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: 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: Duetti Da Camera / Invernizzi, De Liso, La Risonanza
Release Date: 04/29/2014   Label: Glossa  
Catalog: 921516   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Trio Sonatas Op 2 / Brook Street Band
Release Date: 10/08/2013   Label: Avie  
Catalog: 2282   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Theodora / Upshaw, Daniels, Olsen, Croft
Release Date: 06/29/2004   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2099   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: L'allegro, Il Penseroso Ed Il Moderato /   Neumann, Doyle, Keohane, Hulett
Release Date: 07/30/2013   Label: Carus  
Catalog: 83395   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Zadok the Priest

Browse 26-50 of 112 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Handel: Coronation Anthems / Marriner, Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802016 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Catherine Denley,  Joan Rodgers,  Alastair Ross,  Robert Dean  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus
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  • 27.
    Essential Handel
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27915 Release Date: 08/24/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Ian Bostridge,  Lionel Rogg,  Maurice André,  Pamela Coburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Harry Bicket,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Georges Armand  ... 
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  • 28.
    A Handel Celebration / Christophers, The Sixteen
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16083 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Carolyn Sampson,  Alastair Ross
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
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  • 29.
    50 Best Baroque
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57503 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Jeremiah Clarke,  John Dowland,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Crispian Steele-Perkins,  Gérard Lesne,  Susan Graham,  Christopher Robson  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Richard Hickox,  Andrew Parrott,  Emmanuelle Haďm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork,  Taverner Players,  Orlando Gibbons Viol Ensemble  ... 
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  • 30.
    50 Best Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57517 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gregorio Allegri,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Wayne Marshall,  David Bell,  Victoria de los Angeles,  Henriette Puig-Roget  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Franz Welser-Möst,  André Cluytens  ... 
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  • 31.
    Bach Trumpet Gala, Vol. 4
    Label: Ars Musici   Catalog: 232391 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Zsolt Gárdonyi,  George Frideric Handel,  Harald Genzmer,  Edgar Krapp  ... 
    Performer:  Friedrich Held,  Thomas Wagner,  Edgar Krapp,  Arnold Mehl  ... 
    Conductor:  Arnold Mehl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach-Trompetenensemble Munchen
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  • 32.
    The Handel Collection / The Sixteen [12-CD Set]
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16080 Release Date: 04/13/2010   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Jonathan Best,  Matthew Vine,  Michael George,  Catherine Wyn-Rogers  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen,  The Symphony of Harmony and Invention
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  • 33.
    Sing Alleluia / Soper,  Rochester Cathedral Choir
    Label: Regent   Catalog: 329 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Hubert Parry,  Henry Purcell,  Barry Ferguson,  Robert Ashfield  ... 
    Performer:  Roger Sayer
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  • 34.
    Essential Baroque
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 95429 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Pachelbel,  George Frideric Handel,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Gerald Finley,  William Bennett,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Stephen Cleobury,  Yehudi Menuhin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Lysy,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Early Music Consort of London  ... 
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  • 35.
    Artist Profile - Jeremy Summerly
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8506024 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Charles Villiers Stanford,  Gabriel Fauré,  George Frideric Handel,  Heinrich Schütz  ... 
    Performer:  Carys-Anne Lane,  Nicholas Gedge,  Colm Carey,  Peter Crawford  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeremy Summerly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxford Camerata,  Royal Academy of Music Baroque Orchestra,  Tallis Chamber Choir  ... 
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  • 36.
    Got Rot Tunbridge Wells [soundtrack] / Sir Charles Mackerras, Emma Kirkby, Et Al
    Label: Voiceprint   Catalog: 1508 Release Date: 09/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  James Bowman,  Elizabeth Harwood,  Judith Howarth,  Lynn Anderson  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Sounds Sublime - The Essential Collection / Christophers, The Sixteen
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16073 Release Date: 09/08/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Tomás Luis de Victoria,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Domenico Scarlatti  ... 
    Performer:  Libby Crabtree,  Christopher Glynn,  Gary Cooper,  Lynda Russell  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 38.
    Handel Commemoration Concert / Arman, English Concert
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2057458 Release Date: 08/25/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Albrecht Sack,  Ulrike Fulde,  Felix Plock
    Conductor:  Howard Arman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Halle Handel Festival Orchestra,  English Concert,  Halle Handel Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 39.
    England, My England / Choir Of King's Choir Cambridge
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 28944 Release Date: 08/11/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Thomas Weelkes,  David Goodenough,  Frederick Delius,  Orlando Gibbons  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Philip Ledger,  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Sinfonia of London,  Academy of Ancient Music  ... 
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  • 40.
    Handel: Great Choruses / Hill, Sampson, Blaze, English Concert
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1736 Release Date: 04/28/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Carolyn Sampson,  Robin Blaze
    Conductor:  David Hill
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
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  • 41.
    Handel Gold - Bartoli, Fleming, Kozena, Terfel, Villazon, Te Kanawa, Sutherland, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001280102 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Crispian Steele-Perkins,  Cecilia Bartoli,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Barry Rose,  Marc Minkowski,  Marcello Viotti,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Les Musiciens du Louvre,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan  ... 
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  • 42.
    Handel: The Top 40 Greatest Hits
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4763335 Release Date: 04/03/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Shu-Cheen Yu,  Lucinda Moon,  Ben Dollman,  Jamie Hey  ... 
    Conductor:  Anthony Walker,  Paul Dyer,  Nicholas Milton,  Graham Abbott  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sirius String Quartet
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  • 43.
    Gemini - Handel: Water And Fireworks Music, Coronation Anthems / Willcocks, Mackerras
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 64338 Release Date: 03/24/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Teresa Zylis-Gara,  Robert Tear,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Dame Janet Baker
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Philip Ledger,  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Prague Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 44.
    Handel: Semele, Israel In Egypt, Zadok The Priest, La Resurrezione / Gardiner, Koopman, Amsterdam Baroque
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 469611 Release Date: 02/17/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Klaus Mertens,  Guy de Mey,  Nancy Argenta,  Guillemette Laurens  ... 
    Conductor:  Ton Koopman,  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Monteverdi Choir,  Monteverdi Orchestra  ... 
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  • 45.
    Handel: Coronation Anthems / Christophers, The Sixteen
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16066 Release Date: 02/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
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  • 46.
    Handel: Ode For St. Cecilia's Day, Coronation Anthems / Fasolis, Gooding, Cera
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47739 Release Date: 01/13/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Jeremy Ovenden,  Julia Gooding,  Duilio Galfetti,  Francesco Cera
    Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swiss Radio Chorus,  I Barocchisti
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  • 47.
    Handel: Israel In Egypt; Zadok The Priest; The King Shall Rejoice
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4781374 Release Date: 01/05/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Ruth Holton,  Jonathan Peter Kenny,  Elisabeth Priday,  Andrew Tusa  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists
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  • 48.
    The Legend Of Sacred Music - From Allegri's Miserere To Barber's Agnus Dei
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 22144 Release Date: 11/24/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Samuel Barber,  George Frideric Handel,  Gregorio Allegri  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Hendricks,  Hans-Peter Blochwitz,  Barbara Bonney,  Jan-Hendrik Rootering  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Corboz,  David Hill,  Sir Philip Ledger,  Andrew Parrott  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gulbenkian Foundation Symphony Orchestra Lisbon,  Gulbenkian Foundation Chorus Lisbon,  Winchester Cathedral Choir  ... 
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  • 49.
    Prom At The Palace - Concert With Te Kanawa, Alagna, Gheorghiu
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 0856 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Malcolm Arnold,  Thomas Augustine Arne,  Sir Edward Elgar,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Roberto Alagna,  Angela Gheorghiu,  Thomas Allen,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis,  Ken Burton,  Richard Waterer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Her Majesty's Royal Marines Band,  BBC Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 50.
    Last Night Of The Proms / Procter, White, Clarey, Simpson, Rattle, Boult, Davis, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics For Pleasure   Catalog: 28379 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Gustav Holst,  Charles Hubert Parry,  Thomas Augustine Arne  ... 
    Performer:  Marietta Simpson,  Willard White,  Cynthia Clarey
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Richard Cooke,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Choral Society,  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus  ... 
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