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a German-English Baroque composer who is famous for his operas, oratorios, and concertos. Handel was born in Germany in the same year as JS Bach and Domenico Scarlatti. He received critical musical training in Italy before settling in London and becoming a naturalised British subject.[1] His works include Messiah, Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks. He was strongly influenced by the techniques of the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the English composer Henry Purcell. Handel's music was well-known to many composers, including Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

His father, Georg Händel, 63 when his son was born, was an eminent barber-surgeon who also served as surgeon to the court of Saxe-Weissenfels and the Margraviate of Brandenburg.[3] According to John Mainwaring, his first biographer, "Handel had discovered such a strong propensity to Music, that his father who always intended him for the study of the Civil Law, had reason to be alarmed. He strictly forbade him to meddle with any musical instrument but Handel found means to get a little clavichord privately convey'd to a room at the top of the house. To this room he constantly stole when the family was asleep".[4] At an early age Handel became a skillful performer on the harpsichord and pipe organ.[5]:[3–4] One day Handel and his father went on a trip to Weissenfels to visit either his son (Handel's half-brother) Carl, or grandson (Handel's nephew) Georg Christian [6] who was serving as a valet to Duke Johann Adolf I.[7] According to legend, the young Handel attracted the attention of the Duke with his playing on the churchorgan. At his urging, Handel's father permitted him to take lessons in musical composition and keyboard technique from Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow, the organist of the Lutheran Marienkirche. From then on Handel learned about harmony and contemporary styles, analysed sheet music scores, learned to work fugue subjects and copy music. Sometimes he would take his teacher's place as organist for services.[8]:[17] In 1698 Handel played for Frederick I of Prussia and met Giovanni Bononcini in Berlin; in 1701 Georg Philipp Telemann went to Halle to listen to the promising young man.

Birthdate February 23, 1685 Birthplace Halle, Germany

Following his recovery Handel focused on composing oratorios instead of opera. His Messiah was first performed at the New Music Hall in Fishamble Street, Dublin, on 13 April 1742, with 26 boys and five men from the combined choirs of St Patrick's and Christ Church cathedrals participating.

George Fredrick Handel

After his death, Handel's Italian operas fell into obscurity, except for selections such as the aria from Serse, "Ombra mai fù". Throughout the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, particularly in the Anglophone countries, his reputation rested primarily on his English oratorios, which were customarily performed by enormous choruses of amateur singers on solemn occasions. These include Esther (1718);


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