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: Orlando / Gauvin, Willetts,  Weimann, Pacific Baroque Orchestra
Release Date: 09/24/2013   Label: Atma Classique  
Catalog: 22678   Number of Discs: 3
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Handel: Arminio / Curtis, Genaux, McGreevy, Labelle
Release Date: 01/29/2016   Label: Erato  
Catalog: 554001   Number of Discs: 2
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Handel: Water Music / Labadie, Les Violons Du Roy
Release Date: 03/25/2008   Label: Atma Classique  
Catalog: 2569   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel & Croft: Music For The Peace Of Utrecht
Release Date: 08/10/2010   Label: Channel Classics  
Catalog: 29610   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Ouvertures / Thiffault, Montreal Baroque Orchestra
Release Date: 01/11/2000   Label: Atma Classique  
Catalog: 2157   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Water Music Suite no 3 in G major, HWV 350

Browse 1-25 of 45 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Handel: Water Music / Academy for Ancient Music Berlin
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 902216 Release Date: 02/05/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy for Ancient Music Berlin
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  • 2.
    Handel: Water Music, A Song For Saint Cecilia's Day / Minkowski, Les Musicians Du Louvre Grenoble
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 40038 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
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  • 3.
    Handel: Water Music, Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No 11 / Hannover Hofkapelle
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 9051828 Release Date: 01/21/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Anne Rohrig
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hannover Hofkapelle
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  • 4.
    Handel - Citizen of Baroque Europe
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908417 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Egarr
    Performer:  Hélène Guilmette,  Andreas Scholl,  Andreas Wolf,  Richard Egarr  ... 
    Conductor:  Marcus Creed,  Richard Egarr,  René Jacobs,  Nicholas McGegan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy for Ancient Music Berlin,  Berlin Vocal Consort,  Academy of Ancient Music  ... 
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  • 5.
    Handel: Water Music / Huss, Haydn Sinfonietta Wien
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2027 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Manfred Huss
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Haydn Sinfonietta Vienna
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  • 6.
    Handel: Water Music; Concerto Grosso Op. 6/4
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2012127 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Zdzislaw Szostak
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  • 7.
    All-Baroque Box (From Monteverdi To Bach) [50-CD Limited Edition]
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 001719702 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Harvey,  Stephen Varcoe,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Michael Chance  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Paul McCreesh,  Marc Minkowski,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Gabrieli Consort  ... 
    CD: $133.99
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  • 8.
    Handel: Water Music; Fireworks Music
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001707902 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists
    CD: $6.99
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  • 9.
    Great Baroque Masterpieces
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501061 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Georg Philipp Telemann  ... 
    Performer:  Nadja Schubert,  Daniel Rothert,  Corinne Chapelle,  Karl Kaiser  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Müller-Brühl,  Kevin Mallon,  Bradley Creswick,  Jozef Kopelman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Chamber Orchestra,  Aradia Ensemble,  Northern Sinfonia  ... 
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  • 10.
    Premium Composers, Vol. 1: Handel / Marriner, Brown, Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 94601 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 11.
    Baroque - Bach, Blow, Charpentier, Corelli, Handel, Monteverdi
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908510 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Jacques Philidor,  Claudio Monteverdi  ... 
    Performer:  Marie-Ange Petit,  Agnès Mellon,  Guillemette Laurens,  Gregory Reinhart  ... 
    Conductor:  William Christie,  Nicholas McGegan,  Philippe Herreweghe,  Chiara Banchini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy for Ancient Music Berlin,  Les Arts Florissants,  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    Handel: Water Music  / Minkowski, Les Musiciens Du Louvre
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5234 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
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  • 13.
    Handel: Water Music Suites 1-3; Bach: Orchestral Suite No 2 / Van Beinum, Concertgebouw
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420857 Release Date: 05/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Hubert Barwahser
    Conductor:  Eduard Van Beinum
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Handel: Fireworks, Water Music / Robert King, King's Consort
    Label: Helios   Catalog: 55375 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Robert King
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Consort
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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    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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  • 20.
    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
    CD: $6.99
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    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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