bill Riley,  Stephanie Hall,  Ellen Dockery,  Gary Robinson  ... 
    Conductor:  Don Wyrtzen
    CD: $11.99
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  • 18.
    Christmas With Los Romeros
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001747402 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  James R. Murray,  Franz Schubert,  Massimo Paris  ... 
    Performer:  Lito Romero,  Pepe Romero,  Celin Romero,  Angel Romero
    Conductor:  Massimo Paris
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Romeros,  Concerto Málaga
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  • 19.
    Essential British Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40306 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Henry Purcell,  Jeremiah Clarke,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Susan Graham,  Emmanuelle Haïm,  Maurice André,  Jane Parker-Smith  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Alexander Briger,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Emmanuelle Haïm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert D'Astrée,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
    CD: $12.99
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  • 20.
    Essential Film Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 5134 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  James Horner,  John T. Williams  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  Cécile Ousset,  Manuel Barrueco,  Steve Morse  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt,  Mariss Jansons,  David Abel,  Geoff Love  ... 
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  • 21.
    Baroque Treasures
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2579 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Pachelbel,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  David Daniels,  Chiara Bianchini,  Janet See,  Andrew Lawrence-King  ... 
    Conductor:  Emmanuelle Haïm,  Roger Norrington,  Andrew Parrott,  Richard Hickox  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players,  Taverner Consort,  Concerto Cologne  ... 
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  • 22.
    Royal Handel
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5307 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Sandrine Piau
    Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
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  • 23.
    Sacred Treasures
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2646 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Claudio Monteverdi,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  David Thomas,  Emma Kirkby,  Rogers Covey-Crump,  Gérard Lesne  ... 
    Conductor:  William Christie,  Andrew Parrott,  Philip Ledger,  Paul McCreesh  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants,  Taverner Players,  Taverner Consort  ... 
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  • 24.
    The Best Classical Hits Ever!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 04103 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Sergei Prokofiev,  George Frideric Handel,  Gregorio Allegri  ... 
    Performer:  Gerald Finley,  Matthias Eisenberg,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Stephen Layton  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Riccardo Muti,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Classical Players
    CD: $8.99
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  • 25.
    In Paradisum - Spiritual Classical Music
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94412 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  César Franck,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi  ... 
    Performer:  Timothy Brown,  Angharad Gruffydd Jones,  Lawrence Zazzo,  Pamela Heuvelmans  ... 
    Conductor:  Pieter-Jan Leusink,  Christopher Robinson,  Timothy Brown,  Nicol Matt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holland Boys Choir,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Cambridge Bach Ensemble  ... 
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