Royalty Free Music - George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel - Biography
Handel was a great composer of the Baroque period, who
blended a clear, attractive compositional style with new and
standard orchestral instruments to create bold and fresh music
which still has great appeal today.
Handel (known in Germany as George Friedrich Handel, in
France as Haendel) was born in Halle, Germany on February
23rd, 1685, the same year of birth as both Bach and Scarlatti.
His Father at first tried to disuade him from studying music,
but following his mother's encouragement and the gift of a
spinet from his Aunt, he showed such promise that he was put
under the musical tutelege of Zachau, a talented composer
and organist. Music studies ran parallel with law studies
until the death of his Father, when Handel gave up law and
moved from Halle to Hamburg, joining the opera house orchestra
and taking pupils. Here he made friends and began composing
seriously. Handel also applied for a job as organist in nearby
Lubeck, but on visiting the city he withdrew his application
on finding that one of the job conditions was to marry the
rather unnattractive daughter of the current organist - Buxtehude.
Handel's travels at this time included Florence, Rome and
Venice, where he met Georg Ludwig, Elector of Hanover, and
took a post with him as Kapellmeister, following a short trip
to London in 1710. During this London visit however, he found
such a receptive climate for his music that after only 15
months back in Hanover working for Georg Ludwig he returned
to England in 1712, and remained in London for the next fifty
years. In August 1714, England's Queen Anne died, and was
succeeded by Handel's previous employer Georg Ludwig who became
King George I.
It was during Handel's time in London that most of his most
famous music was written.
The "Water Music" (HWV 348-390) was composed in 1717 and
performed on a Thames barge for King George I. "Zadok The
Priest" (HWV258, Coronation Anthem Number 1) was one of four
anthems composed for the coronation of King George II and
Queen Caroline in 1727, and has been performed at every British
coronation since. The "Royal Fireworks Music" (HWV351) was
written to celebrate the end of the war of Austrian succession
in 1749. Handel's most well-known oratorio "Messiah" (HWV56),
which includes the "Hallelujah" chorus, was composed in 24
days during the Summer of 1741 for a concert in Dublin in
aid of local charities. It's first performance was on 13th
April 1742 and was a great success.
All in all, Handel composed 120 cantatas, 42 operas, 16 organ
concertos and 29 oratorios, as well as many other pieces.
He died in London in 1759. He was given a full state funeral
attended by 3000 mourners, and was buried in Westminster Abbey
where a Roubiliac monument commemorates his life. His music
was a great influence on Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, who proclaimed
him "the master of us all". His compositions are still widely
performed, and used to great effect in television and film
production, with their bright tone colours and popular appeal.
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