George Frederic Handel

Handel, George Frederic

George Frideric (or FrederickHandel (/ˈhændəl/;[a] baptised Georg Friederich Händel,[b] German: [ˈɡeːɔʁk ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈhɛndl̩] (About this soundlisten); 23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759[2][c]) was a German-born Baroque composer becoming well known for his operasoratoriosanthemsconcerti grossi and organ concertos. Handel received his training in Halle and worked as a composer in Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712, where he spent the bulk of his career and became a naturalised British subject in 1727.[4] He was strongly influenced both by the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition and by composers of the Italian Baroque.

Handel started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera. In 1737 he had a physical breakdown, changed direction creatively, and addressed the middle class and made a transition to English choral works.[5] After his success with Messiah (1742), he never composed an Italian opera again. His orchestral Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks remain steadfastly popular.[6] Almost blind, he died in 1759, a respected and rich man, and was given a state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

Handel composed more than forty opera serias over a period of more than thirty years. Since the late 1960s, interest in Handel’s music has grown. The musicologist Winton Dean wrote that “Handel was not only a great composer; he was a dramatic genius of the first order.”[7] His music exerted a strong influence on Classical-era composers, including Mozart and Beethoven.