George Frideric Handel Biography – Messiah, Compositions & Facts

george frideric handel biography fact

Here is George Frideric Handel Biography – Messiah, Compositions & Facts. Operas, oratorios, and instrumentals were all composed by George Frideric Handel. ‘Messiah,’ which he composed in 1741, is one of the most well-known oratorios in history. In my last post i revealed a link to one of his composition, Judas Maccabaeus music book in PDF.

Who Was George Frideric Handel?

George Frideric Handel, a Baroque composer, made his operatic debut with Almira in 1705. Before founding the New Royal Academy of Music in 1727, he worked at the Royal Academy of Music in England, where he produced numerous operas. When Italian operas went out of favor, Mozart began writing oratorios, the most renowned being Messiah.

George Frideric Handel Early Life

Dorothea, and George Handel of Halle, Saxony, Germany, gave birth to George Frideric Handel on February 23, 1685. Handel had a strong desire to learn music since he was a child, but his father disapproved, believing that music would not be a viable source of revenue.

george frideric handel biography fact

His father banned him from owning a musical instrument. On the other hand, his mother was encouraging and pushed him to pursue his musical interests. Handel began practicing on the side with her permission.

Handel got the chance to play the organ at the duke’s court in Weissenfels when he was a young lad. Handel met Frideric Wilhelm Zachow, a composer and organist, there.

Zachow was so struck by Handel’s potential that he encouraged him to study with him. Handel had accomplished songwriting for the organ, the oboe, and the violin under Zachow’s guidance by the age of ten.

Handel created church cantatas and choral music from the age of 11 to 16 or 17 that, since they were written for a limited audience, did not get much notice and have now been lost to time.

Despite his devotion to music, Handel first consented to pursue law at the University of Halle at his father’s request. He did not stay enrolled for long, as one might expect. His love for music will not be muted.

When He was 18 years old, he chose to devote his life to music and accepted a position as a violinist at the Hamburg Opera’s Goose Market Theater.

He boosted his income at this time by offering private piano lessons in his spare time, teaching what he had learned from Zachow.

George Frideric Handel Opera

Despite his job as a violinist, Handel’s proficiency on the organ and keyboard began to attract notice and lead to additional opportunities to participate in operas.

He also began to write operas, debuting with Almira in early 1705. The opera was an instant hit, with a run of 20 performances. Handel chose to try his fortune in Italy in 1706 after creating many more hit operas.

Handel created the Agrippina and operas, Rodrigo, when he was there, performed in 1707 and 1709. During this time, he also composed many dramatic chamber compositions.

George Frideric Handel Oratorios

Oratorios, rather than operas, became Handel’s preferred medium. Oratorios, or large-scale concert performances, were an instant hit with crowds and proved highly profitable.

Oratorios were less expensive to create than operas since they did not require extravagant costumes and scenery. Handel rewrote a lot of Italian operas to match this new structure, then translated them into English for a London audience.

His oratorios were the current sensation in London, and they quickly became a staple of the opera season.

During Lent in 1735, Handel gave around 14 concerts, most of which were oratorios. Dublin’s Lord-Lieutenant commissioned Handel in 1741 to compose a new oratorio based on a biblical text compiled by art patron Charles Jennens.

As a result, Handel’s most renowned oratorio, Messiah, premiered in April 1742 in Dublin’s New Music Hall.

George Frideric Handel Health Issues

Handel’s physical health suffered various potentially devastating difficulties during his musical career, as he was overwhelmed by stress. He’s also thought to have struggled with anxiety and sadness.

Despite this, Handel, who was famed for his ability to laugh in the face of difficulty, persevered in his desire to create music.

Handel suffered a traumatic brain injury in 1737, which left him unable to move his right hand. His followers were terrified that he’d never write another song.

On the other hand, Handel was entirely recovered after only six weeks of rehabilitation in Aix-la-Chapelle. He returned to London, where he not only resumed composing but also resumed playing the organ.

Handel experienced a second springtime incident six years later. However, he shocked audiences once more with his quick recovery, which was followed by a flurry of ambitious oratorios.

Handel’s three-act oratorio Samson, which originally debuted in London in 1743, represented how Handel felt about the character’s blindness as a result of his own personal experience with increasing vision loss.

Handel had lost the sense in his left eye by 1750. He persisted, writing the oratorio Jephtha, including an allusion to obstructed eyesight.

Handel lost sight with his other eye and became fully blind in 1752. Handel’s ardent pursuit of music carried him onward as it has in the past.

He continued to play and compose, depending on his keen memory to substitute when needed, and was actively involved in his work’s productions until his death.

George Frideric Handel Death and Legacy

Handel died in his leased property at 25 Brook Street in London’s Mayfair area on April 14, 1759. The 74-year-old composer and organist belonged to the Baroque era.

Even in death, Handel was regarded as being a charitable guy. His will allocated his possessions to his employees and many institutions, including the Foundling Hospital, even though he had never engaged or fathered children.

george frideric handel biography fact

He even contributed the funds to cover his burial costs so that his family members would not be burdened financially. A week after his death, Handel was buried at Westminster Abbey. After his death, biographical records began circulating, and George Handel was quickly elevated to legendary status.

Handel created approximately 30 oratorios and nearly 50 operas throughout his career. At least 30 operas were written for London’s first Italian opera company, the Royal Academy of Music.

He was also a renowned orchestral and concerti Grossi composer. He is credited with making substantial contributions to his generation’s musical genres. The oratorio Messiah, composed in 1741 and written and performed in Dublin in 1742, is his most famous composition.

Three memorial performances were staged in Handel’s commemoration at the Parthenon and Westminster Abbey in 1784, 25 years after his death. The Handel House Museum, erected in 2001 in honor of Handel’s famous life and works, is located on Brook Street, where he lived from 1723 until 1759.

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