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 / Davis, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 11/18/2016   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5176   Number of Discs: 2
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Handel's Water Music - Recreating A Royal Spectacular
Release Date: 02/24/2009   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 0930   Number of Discs: 1
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The Old Colony Collection / Christophers, Handel & Haydn Society Chorus
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Coro  
Catalog: 16145   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Alcina / Jaroussky, Petibon, Marcon, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Release Date: 07/01/2016   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 556117   Number of Discs: 2
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Handel: Messiah / Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists
Release Date: 01/14/2003   Label: Philips  
Catalog: 434297   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351

Browse 1-25 of 77 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Purple Classics Presents: The Baroque Collection
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578320 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki,  Daniel Rothert,  Ladislav Kyselak,  Maria Kliegel  ... 
    Conductor:  Béla Bánfalvi,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Jaroslav Dvorák,  Helmut Muller-Brühl  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Strings,  Capella Istropolitana,  Cologne Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 2.
    Handel, Geminiani, Purcell, Vivaldi & Others / Lamon, Tafelmusik
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 796334 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Francesco Geminiani,  Henry Purcell,  Alessandro Stradella  ... 
    Performer:  Stanley King,  Julie Brye,  Michael McCraw,  Teresa Wasiak  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
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  • 3.
    Archiv Produktion: Analogue Stereo Recordings (1959-1981)
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 002490502 Release Date: 05/20/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Pierre Vachon,  Nicolas-Marie Dalayrac,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Stader,  Hedwig Bilgram,  Hertha Töpper,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  August Wenzinger,  Karl Ristenpart,  Robert Stehli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir,  Loewenguth String Quartet  ... 
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  • 4.
    The History of Classical Music in 24 Hours
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002403602 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Pérotin,  Guillaume de Machaut,  John Dunstable  ... 
    Performer:  Konrad Ragossnig,  Charles [Tenor Vocals] Daniels,  Susan Gritton,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Conductor:  Pater Godehard Joppich,  David Munrow,  Josef Ulsamer,  Bruno Turner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Early Music Consort of London,  Ulsamer-Collegium,  Pro Cantione Antiqua  ... 
    CD: $72.49
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  • 5.
    Handel Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95050 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 65
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Anonymous
    Performer:  Micaela Comberti,  Lucy Carolan,  Alison Bury,  Susan Sheppard  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch,  Max Pommer,  Nicol Matt,  Sir David Willcocks  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne,  L'Ecole d'Orphée,  Harmonices Mundi  ... 
    CD: $138.99
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  • 6.
    Grand Musical Entertainment: Handel For Organ & Orchestra
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 1821 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Hansjörg Albrecht
    Performer:  Hansjörg Albrecht,  Martin Schmeding
    Conductor:  Hansjörg Albrecht
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  • 7.
    Handel: The Musick For The Royal Fireworks
    Label: Arcana   Catalog: 386 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Alfredo Bernardini
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  • 8.
    Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra - The Complete Sony Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875030622 Release Date: 06/16/2015   Number of Discs: 47
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wilhelm Friedemann Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Heinrich Ignaz Biber  ... 
    Performer:  Jeanne Lamon,  Stephen Marvin,  Christina Mahler,  Ivars Taurins  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon,  Bruno Weil,  Frieder Bernius
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik,  Stuttgart Chamber Choir,  Tölz Boys Choir  ... 
    CD: $72.49
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  • 9.
    Festive Music for 4 Trumpets, Timpani and Organ
    Label: Querstand   Catalog: 1433 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles-Marie Widor,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Holger Gehring
    CD: $17.99
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  • 10.
    Handel's Recorder
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 25124 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Ruth Wilkinson,  Miriam Morris,  John O’donnell
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  • 11.
    Pierre Boulez: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301333 Release Date: 11/24/2014   Number of Discs: 67
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Alexander Scriabin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Alban Berg  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Dönch,  Isabel Strauss,  Walter Berry,  Fritz Uhl  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Anton Webern
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Camerata Singers,  Schola Cantorum New York  ... 
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  • 12.
    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:  Michael Laird,  David Reichenberg,  Simon Standage,  Alastair Mitchell  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    Leopold Stokowski - The Stereo Collection 1954-1975
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 1916852 Release Date: 08/21/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Gustav Mahler,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Anna Moffo,  Martina Arroyo  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra,  Norman Luboff Choir  ... 
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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    Best Of Handel
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300337 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Christiane Oelze,  Peter Schreier,  Johannes-Ernst Köhler,  Monika Frimmer  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch,  Marcus Creed,  Lothar Seyfarth,  Christian Kluttig  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schweriner Blechbläser-Collegium
    CD: $14.99
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  • 17.
    Handel: Music For The Royal Fireworks / Jeanne Lamon Tafelmusik
    Label: Tafelmusik Media   Catalog: 1011 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Stanley King,  Julie Brye,  Michael McCraw,  Teresa Wasiak  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
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  • 18.
    Glorious Majesty – Music for English Kings and Queens
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 27285 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Henry Purcell,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Performer:  Alastair Ross,  Benjamin Bayl,  Oliver Brookes,  Christopher Hogwood  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  David Munrow,  Roger Norrington,  Philip Ledger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Early Music Consort of London
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  • 19.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    Essential Handel
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27915 Release Date: 08/24/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Ian [Tenor Vocals] Bostridge,  Lionel Rogg,  Maurice André,  John Dickinson  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Harry Bicket,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Georges Armand  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 22.
    Handel: Water Music / Dieter Kober, Chicago Chamber Orch
    Label: Vox Allegretto   Catalog: 8042 Release Date: 06/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Dieter Kober,  Leopold Ludwig
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Chamber Orchestra,  Hamburg State Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Brass Splendour / Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 411955 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  William Byrd,  Jeremiah Clarke  ... 
    Conductor:  Philip Jones
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
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  • 24.
    Handel Highlights
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 149482 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Georg Philipp Telemann
    Performer:  Friedemann Erben,  Mária Vermes,  Gerhard Bosse,  Werner Buschnakowski  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch,  Horst-Tanu Margraf,  Lothar Seyfarth,  Wolf-Dieter Hauschild  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Solistenvereinigung,  Academy for Ancient Music Berlin
    CD: $17.99
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  • 25.
    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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