George Frideric Handel


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: Parnasso in festa / Marcon, La Cetra, Barockorchester Basel
Release Date: 09/01/2017   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186643   Number of Discs: 2
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Handel Edition
Release Date: 09/25/2015   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 95050   Number of Discs: 65
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The Handel Album / Jaroussky
Release Date: 10/06/2017   Label: Erato  
Catalog: 564134   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel: Lucio Cornelio Silla / Biondi, Europa Galante
Release Date: 09/15/2017   Label: Glossa  
Catalog: 923408   Number of Discs: 2
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Handel: Ottone / Petrou, Il Pomo d'Oro
Release Date: 06/23/2017   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002675902   Number of Discs: 3
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Work: Zadok the Priest

Browse 76-85 of 85 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Handel: 4 Coronation Anthems, Etc / King's College, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 455041 Release Date: 09/16/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Thurston Dart,  John Langdon,  Charles Tunnell,  Richard Farnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Stephen Cleobury,  David Hill,  Simon Preston
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Winchester Cathedral Choir  ... 
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  • 77.
    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:  Ida Presti,  Alexandre Lagoya,  Heinz Holliger,  Aafje Heynis  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Raymond Leppard,  Hans Gillesberger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  English Baroque Soloists,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 78.
    Millenium Of Music / Neary, Westminster Abbey Choir
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66614 Release Date: 08/22/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Orlando Gibbons,  William Cornysh,  John Tyes,  Peter Hurford  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Baker
    Conductor:  Martin Neary
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Abbey Choir,  English Chamber Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 79.
    Handel: Coronation Anthems, Etc / Preston, Pinnock
    Label: Dg Archiv Masters   Catalog: 447280 Release Date: 08/15/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Trevor Pinnock
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock,  Simon Preston
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  Westminster Abbey Choir
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  • 80.
    Händel: Israel In Egypt, Etc / John Eliot Gardiner
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 432110 Release Date: 04/07/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Elisabeth Priday,  Donna Deam,  Ashley Stafford,  Michael Chance  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir
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  • 81.
    Hallelujah! - Great Choral Classics / Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 443381 Release Date: 10/11/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Brackett,  Traditional,  J. T. White,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  John Longhurst,  Robert Cundick
    Conductor:  Jerold Ottley,  Julius Rudel,  Joseph Silverstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  Orchestra,  Utah Symphony Orchestra
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  • 82.
    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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  • 83.
    Handel: Dixit Dominus, Etc / Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 45136 Release Date: 09/08/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  John Angelo Messana,  David Wilson-Johnson,  Richard Morton,  Felicity Palmer  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir
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  • 84.
    Berlitz Passport - The Music Of The British Isles
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 47280 Release Date: 07/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Augustine Arne,  Sir Edward Elgar,  George Frideric Handel,  Frederick Delius  ... 
    Performer:  David Nadien,  Edward Carroll
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Sir Andrew Davis,  Richard P. Condie,  Richard Kapp  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 85.
    Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring / Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 48296 Release Date: 07/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Jerold Ottley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
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