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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 / Higginbottom, AAM, Oxford New College Choir
Release Date: 10/31/2006   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570131   Number of Discs: 2
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Handel: Messiah / Hogwood
Release Date: 09/27/2005   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2269   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Messiah / Haim, Crowe, Mead, Purves, Staples
Release Date: 10/28/2014   Label: Erato  
Catalog: 624055   Number of Discs: 2
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Handel: Agrippina / Daniels, Ostman
Release Date: 10/18/2005   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 2054538   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Rinaldo / Jacobs, Genaux, Persson, Kalna
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 921796   Number of Discs: 3
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Work: Zadok the Priest

Browse 51-75 of 99 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    The Handel Experience / Scimone, Koopman, Leppard, Gardiner, Et Al
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 511586 Release Date: 06/24/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Lowell Mason
    Performer:  Natalie Dessay,  Ton Koopman,  Felicity Palmer,  Ryland Davies  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean-François Paillard,  Marc Minkowski,  William Christie,  Ton Koopman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paillard Chamber Orchestra,  Les Musiciens du Louvre,  Les Arts Florissants  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 52.
    Handel: Dettingen Te Deum, Zadok The Priest / Layton
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67678 Release Date: 06/10/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Neal Davies,  Robin Firth,  Christopher Lowrey,  Richard Marlow
    Conductor:  Stephen Layton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
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  • 53.
    Handel: Coronation Anthems, Etc / Marriner, Asmf & Chorus
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 412733 Release Date: 03/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    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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  • 54.
    Frederica Von Stade, Mormon Tabernacle Choir - Simple Gifts
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436284 Release Date: 09/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Robert Browne Hall,  Aaron Copland,  Joseph Canteloube  ... 
    Performer:  Frederica Von Stade,  John Longhurst
    Conductor:  Joseph Silverstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra,  Mormon Tabernacle Choir
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  • 55.
    40 Most Beautiful Classical Anthems
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 284732 Release Date: 08/21/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Thomas Augustine Arne,  Aram Khachaturian,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
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  • 56.
    Handel - The Ultimate Collection
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 18502 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Paul Elliott,  Marie-Claire Alain,  Lily Laskine,  Marilyn Horne  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean-François Paillard,  Ton Koopman,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Claudio Scimone  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paillard Chamber Orchestra,  The Sixteen,  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 57.
    Best Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 70853 Release Date: 08/29/2006   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gioachino Rossini,  Alexander Borodin,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  Henriette Puig-Roget,  Victoria de los Angeles,  Heather Harper  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Gönnenwein,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consortium Musicum,  South German Madrigal Choir Stuttgart,  Polish Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 58.
    The #1 Baroque Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000660302 Release Date: 08/08/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel,  Pier Francesco Cavalli,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Emma Kirkby,  Andreas Scholl,  Barbara Bonney,  András Schiff  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Roger Norrington  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir  ... 
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  • 59.
    Hymnus / Gruberova, Sjokvist, Et Al
    Label: Nightingale Classics   Catalog: 130560 Release Date: 07/25/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Urban Agnas,  Edita Gruberova
    Conductor:  Gustaf Sjökvist
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Chamber Orchestra,  Gustaf Sjökvist Chamber Choir
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  • 60.
    The #1 Baroque Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4757492 Release Date: 07/03/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Henry Purcell,  Gregorio Allegri,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Bonney,  Alastair Hussain,  Andreas Scholl,  Eduardo Fernandez  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  Stephen Cleobury,  Christophe Rousset,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Les Talens Lyriques  ... 
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  • 61.
    Essential Choral Classics
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000691802 Release Date: 06/13/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joseph Brackett,  Gioachino Rossini,  Gustav Mahler,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Lucia Valentini-Terrani,  Ruggero Raimondi,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Jerold Ottley,  Romano Gandolfi,  Sir Georg Solti,  George Guest  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Vienna Concert-Verein  ... 
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  • 62.
    The Best Baroque Album In The World...ever!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54468 Release Date: 04/04/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Henry Purcell,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  George Malcolm,  Wayne Marshall,  Anthony Bailes,  Bob van Asperen  ... 
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Sir Philip Ledger,  Wolfgang Gönnenwein,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Menuhin Festival Orchestra,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble  ... 
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  • 63.
    The Very Best Of Handel
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8552109-10 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
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  • 64.
    Handel: Coronation Anthems, Dixit Dominus
    Label: Emi Classics Encore   Catalog: 85454 Release Date: 03/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Robert Tear,  John Shirley-Quirk,  John Langdon,  Sir Andrew Davis  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Philip Ledger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 65.
    Changing The Guard - Great Military Music
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 1127 Release Date: 02/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Traditional,  R.A. Ridings,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
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  • 66.
    Cinema Classics 2004 - Master And Commander, Etc
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8556813 Release Date: 06/15/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Georges Bizet,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
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  • 67.
    Hallelujah - 35 Great Sacred Choruses
    Label: Sparrow Records   Catalog: 96561 Release Date: 03/23/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  John Tavener,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  John Rutter  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Lucas,  James Morris,  Benjamin Bayl,  John Wallace  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Philip Ledger,  David Hill,  Sir Neville Marriner,  John Scott  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Winchester Cathedral Choir  ... 
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  • 68.
    The Opera Band - Mozart, Puccini, Et Al / Amici Forever
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 52739 Release Date: 01/13/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Georges Bizet,  Adelmo Fornaciari,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Jo Appleby,  Tsakane Valentine,  Nicholas Garrett,  David Habbin  ... 
    Conductor:  Nick Ingman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Film Orchestra,  Amici Forever
    CD: $9.99
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  • 69.
    Sacred Classics - Bach, Fauré, Franck, Handel, Mozart, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 69107 Release Date: 08/05/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Gambill,  Julia Hamari,  Richard Lewis,  Lisa Otto  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Wolfgang Gönnenwein,  Karl Foster  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 70.
    Handel: Coronation Anthems, Etc / Summerly, Ryan, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557003 Release Date: 01/21/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Rebecca Ryan,  David Bates,  Edward Lyon,  Nicholas Warden  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeremy Summerly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Academy of Music Baroque Orchestra,  Tallis Chamber Choir
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  • 71.
    Handel: Israel In Egypt, Coronation Anthems / Gardiner
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 473304 Release Date: 12/05/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Michael Chance,  Julian Clarkson,  Patrick Collin,  Donna Deam  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  English Baroque Soloists
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  • 72.
    Handel: Dixit Dominus, Zadok The Priest / Gardiner
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 7486832 Release Date: 11/25/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Charles Brett,  Malcolm Hicks,  Nicholas Kraemer,  Margaret Marshall  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Monteverdi Orchestra
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  • 73.
    World Soccer Anthems / Ozawa, Black, Varviso, Et Al
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 470383 Release Date: 05/21/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude-Joseph de Lisle,  John Stafford Smith,  Eack-Tay Ahn,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Placido Domingo,  José Carreras
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Silvio Varviso,  Stanley Black  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 74.
    The #1 Choral Album - Beethoven, Handel, Verdi, Bizet, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470382 Release Date: 03/12/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Thomas Augustine Arne,  John Tavener,  Charles Gounod,  Carl Orff  ... 
    Performer:  Sarah Walker,  Stephen Doughty,  Bryn Terfel,  James Morris  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington,  Stephen Cleobury,  Richard Bonynge,  Charles Dutoit  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge King's College Choir  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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  • 75.
    Handel: Coronation Anthems, Ode / Cleobury, Gritton, Et Al
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 57140 Release Date: 10/09/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Susan Gritton,  Robin Blaze,  Michael George,  David Blackadder
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Academy of Ancient Music
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