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: Alcina / Curtis, DiDonato, Rensburg, Beaumont
Release Date: 04/14/2009   Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)  
Catalog: 4777374   Number of Discs: 3
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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 - 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: Israel In Egypt / The Sixteen
Release Date: 01/01/2003   Label: Coro  
Catalog: 16011   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351

Browse 76-94 of 94 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Music From The Film
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62011 Release Date: 12/10/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bratislava Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra,  Slovak Philharmonic Chorus Bratislava
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  • 77.
    Splendor And The Brass - Festive Music Of The Baroque
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 189 Release Date: 11/19/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  George Frideric Handel,  Jan Dismas Zelenka,  Samuel Scheidt  ... 
    Performer:  James Thompson,  Michael Sachs,  Nick Norton,  Anthony Plog  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Rolston
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlantic Brass Quintet,  Summit Brass,  St. Louis Brass Quintet  ... 
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  • 78.
    The Best Of Handel / Marriner, Schröder, Gardiner, Et Al
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 454029 Release Date: 04/09/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Jean-Claude Hermanjat,  André Pépin,  Ursula Holliger,  Dame Janet Baker  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Raymond Leppard,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Lorin Maazel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  I Musici,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 79.
    For Weddings / Kevin Bowyer
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7712 Release Date: 04/02/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Sir William Walton,  John Stanley,  Charles-Marie Widor  ... 
    Performer:  Kevin Bowyer
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  • 80.
    Handel: Water Music, Music For The Royal Fireworks /Marriner
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98939 Release Date: 11/01/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 81.
    Handel: Water Music, Royal Fireworks / Steinberg, Mackerras
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 69025 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Hans-Martin Linde,  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Linde Consort,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 82.
    Handel: Royal Fireworks, Etc / Pinnock, English Concert
    Label: Dg Archiv Masters   Catalog: 447279 Release Date: 08/15/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Christian Rutherford,  Anthony Halstead,  Trevor Pinnock
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
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  • 83.
    Oxford Book Of Wedding Music / Jeremy D. Filsell
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 7107 Release Date: 05/23/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Sir William Walton,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Andrew Carter  ... 
    Performer:  Jeremy Filsell
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  • 84.
    Handel - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64066 Release Date: 08/09/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Edita Gruberova,  Wynton Marsalis,  Albert de Klerk,  Igor Kipnis
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Eugene Ormandy,  Raymond Leppard,  Sir Charles Groves  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 85.
    Handel Bars - Popular Works Of George Frideric Handel
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80344 Release Date: 07/26/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Jeffrey Curnow,  Eric Ruske,  Scott Hartman,  Sam Pilafian  ... 
    Conductor:  Martin Pearlman,  Robert Shaw,  Keith Clark,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Empire Brass,  Boston Baroque,  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 86.
    Handel: Royal Fireworks, Coronation Anthems / King's Consort
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 66350 Release Date: 11/16/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Robert King
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxford New College Choir,  King's Consort
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  • 87.
    Music For Ceremony & Celebration - Handel, Purcell, Et Al
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 234 Release Date: 06/15/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Oskar Lindberg,  Anonymous,  William Boyce  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Riedo,  Richard Giangiulio
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Brass and Percussion
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  • 88.
    Handel: Water Music, Royal Fireworks, Etc / Malgoire
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 48285 Release Date: 02/23/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Jean-Claude Malgoire
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy
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  • 89.
    Handel: Water Music, Royal Fireworks / Orpheus Co
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 435390 Release Date: 10/13/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 90.
    Handel: Fireworks Music, Water Music / Bohdan Warchal
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550109 Release Date: 06/30/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Bohdan Warchal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana
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  • 91.
    Handel: Royal Fireworks, Water Music / Marriner
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 414596 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 92.
    Handel: Water Music, Royal Fireworks / Boulez, New York Po
    Label: Cbs Great Performances   Catalog: 38480 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 93.
    Holst, Handel, Bach / Fennell, Cleveland Symphonic Winds
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80038 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Frederick Fennell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Symphonic Winds
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  • 94.
    George Frederick Handel: Wassermusik; Feuerwerkmusik
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4272052 Release Date: 01/30/1989   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  August Wenzinger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Archiv Production Wind Ensemble
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