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: The Triumph Of Time & Truth
Release Date: 07/08/2014   Label: Delphian  
Catalog: 34135   Number of Discs: 2
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Handel: Harpsichord Works Vol 2 / Sophie Yates
Release Date: 09/25/2001   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 669   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Harpsichord Works Vol 1 / Sophie Yates
Release Date: 10/19/1999   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 644   Number of Discs: 1
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Opera In English - Handel: Julius Caesar / Mackerras, Et Al
Release Date: 05/18/1999   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 3019   Number of Discs: 3
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Handel: Water Music / Gibson, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Release Date: 08/28/2001   Label: Chandos Collect  
Catalog: 6642   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Water Music Suite no 3 in G major, HWV 350

Browse 1-25 of 73 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    Handel: Complete Orchestral Recordings / Pinnock
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 001923802 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Christian Rutherford,  Anthony Halstead,  Simon Standage,  David Reichenberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
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  • 5.
    Handel: Water Music / Manfred 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  ... 
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  • 8.
    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
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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.
    A Handel Portrait
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94214 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Robin Miller,  Maria Grafova,  Stefanie True,  Kristine Gether  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Haydon Clark,  Sir Alexander Gibson,  Hartmut Haenchen,  John Lubbock  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consort of London,  Scottish Chamber Orchestra,  Janácek Philharmony  ... 
    CD: $78.99
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  • 13.
    Handel: Water Music / Robert Haydon Clark, Consort Of London
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 93779 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Robert Haydon Clark
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consort of London
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    Handel: Water Music, Etc / Menuhin, Mackerras, Et Al
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 68523 Release Date: 10/26/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Leslie Pearson
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Yehudi Menuhin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Chamber Orchestra,  Menuhin Festival Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Handel, Telemann: Water Music / Bernardini, Zefiro Ensemble
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 192 Release Date: 08/25/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann,  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Alfredo Bernardini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zefiro Ensemble
    CD: $12.99
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  • 18.
    Handel: Water Music / Mackerras, Prague Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Emi Laser Series   Catalog: 62509 Release Date: 07/20/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Chamber Orchestra
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  • 19.
    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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  • 20.
    Gemini - Handel: Water And Fireworks Music, Coronation Anthems / Willcocks, Mackerras
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 64338 Release Date: 03/24/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Teresa Zylis-Gara,  Robert Tear,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Dame Janet Baker
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Philip Ledger,  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Prague Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 21.
    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
    CD: $29.99
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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    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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