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: Zadok the Priest

Browse 1-25 of 112 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1227072 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Ludovico Einaudi,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Nicola Benedetti,  Craig Ogden,  Ji Liu,  Stacey Watton  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Andrew Litton,  Neeme Järvi,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
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  • 2.
    100 Hits: Classical Greats
    Label: 100 Hits   Catalog: 1017490 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Myra Hess,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Geraint Jones,  Karl Münchinger,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Myra Hess  ... 
    Conductor:  Geraint Jones,  Karl Münchinger,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Leopold Stokowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici,  Members of the Vienna Octet (Members)
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  • 3.
    Choir of King's College Cambridge - 5 Classic Albums
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 940823 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel,  Gregorio Allegri  ... 
    Performer:  Jan Lochmann,  Richard Eteson,  Margaret Cameron,  James Gilchrist  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Academy of Ancient Music
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  • 4.
    Handel: Water Music - Masterpieces
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564651683 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Lowell Mason,  Anonymous
    Performer:  Richard [Tenor Vocal] Morton,  Felicity Palmer,  John Angelo Messana,  Felicity Lott  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Jean-François Paillard,  Raymond Leppard,  Hugh Wolff  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Les Musiciens du Louvre
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  • 5.
    Handel: Romantic Organ Transcriptions / Massimo Gabba
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94709 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Felix Alexandre Guilmant
    Performer:  Massimo Gabba
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  • 6.
    Handel: Coronation Anthems
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2012071 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Rien Voskuilen
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks
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  • 7.
    Essential Choral
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 234422 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Heather Harper,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Robert Tear,  Peter Barley  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Sir David Willcocks,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
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  • 8.
    Classics For A Summer Evening From Leeds Castle / Carl Davis
    Label: Conifer   Catalog: 51302 Release Date: 11/29/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jeremiah Clarke,  George Frideric Handel,  Léo Delibes,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Janice Watson,  Ruby Philogene
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  King's Division Normandy Band,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir
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  • 9.
    The Baroque Collection
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 73420 Release Date: 10/22/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Giovanni Palestrina  ... 
    Performer:  Xavier Darasse,  Maurice André,  Guy Touvron,  Pierre Pierlot  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Auriacombe,  Jörg Faerber,  Jacques Roussel,  Raymond Leppard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Chamber Orchestra,  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra,  Antiqua Musica  ... 
    On sale! $55.98
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  • 10.
    Essential British Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40306 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Henry Purcell,  Jeremiah Clarke,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Emmanuelle Haďm,  Susan Graham,  Maurice André,  Jane Parker-Smith  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Alexander Briger,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Emmanuelle Haďm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert D'Astrée,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
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  • 11.
    Essential Film Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 5134 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  James Horner,  John Williams  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  Cécile Ousset,  Manuel Barrueco,  Steve Morse  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt,  Mariss Jansons,  David Abel,  Geoff Love  ... 
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  • 12.
    Handel: Dixit Dominus, Ode For The Birthday Of Queen Anne  / Apollo’s Fire
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2270 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Jeannette Sorrell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
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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: $179.99
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  • 14.
    Royal Handel
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5307 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Sandrine Piau
    Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
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  • 15.
    Sacred Treasures
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2646 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Claudio Monteverdi,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  David Thomas,  Emma Kirkby,  Rogers Covey-Crump,  Gérard Lesne  ... 
    Conductor:  William Christie,  Andrew Parrott,  Philip Ledger,  Paul McCreesh  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants,  Taverner Players,  Taverner Consort  ... 
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  • 16.
    100 Best British Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27315 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Thomas Tallis,  John Goss,  Charles Villiers Stanford  ... 
    Performer:  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Hugh Bean,  Gerald Moore,  Dame Janet Baker  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir Philip Ledger,  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 17.
    50 Best British Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27359 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Thomas Tallis,  John Goss,  Charles Villiers Stanford  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Williamson,  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks,  Peter Stevens  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Philip Ledger,  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Wallace Collection (Brass Ensemble)
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  • 18.
    Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee - Royal Music From Westminster Abbey
    Label: Griffin   Catalog: 4077 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  George Frideric Handel,  Traditional,  Anonymous  ... 
    Conductor:  Martin Neary
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  London Brass,  Westminster Abbey Choir
    Recommendation
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  • 19.
    Glorious Majesty – Music For English Kings And Queens
    Label: Emi 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,  Christopher Hogwood,  Oliver Brookes  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  David Munrow,  Roger Norrington,  Philip Ledger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Early Music Consort of London
    Recommendation
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  • 20.
    Magnificat - 500 Years Of Choral Masterworks [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001664502 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Gregorio Allegri,  Antonio Lotti,  Orlando de Lassus,  Josquin Des Préz  ... 
    Performer:  Patrick Russill,  Marinella Pennicchi,  Michael Chance,  Mark Tucker  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers,  Paul McCreesh,  Stephen Cleobury,  Edward Wickham  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen,  Gabrieli Consort,  Gabrieli Players  ... 
    CD: $179.99
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    Pride Of The Nation / Coldstream Guards Band
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001558502 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  William Henry Monk,  Phil Coulter,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Jeff Lawson,  Jon Cohen,  Phil da Costa
    Conductor:  Graham Jones
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Regimental Band of the Coldstream Guards
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  • 23.
    Best Handel 50
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 70822 Release Date: 05/03/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Jane Gilchrist,  Philippe Jaroussky,  Joyce DiDonato,  Max Emanuel Cencic  ... 
    Conductor:  Kirk Trevor,  Emmanuelle Haďm,  Alan Curtis,  Diego Fasolis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Complesso Barocco,  I Barocchisti,  Seminario Musicale
    CD: $11.99
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  • 24.
    The Power & The Glory: Choral Masterpieces
    Label: Warner Classics & Jazz   Catalog: 4682508 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Clive Bayley,  Paul Agnew,  Sophie Marin-Degor,  Joseph Cornwell  ... 
    Conductor:  William Christie,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants,  Concentus Musicus Wien
    CD: $9.99
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  • 25.
    Best Film 50
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31673 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  James Horner  ... 
    Performer:  Ernest Blanc,  Nicolai Gedda,  Gérard Caussé,  Augustin Dumay  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt,  Mariss Jansons,  Richard Hickox,  David Abel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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