George Frederick Handel Essay

967 Words Sep 28th, 1999 4 Pages
George Frederick Handel

George Frederick Handel was born on February 24, 1685 in Halle, Germany.
One of the greatest composers of the late baroque period (1700-50) and, during his lifetime, perhaps the most internationally famous of all musicians. Handel was born February 24, 1685, in Halle, Germany, to a family of no musical distinction. His own musical talent, however, expressed itself so clearly that before his tenth birthday he began to receive, from a local organist, the only formal musical instruction he would ever have. Although his first job, beginning just after his 17th birthday, was as church organist in Halle, Handel's musical tendencies lay elsewhere. Thus, in 1703 he traveled to Hamburg, the operatic center of Germany;
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Under the sponsorship of the duke of Chandos, he composed his oratorio
Esther and the 11 Chandos anthems for choir and string orchestra (1717-20). By
1719 Handel had won the support of the king to start the Royal Academy of Music for performances of opera, which presented some of Handel's greatest operas:
Radamisto (1720), Giulio Cesare (1724), Tamerlano (1724), and Rodelinda (1725).
In 1727 Handel became a naturalized British citizen; in 1728 the academy collapsed. He formed a new company the following year. Forced to move to another theater by the Opera of the Nobility, an opponent company, in 1734, he continued to produce opera until 1737, when both houses failed. Handel suffered a stroke and retired to Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) to recover. In 1738 Handel, as determined as ever, began yet another operatic effort, which ended with his last opera, Deidamia, in 1741. During the 1730s, however, the most important directions taken by Handel were, first, the composition of English dramatic oratorios, notably Athalia (1733) and Saul (1739); and, second, the surge of instrumental music used in connection with the oratorios, including some of
Handel's greatest concertos—the solo concertos of op. 4 (1736, five for organ and one for harp) and the 12 concerti grossi of op. 6 (1739). In 1742, Messiah, the work for which he is best known, was first performed in Dublin. Handel
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