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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 / Hogwood
Release Date: 09/27/2005   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2269   Number of Discs: 1
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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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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: Water Music Suite no 1 in F major, HWV 348

Browse 26-50 of 82 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Handel Edition: Concerti Grossi; Water Music; Music For The Royal Fireworks
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4695517 Release Date: 02/17/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Christian Moreaux,  Aline Zylberajch,  Alice Piérot,  Serge Saitta  ... 
    Conductor:  Marc Minkowski,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Jean-François Paillard,  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre,  Concentus Musicus Wien,  English Baroque Soloists
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  • 27.
    Handel: Water Music & Music For The Royal Fireworks
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 4777562 Release Date: 12/15/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Simon Standage
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
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  • 28.
    Handel: Water Music, Sinfonias / Concerto Cologne
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 16172 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
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  • 29.
    Georg Friedrich Haendel: Water Music & Fireworks
    Label: Glossa   Catalog: 921616 Release Date: 09/30/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Mildred J. Hill
    Conductor:  Hervé Niquet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert Spirituel
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  • 30.
    Handel: Water Music / McGegan, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 507010 Release Date: 09/09/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Greatest Works - Handel / Koch, Creed, Knothe, Et Al
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 184292 Release Date: 08/12/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Hans-Joachim Rotzsch,  Gisela Fetting,  Werner Stolze,  Gundula Janowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch,  Marcus Creed,  Dietrich Knothe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Chorus,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Academy for Ancient Music Berlin  ... 
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  • 32.
    Basics 25-cd Boxset
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 186002 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Georges Bizet,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
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  • 33.
    Handel: Water Music, Music For The Royal Fireworks / Savall
    Label: Alia Vox   Catalog: 9860 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Jordi Savall
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert des Nations
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  • 34.
    Handel: Water Music / Labadie, Les Violons Du Roy
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 2569 Release Date: 03/25/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Bernard Labadie
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Violons du Roy
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  • 35.
    Handel: Water Music / Koopman, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 4697014 Release Date: 02/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Ton Koopman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Handel: Water Music, Concerti Grossi Op. 3, Israel In Egypt, Semele / Gardiner
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4698385 Release Date: 10/22/2007   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Robert Lloyd,  Della Jones,  Patrizia Kwella,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Monteverdi Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Handel: Water Music, Royal Fireworks / Roger Norrington
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 91334 Release Date: 07/17/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Celia Harper,  John Toll
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Classical Players
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  • 38.
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8571030 Release Date: 07/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Andrew Mogrelia
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Chamber Soloists
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  • 39.
    Ultimate Handel - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000895002 Release Date: 06/12/2007   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Elly Ameling,  Philip Langridge,  Daniel Chorzempa,  Anna Reynolds
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  David Hill,  Jaap Schröder,  Raymond Leppard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus,  Brandenburg Consort  ... 
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  • 40.
    Handel: Water Music, Fireworks Music / Koch, Berlin Rso
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 8546 Release Date: 04/03/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 41.
    Ultimate Baroque - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000766102 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Roman Hoffstetter,  Luigi Boccherini  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Raymond Leppard,  Karl Münchinger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 42.
    Handel: Water Music / Pople
    Label: Arte Nova   Catalog: 304980 Release Date: 09/12/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Ross Pople
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Festival Orchestra
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  • 43.
    Handel: Water Music, Royal Fireworks Music / Mallon, Aradia Ensemble
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557764 Release Date: 01/17/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Kevin Mallon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aradia Ensemble
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  • 44.
    Festive Trumpet / Rudi Scheck, Pierre Kremer, Et Al
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98450 Release Date: 08/01/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Stanley,  Giuseppe Romanino,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre Kremer,  Rudi Scheck,  Chistian-Markus Raiser
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Carlo Jans
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Latvian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra
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  • 45.
    Handel - Super Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 92387 Release Date: 05/04/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Anthony Newman,  William Neil,  Edward Carroll,  Steve Hendrickson  ... 
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard,  Jeanne Lamon,  Hartmut Haenchen,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Tafelmusik,  C.P.E. Bach Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 46.
    Handel: Oxford Water Music;  Et Al / Brook Street Band
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 28 Release Date: 04/06/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Jean-Marie Leclair,  Arcangelo Corelli,  Francesco Geminiani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brook Street Band
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  • 47.
    Expanded Edition - Handel: Water Music, Etc / Boulez, Nypo
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 93010 Release Date: 09/30/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  John Cerminaro,  Harold Gomberg
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra
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  • 48.
    Handel: Royal Fireworks Music, Water Music / Pearlman, Et Al
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80594 Release Date: 02/25/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Martin Pearlman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Baroque
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  • 49.
    Handel: Water Music, Royal Fireworks Music / Paillard, Et Al
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 48685 Release Date: 02/18/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Jean-François Paillard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paillard Chamber Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Classics - Handel: Water Music / Mackerras, St. Luke's
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80279 Release Date: 10/22/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of St. Luke's
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