Georg Friedrich Handel (06:40)
Halle, Germany developed during the ninth century; the Duke of Saxony established its musical reputation. Handel was born in 1685, to Georg and his wife, Dorothea Taust; their home is now a museum dedicated to the composer.
Handel's Education (02:55)
The Duke of Saxony had Handel study with Friedrich Zachow, introducing him to various musical forms. At age 11, Handel's father died, requiring he help with family finances. Handel studied law at Halle University and performed as an organist at the Calvinist Cathedral Church.
Handel in Hamburg (02:42)
At 18, Handel moved to Hamburg, working for the Oper am Gansemarkt. He directed the orchestra from his harpsichord, dueling with Johann Mattheson over the direction of “Cleopatra.” Reinhard Keiser gave Handel the opportunity to compose his first opera, “Almira, Queen of Castile.”
Handel in Italy (04:58)
In 1706, Handel went to Rome, becoming Prince Ruspoli’s Kapellmeister. He moved to Florence to write opera, premiering “Rodrigo,” in 1707. He composed an Italian serenata based on “Acis and Galatea” while in Naples. In 1709, Hanedl wrote “Agrippina.”
Handel and King George (06:43)
Handel traveled to London in 1710, considering operatic composition careers and reporting political and social expectations back to Georg of Hanover. He was awarded a British Crown pension, extended when the Elector was coronated. Their 1717 boating tours of the River Thames made both popular.
Handel in England (06:11)
Handel became James Brydges’ house composer while at Cannons, writing the "Chandos Anthems." He returned to London in 1720, composing for the Royal Academy of Music. In 1723, Handel rented a Mayfair home, now a museum, where he composed his last 30 operas.
Handel the Englishman (05:38)
Before dying, George I formalized Handel’s naturalization. The composer wrote “Zadok the Priest,” for George II’s coronation, which has since been played at all British coronations. In the 1730s, Handel reconnected with the public, writing English oratorios. In 1740, he wrote a season entirely in English.
Handel's "Messiah" (08:38)
The oratorio premiered in 1742 at Neil’s Music Hall in Dublin, raising money for prisoners in debtor’s jail. After its performance at The Foundling Hospital, it became a worldwide traditional method of fundraising for charities. Handel wrote several works in response to the Jacobite Rebellion.
Handel's Legacy (04:43)
Handel struggled to finish “Jephtha,” due to failing eyesight. His final work, “The Triumph of Time and Truth,” premiered two years before his death on April 14th, 1759. Handel was buried in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey.
Credits: G.F. Handel (03:48)
Credits: G.F. Handel
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