Baroque Period – George Frideric Handel

George Frideric Handel 23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) was a German-born Baroque composer famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Born in a family indifferent to music, Handel received critical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712), and became a naturalized British subject in 1727. He was strongly influenced both by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.

handelWithin fifteen years, Handel had started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera. As Alexander’s Feast (1736) was well received, Handel made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742) he never performed an Italian opera again. It has been said that the passion of Handel’s oratorios is an ethical one, and that they are hallowed not by liturgical dignity but by moral ideals of humanity. Almost blind, and having lived in England for nearly fifty years, he died in 1759, a respected and rich man. His funeral was given full state honours, and he was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Baroque era, with works such as Water Music, Music for the Royal Fireworks and Messiah remaining popular. One of his four Coronation Anthems, Zadok the Priest (1727), composed for the coronation of George II of Great Britain, has been performed at every subsequent British coronation, traditionally during the sovereign’s anointing. Handel composed more than forty operas in over thirty years, and since the late 1960s, with the revival of baroque music and historically informed musical performance, interest in Handel’s operas has grown. Read more…

Everyone has heard of Handel’s Messiah. This is probably his most famous piece. Click here to listen to the Hallelujah Chorus.

Click here to download the Hallelujah Chorus printable piano music.

This is my favorite piece. The title is Largo

Listen to Handel’s Water Music
Click here to download the piano music for Water Music.

Just for fun how about a word search on the composer Handel. Click here.

Do you have a favorite piece from Handel? Let me know.

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