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 / Handel & Haydn Society
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Coro  
Catalog: 16125   Number of Discs: 2
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Handel - Heroes From The Shadows / Stutzmann, Orfeo 55
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Erato  
Catalog: 623177   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Jephtha / Gilchrist, Bickley, Blaze, Christopers, The Sixteen
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Coro  
Catalog: 16121   Number of Discs: 3
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Handel: Tamerlano / Gauvin, Cencic, Minasi, Il Pomo D’oro
Release Date: 04/29/2014   Label: Naive  
Catalog: 5373   Number of Discs: 3
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Handel: Israel In Egypt / The Sixteen
Release Date: 01/01/2003   Label: Coro  
Catalog: 16011   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Water Music Suite no 3 in G major, HWV 350

Browse 26-50 of 68 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    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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  • 28.
    Simply Handel
    Label: Union Square   Catalog: 1206075 Release Date: 07/31/2007   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Christophe Rousset,  Ryo Terakado,  Kaori Uemura,  Hidemi Suzuki  ... 
    Conductor:  Jaroslav Krcek,  Jeremy Summerly,  Andrew Manze,  Thomas Füri
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  • 29.
    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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  • 30.
    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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  • 31.
    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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  • 32.
    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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  • 33.
    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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  • 34.
    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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  • 35.
    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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  • 36.
    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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  • 37.
    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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  • 38.
    Handel: Water Music, Fireworks Music, Etc / Marriner, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 458333 Release Date: 10/08/2002   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  George Malcolm,  Roger Lord,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Trevor Connah  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Christopher Hogwood,  Granville Jones
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of Ancient Music,  Philomusica of London
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  • 39.
    Handel: Messiah (Highlights), Etc / Eastman Chorale, Et Al
    Label: Vox Classics   Catalog: 90101 Release Date: 10/02/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra,  Eastman Chorale
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  • 40.
    Handel: Concerti Grossi, Water Music / Orpheus CO
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471758 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 41.
    Westminster - Handel: Water Music;  Torelli, Vivaldi
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471276 Release Date: 05/14/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Giuseppe Torelli
    Performer:  Arthur Haneuse,  Roger Delmotte
    Conductor:  Hermann Scherchen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Il Barocco Concertante / Schafer, Eisenberg
    Label: Christophorus   Catalog: 77240 Release Date: 10/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  George Frideric Handel,  Petronio Franceschini,  Johann Wilhelm Hertel  ... 
    Performer:  Joachim Schäfer,  Matthias Eisenberg,  Uwe Komischke
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  • 43.
    Handel: Water Music / Gibson, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Chandos Collect   Catalog: 6642 Release Date: 08/28/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Robert Aldwinckle
    Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 44.
    Philips 50 - Handel: Water Music, Etc / Gardiner, Et Al
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 464706 Release Date: 07/10/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists
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  • 45.
    The Monet Collection - Music For Reading
    Label: Lifestyles   Catalog: 315019 Release Date: 06/05/2001   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Max Bruch,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Timur Gorkovenko,  Rafael Khismatulin,  Igor Uryash,  Sergei Slovachevsky
    Conductor:  Stanislav Gorkovenko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Radio/TV Orchestra of St. Petersburg
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  • 46.
    Eloquence - Handel: Water Music, Etc / Munchinger, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467406 Release Date: 05/08/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Karl Münchinger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Handel: Music For The Royal Fireworks, Etc / Pinnock, Et Al
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469145 Release Date: 10/17/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Ursula Holliger
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
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  • 48.
    Handel: Watermusic;  Telemann / Dombrecht, Il Fondamento
    Label: Passacaille   Catalog: 9513 Release Date: 05/15/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann,  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Paul Dombrecht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Fondamento
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  • 49.
    Handel: Water Music, Etc / Linde, Linde Consort, Et Al
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas   Catalog: 61656 Release Date: 04/11/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Hans-Martin Linde
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Coloniensis,  Linde Consort
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  • 50.
    Handel: Orchestral Works / Trevor Pinnock, English Concert
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 463094 Release Date: 11/09/1999   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
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