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: Saul / Scholl, Padmore, McCreesh
Release Date: 04/13/2004   Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)  
Catalog: 000209802   Number of Discs: 3
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Handel: Orlando / Mehta, Jacobs, B’Rock
Release Date: 05/13/2014   Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)  
Catalog: 002037202   Number of Discs: 2
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Handel: Water Music, Sinfonias / Concerto Cologne
Release Date: 11/11/2008   Label: Berlin Classics  
Catalog: 16172   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Organ Concertos Played On Different Instruments / Ragna Schirmer
Release Date: 01/14/2014   Label: Berlin Classics  
Catalog: 300554   Number of Discs: 3
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Handel: The Triumph Of Time & Truth
Release Date: 07/08/2014   Label: Delphian  
Catalog: 34135   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351

Browse 51-75 of 105 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    A Baroque Festival
    Label: Classical Heritage   Catalog: 5869 Release Date: 09/21/2004   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Philip Brunelle,  Christiane Jaccottet,  Carlo Curley,  Wolfgang Rübsam  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Philharmonic Orchestra,  St. Louis Brass Quintet,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 52.
    Festive Overtures
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98454 Release Date: 08/01/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Gioachino Rossini,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Klaus-Peter Hahn,  Alfred Scholz,  Arturo Leonard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Moscow Radio & TV Symphony Orchestra,  Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 53.
    Handel Greatest Hits
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000277902 Release Date: 07/13/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Kenneth Heath,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Trevor Connah,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Bernard Haitink,  Trevor Pinnock,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 54.
    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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  • 55.
    Classical Blast
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17328 Release Date: 01/27/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Leos Janácek,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonín Dvorák,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 56.
    Handel: Water Music, Royal Fireworks Music / Paillard Co
    Label: Rca 24/96 Sound Dimension   Catalog: 55304 Release Date: 01/13/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Jean-François Paillard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paillard Chamber Orchestra
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  • 57.
    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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  • 58.
    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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  • 59.
    Handel: Music For The Royal Fireworks;  Gluck, Kodaly /Kempe
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1277 Release Date: 02/11/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Zoltán Kodály,  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 60.
    Handel: Music For The Royal Fireworks, Etc / Mackerras
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1253 Release Date: 01/14/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Pro Arte Orchestra,  Wind Ensemble
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  • 61.
    The Baroque Experience / Hogwood, Academy Of Ancient Music
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 33523 Release Date: 10/29/2002   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Giuseppe Torelli,  Arcangelo Corelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
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  • 62.
    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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  • 63.
    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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  • 64.
    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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  • 65.
    Gabrieli, Et Al / Güttler, Ludwig Güttler Brass Ensemble
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1715 Release Date: 05/21/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Friedhelm Rentzsch,  Anton Bruckner,  Petr Eben  ... 
    Conductor:  Ludwig Güttler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ludwig Güttler Brass Ensemble
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  • 66.
    A Bride's Guide To Wedding Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8503134 Release Date: 02/19/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Sir William Walton,  Théodore Dubois,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
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  • 67.
    101 Great Orchestral Classics
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550001 Release Date: 01/25/2002   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Erik Satie,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
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  • 68.
    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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  • 69.
    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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  • 70.
    Handel: Music For The Royal Fireworks, Etc / Dombrecht, Il Fondamento
    Label: Passacaille   Catalog: 922 Release Date: 11/21/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Paul Dombrecht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Fondamento
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  • 71.
    Baroque Esprit - Handel: Music For The Royal Fireworks, Etc
    Label: Dhm Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 77414 Release Date: 07/11/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Aureum
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  • 72.
    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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  • 73.
    Classical Lightning
    Label: Platinum Disc   Catalog: 1037 Release Date: 01/01/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Richard Wagner,  Ferde Grofé,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 74.
    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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  • 75.
    Handel: Water Music, Music For Royal Fireworks / Lehmann, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 457758 Release Date: 10/01/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Fritz Lehmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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