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George Frideric Handel

Handel redirects here. For other uses, see Handel

George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel (/hndl/;[1]
born Georg Friedrich Hndel,[2] German pronunciation:
[hndl]; 23 February 1685 (O.S.) [(N.S.) 5 March]
14 April 1759)[3] was a German, later British baroque
composer who spent the bulk of his career in London,
becoming well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems,
and organ concertos. Handel received critical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712; he became a naturalised British subject in
1727.[4] He was strongly inuenced both by the great
Handels baptismal registration (Marienbibliothek in Halle)
composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German
polyphonic choral tradition.
Within fteen years, Handel had started three commer- the Margraviate of Brandenburg. According to Hancial opera companies to supply the English nobility with dels rst biographer, John Mainwaring, he had discovItalian opera. Musicologist Winton Dean writes that his ered such a strong propensity to Music, that his father who
operas show that Handel was not only a great com- always intended him for the study of the Civil Law, had
poser; he was a dramatic genius of the rst order.[5] reason to be alarmed. He strictly forbade him to meddle
As Alexanders Feast (1736) was well received, Handel with any musical instrument but Handel found means to
made a transition to English choral works. After his suc- get a little clavichord privately convey'd to a room at the
room he constantly stole when
cess with Messiah (1742) he never performed an Italian top of the house. To this
an early age Handel became
opera again. Almost blind, and having lived in England
and pipe organ.[10]
for nearly fty years, he died in 1759, a respected and
rich man. His funeral was given full state honours, and
he was buried in Westminster Abbey in London.
Born the same year as Johann Sebastian Bach and
Domenico Scarlatti, Handel is regarded as one of the
greatest composers of the Baroque era, with works such
as Water Music, Music for the Royal Fireworks and Messiah remaining steadfastly popular.[6] One of his four
Coronation Anthems, Zadok the Priest (1727), composed
for the coronation of George II, has been performed at
every subsequent British coronation, traditionally during
the sovereigns anointing. Handel composed more than
forty operas in over thirty years, and since the late 1960s,
with the revival of baroque music and historically informed musical performance, interest in Handels operas
has grown.
Hndel-Haus (2009), birthplace of George Frideric Handel
Handel and his father travelled to Weissenfels to visit
either Handels half-brother, Carl, or nephew, Georg
1 Early years
Christian,[11] who was serving as valet to Duke Johann Adolf I.[12] On this trip, young Handel was lifted
Handel was born in 1685 in Halle, Duchy of Magdeburg, onto an organs stool, where he surprised everyone
to Georg Hndel and Dorothea Taust.[7] His father, 63 with his playing.[13] This performance helped Handel
when George Frideric was born, was an eminent barber- and the duke to convince his father to allow him to
surgeon who served the court of Saxe-Weissenfels and take lessons in musical composition and keyboard tech1

organist in the former cathedral, by then an evangelical reformed church. Handel seems to have been dissatised,
and in 1703 he accepted a position as violinist and harpsichordist in the orchestra of the Hamburg Oper am Gnsemarkt.[15] There he met the composers Johann Mattheson, Christoph Graupner and Reinhard Keiser. His rst
two operas, Almira and Nero, were produced in 1705.[16]
He produced two other operas, Daphne and Florindo, in
1708. It is unclear whether Handel directed these performances.

Entrance of Teatro del Cocomero in Florence

nique from Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow, the organist of

Halles Marienkirche.[13] Zachow composed music for
the Lutheran services at the church, and from him Handel learned about harmony and counterpoint, copying
and analysing scores, and gained instruction on the oboe,
violin, harpsichord and organ.[13] In 1698 Handel played
for Frederick I of Prussia and met Giovanni Bononcini in

From Halle to Italy

According to Mainwaring, in 1706 Handel travelled

to Italy at the invitation of Ferdinando de' Medici.
Other sources say Handel was invited by Gian Gastone
de' Medici, whom Handel had met in 17031704 in
Hamburg.[17] De' Medici, who had a keen interest in
opera, was trying to make Florence Italys musical capital by attracting the leading talents of his day. In Italy
Handel met librettist Antonio Salvi, with whom he later
collaborated. Handel left for Rome and, since opera was
(temporarily) banned in the Papal States, composed sacred music for the Roman clergy. His famous Dixit Dominus (1707) is from this era. He also composed cantatas
in pastoral style for musical gatherings in the palaces of
cardinals Pietro Ottoboni, Benedetto Pamphili and Carlo
Colonna. Two oratorios, La resurrezione and Il trionfo del
tempo, were produced in a private setting for Ruspoli and
Ottoboni in 1709 and 1710, respectively. Rodrigo, his
rst all-Italian opera, was produced in the Cocomero theatre in Florence in 1707.[18] Agrippina was rst produced
in 1709 at Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo, owned by
the Grimanis. The opera, with a libretto by Cardinal
Vincenzo Grimani, ran for 27 nights successively.[19] The
audience, thunderstruck with the grandeur and sublimity
of his style,[20] applauded for Il caro Sassone (the dear
Saxonreferring to Handels German origins).

3 Move to London

The Hamburg Opera am Gnsemarkt in 1726

In 1702, following his fathers wishes, Handel started

studying law under Christian Thomasius at the University George Frideric Handel (left) and King George I on the River
of Halle.[14] He earned an appointment for one year as the Thames, 17 July 1717, by Edouard Hamman (181988)


Royal Academy of Music (171934)

In 1710, Handel became Kapellmeister to German prince

George, the Elector of Hanover, who in 1714 would become King George I of Great Britain and Ireland.[21] He
visited Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici and her husband in
Dsseldorf on his way to London in 1710. With his opera
Rinaldo, based on La Gerusalemme Liberata by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso, Handel enjoyed great success,
although it was composed quickly, with many borrowings
from his older Italian works.[22] This work contains one
of Handels favourite arias, Cara sposa, amante cara, and
the famous Lascia ch'io pianga.
In 1712, Handel decided to settle permanently in England. In Summer 1713 he lived at Mr Mathew Andrews in Barn Elms Surrey.[23][24] He received a yearly
income of 200 from Queen Anne after composing for
her the Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate, rst performed in
One of his most important patrons was The 3rd Earl of
Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork, a young and incredibly
wealthy member of an Anglo-Irish aristocratic family.[27]
For the young Lord Burlington, Handel wrote Amadigi di
Gaula, a magical opera, about a damsel in distress, based The Chandos portrait of Georg Friedrich Hndel
by James Thornhill, c. 1720
on the tragedy by Antoine Houdar de la Motte.
The conception of an opera as a coherent structure was
slow to capture Handels imagination[28] and he composed
no operas for ve years. In July 1717 Handels Water Mu- 3.2 Royal Academy of Music (171934)
sic was performed more than three times on the Thames
for the King and his guests. It is said the compositions Main article: Royal Academy of Music (company)
In May 1719, The 1st Duke of Newcastle, the Lord
spurred reconciliation between the King and Handel.[29]
Chamberlain, ordered Handel to look for new singers.[35]
Handel travelled to Dresden to attend the newly built
opera. He saw Teofane by Antonio Lotti, and engaged
members of the cast for the Royal Academy of Music,
founded by a group of aristocrats to assure themselves a
constant supply of baroque opera or opera seria. Handel may have invited John Smith, his fellow student in
3.1 Cannons (171718)
Halle, and his son Johann Christoph Schmidt, to become
his secretary and amanuensis.[36] By 1723 he had moved
Main article: Handel at Cannons
into a Georgian house at 25 Brook Street, which he rented
In 1717 Handel became house composer at Cannons in for the rest of his life.[37] This house, where he rehearsed,
Middlesex, where he laid the cornerstone for his future copied music and sold tickets, is now the Handel House
choral compositions in the twelve Chandos Anthems.[30] Museum.[38] During twelve months between 1724 and
Romain Rolland stated that these anthems were as im- 1725, Handel wrote three outstanding and successful opportant for his oratorios as the cantatas were for his eras, Giulio Cesare, Tamerlano and Rodelinda. Handels
operas.[31] Another work, which he wrote for The 1st operas are lled with da capo arias, such as Svegliatevi
Duke of Chandos, the owner of Cannons, was Acis and nel core. After composing Silete venti, he concentrated
Galatea: during Handels lifetime it was his most per- on opera and stopped writing cantatas. Scipio, from
formed work. Winton Dean wrote, the music catches which the regimental slow march of the British Grenadier
breath and disturbs the memory.[32]
Guards is derived,[39] was performed as a stopgap, waitIn 1719 the Duke of Chandos became one of the com- ing for the arrival of Faustina Bordoni.
posers important patrons and main subscribers to his
new opera company, the Royal Academy of Music, but
his patronage declined after Chandos lost money in the
South Sea bubble, which burst in 1720 in one of historys
greatest nancial cataclysms. Handel himself invested in
South Sea stock in 1716, when prices were low[33] and
sold before 1720.[34]

In 1727 Handel was commissioned to write four anthems

for the Coronation ceremony of King George II. One of
these, Zadok the Priest, has been played at every British
coronation ceremony since.[40] In 1728 John Gays The
Beggars Opera premiered at Lincolns Inn Fields Theatre
and ran for 62 consecutive performances, the longest run
in theatre history up to that time.[41] After nine years the


The Queens Theatre in the Haymarket in London by William


Handel travelled to Italy to engage new singers and

also composed seven more operas, among them the
comic masterpiece Partenope and the magic opera
Orlando.[44] After two commercially successful English
oratorios Esther and Deborah, he was able to invest again
in the South Sea Company. Handel reworked his Acis
and Galatea which then became his most successful work
ever. Handel failed to compete with the Opera of the
Nobility, who engaged musicians such as Johann Adolph
Handel House at 25 Brook Street, Mayfair, London
Hasse, Nicolo Porpora and the famous castrato Farinelli.
The strong support by Frederick, Prince of Wales caused
conicts in the royal family. In March 1734 Handel comRoyal Academy of Music ceased to function but Handel posed a wedding anthem This is the day which the Lord
soon started a new company.
hath made, and a serenata Parnasso in Festa for Anne of
The Queens Theatre at the Haymarket (now Her
Majestys Theatre), established in 1705 by architect and Despite the problems the Opera of the Nobility was causplaywright John Vanbrugh, quickly became an opera ing him at the time, Handels neighbour in Brook Street,
house.[42] Between 1711 and 1739, more than 25 of Han- Mary Delany, reported on a party she invited Handel to at
dels operas premired there.[43] In 1729 Handel became her house on 12 April 1734 where he was in good spirits:
joint manager of the theatre with John James Heidegger.

A musical portrait of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and his sisters

by Philip Mercier, dated 1733, using Kew Palace as its plein-air

I had Lady Rich and her daughter, Lady

Cath. Hanmer and her husband, Mr. and Mrs.
Percival, Sir John Stanley and my brother, Mrs.
Donellan, Strada [star soprano of Handels operas] and Mr. Coot. Lord Shaftesbury begged
of Mr. Percival to bring him, and being a professd friend of Mr. Handel (who was here also)
was admitted; I never was so well entertained
at an opera! Mr. Handel was in the best humour in the world, and played lessons and accompanied Strada and all the ladies that sang
from seven o'clock till eleven. I gave them tea
and coee, and about half an hour after nine
had a salver brought in of chocolate, mulled
white wine and biscuits. Everybody was easy
and seemed pleased.[46]




Opera at Covent Garden (173441)

In 1733 the Earl of Essex received a letter with the following sentence: Handel became so arbitrary a prince,
that the Town murmurs. The board of chief investors
expected Handel to retire when his contract ended, but
Handel immediately looked for another theatre. In cooperation with John Rich he started his third company
at Covent Garden Theatre. Rich was renowned for his
spectacular productions. He suggested Handel use his
small chorus and introduce the dancing of Marie Sall,
for whom Handel composed Terpsicore. In 1735 he
introduced organ concertos between the acts. For the
rst time Handel allowed Gioacchino Conti, who had no
time to learn his part, to substitute arias.[47] Financially,
Ariodante was a failure, although he introduced ballet
suites at the end of each act.[48] Alcina, his last opera with
a magic content, and Alexanders Feast or the Power of
Music based on John Drydens Alexanders Feast starred
Anna Maria Strada del P and John Beard.
In April 1737, at age 52, Handel apparently suered a
stroke which disabled the use of four ngers on his right
hand, preventing him from performing.[49] In summer the
disorder seemed at times to aect his understanding. Nobody expected that Handel would ever be able to perform again. But whether the aiction was rheumatism, a
stroke or a nervous breakdown, he recovered remarkably
quickly .[50] To aid his recovery, Handel had travelled to
Aachen, a spa in Germany. During six weeks he took long
hot baths, and ended up playing the organ for a surprised
audience.[51] It was even possible for him to write one of
his most popular operas, Serse (including the famous aria
Ombra mai f, better known as Handels largo, he wrote
for the famous castrato Caarelli), just one year after his

Handel by Philip Mercier

his presentation, and more diverse in his composition.[62]

It is evident how much he learned from Arcangelo Corelli

about writing for instruments, and from Alessandro Scarlatti about writing for the solo voice; but there is no single composer who taught him how to write for chorus.[63]
Handel tended more and more to replace Italian soloists
by English ones. The most signicant reason for this
change was the dwindling nancial returns from his
operas.[64] Thus a tradition was created for oratorios
which was to govern their future performance. The perDeidamia, his last opera, a co-production with the Earl of formances were given without costumes and action; the
Holderness,[54] was performed three times in 1741. Han- singers appeared in their own clothes.[65]
del gave up the opera business, while he enjoyed more In 1736 Handel produced Alexanders Feast. John Beard
success with his English oratorios.[55]
appeared for the rst time as one of Handels principal



singers and became Handels permanent tenor soloist for

the rest of Handels life.[66] The piece was a great success and it encouraged Handel to make the transition from
writing Italian operas to English choral works. In Saul,
Handel was collaborating with Charles Jennens and experimenting with three trombones, a carillon and extralarge military kettledrums (from the Tower of London),
to be sure "...it will be most excessive noisy.[67] Saul and
Israel in Egypt both from 1739 head the list of great, mature oratorios, in which the da capo aria became the exception and not the rule.[68] Israel in Egypt consists of little else but choruses, borrowing from the Funeral Anthem
for Queen Caroline. In his next works Handel changed
his course. In these works he laid greater stress on the effects of orchestra and soloists; the chorus retired into the
background.[69] L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato has
a rather diverting character; the work is light and fresh.

Further information: List of Handels oratorios

Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno, an allegory, Handels rst oratorio[56] was composed in Italy in 1707,
followed by La resurrezione in 1708 which uses material from the Bible. The circumstances of Esther and
its rst performance, possibly in 1718, are obscure.[57]
Another 12 years had passed when an act of piracy
caused him to take up Esther once again.[58] Three earlier performances aroused such interest that they naturally prompted the idea of introducing it to a larger public.
Next came Deborah, strongly coloured by the Coronation
Anthems[59] and Athaliah, his rst English Oratorio.[60]
In these three oratorios Handel laid the foundation for
the traditional use of the chorus which marks his later
oratorios.[61] Handel became sure of himself, broader in During the summer of 1741, The 3rd Duke of Devonshire

Caricature of Handel by Joseph Goupy (1754)


George Frideric Handel in 1733, by Balthasar Denner (1685


invited Handel to Dublin, capital of the Kingdom of Ireland, to give concerts for the benet of local hospitals.[70]
His Messiah was rst performed at the New Music Hall in
Fishamble Street on 13 April 1742, with 26 boys and ve
men from the combined choirs of St Patricks and Christ
Church cathedrals participating.[71] Handel secured a balance between soloists and chorus which he never surpassed.

day after his initial concert. He bequeathed a copy of

Messiah to the institution upon his death.[74] His involvement with the Foundling Hospital is today commemorated with a permanent exhibition in Londons Foundling
Museum, which also holds the Gerald Coke Handel Collection. In addition to the Foundling Hospital, Handel
also gave to a charity that assisted impoverished musiIn 1747 Handel wrote his oratorio Alexander Balus. This cians and their families.
work was produced at Covent Garden Theatre, on March
In August 1750, on a journey back from Germany to Lon23, 1748, and to the aria Hark! hark! He strikes the golden
don, Handel was seriously injured in a carriage accident
lyre, Handel wrote the accompaniment for mandolin,
between The Hague and Haarlem in the Netherlands.[75]
harp, violin, viola, and violoncello.
In 1751 one eye started to fail. The cause was a cataract
The use of English soloists reached its height at the rst which was operated on by the great charlatan Chevalier
performance of Samson. The work is highly theatrical. Taylor. This did not improve his eyesight, but possibly
The role of the chorus became increasingly important in made it worse.[55] He was completely blind by 1752. He
his later oratorios. Jephtha was rst performed on 26 died in 1759 at home in Brook Street, at age 74. The last
February 1752; even though it was his last oratorio, it was performance he attended was of Messiah. Handel was
no less a masterpiece than his earlier works.[72]
buried in Westminster Abbey.[76] More than three thousand mourners attended his funeral, which was given full
state honours.

Later years

Handel never married, and kept his personal life private. His initial will bequeathed the bulk of his estate
In 1749 Handel composed Music for the Royal Fireworks; to his niece Johanna, however four codicils distributed
estate to other relations, servants, friends and
12,000 people attended the rst performance.[73] In 1750 much of his
he arranged a performance of Messiah to benet the
Foundling Hospital. The performance was considered a Handel owned an art collection that was auctioned
great success and was followed by annual concerts that posthumously in 1760.[78] The auction catalogue listed
continued throughout his life. In recognition of his pa- approximately seventy paintings and ten prints (other
tronage, Handel was made a governor of the Hospital the paintings were bequeathed).[78]




5.1 Catalogues
The rst public catalogue of Handels works appeared in
John Mainwarings Memoirs of the composer (1760).[80]
Between 1787 and 1797 Samuel Arnold compiled a 180volume collection of Handels workshowever it was far
from complete.[81] Also incomplete was the collection
produced between 1843 and 1858 by the English Handel
Society (found by Sir George Macfarren).[82]
The 105-volume Hndel-Gesellschaft (Handel Society)
edition was published between 1858 and 1902mainly
due to the eorts of Friedrich Chrysander. For modern performance, the realisation of the basso continuo reects 19th century practice. Vocal scores drawn from the
edition were published by Novello in London, but some
scores, such as the vocal score to Samson are incomplete.

Senesino, the famous castrato from Siena

Main articles: List of compositions by George

Frideric Handel and List of operas by Handel.
Handels compositions include 42 operas, 29 oratorios,
more than 120 cantatas, trios and duets, numerous arias,
chamber music, a large number of ecumenical pieces,
odes and serenatas, and 16 organ concerti. His most famous work, the oratorio Messiah with its Hallelujah
chorus, is among the most popular works in choral music
and has become the centrepiece of the Christmas season.
The Lobkowicz Palace in Prague holds Mozarts copy of
Messiah, complete with handwritten annotations. Among
the works with opus numbers published and popularised
in his lifetime are the Organ Concertos Op. 4 and Op. 7,
together with the Opus 3 and Opus 6 concerti grossi; the
latter incorporate an earlier organ concerto The Cuckoo
and the Nightingale in which birdsong is imitated in the
upper registers of the organ. Also notable are his sixteen
keyboard suites, especially The Harmonious Blacksmith.

The continuing Hallische Hndel-Ausgabe edition was

rst inaugurated in 1955 in the Halle region in SaxonyAnhalt, Eastern Germany. It did not start as a critical
edition, but after heavy criticism of the rst volumes,
which were performing editions without a critical apparatus (for example, the opera Serse was published with the
title character recast as a tenor reecting pre-war German
practice), it repositioned itself as a critical edition. Inuenced in part by cold-war realities, editorial work was inconsistent: misprints are found in abundance and editors
failed to consult important sources. In 1985 a committee
was formed to establish better standards for the edition.
The unication of Germany in 1990 removed communication problems, and the volumes issued have since shown
a signicant improvement in standards.[55]
Between 1978 and 1986 the German academic Bernd
Baselt catalogued Handels works in his Hndel-WerkeVerzeichnis publication. The catalogue has achieved wide
acceptance and is used as the modern numbering system,
with each of Handels works designated an HWV number, for example Messiah is catalogued as HWV 56.

6 Legacy

Handels works were collected and preserved by two

men: Sir Samuel Hellier, a country squire whose
musical acquisitions form the nucleus of the ShawHellier Collection,[83] and the abolitionist Granville
Sharp.[84] The catalogue accompanying the National Portrait Gallery exhibition marking the tercentenary of the
composers birth calls them two men of the late eighof the
Handel introduced previously uncommon musical instru- teenth century who have left us solid evidence[85]
ments in his works: the viola d'amore and violetta marina (Orlando), the lute (Ode for St. Cecilias Day), three After his death, Handels Italian operas fell into obscurity,
trombones (Saul), clarinets or small high cornetts (Tamer- except for selections such as the aria from Serse, "Ombra
lano), theorbo, French horn (Water Music), lyrichord, mai f". The oratorios continued to be performed but not
double bassoon, viola da gamba, carillon (bell chimes), long after Handels death they were thought to need some
positive organ, and harp (Giulio Cesare, Alexanders modernisation, and Mozart orchestrated a German verFeast).[79]
sion of Messiah and other works. Throughout the 19th


A Masquerade at the Kings Theatre, Haymarket (c. 1724)

century and rst 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. The centenary of his death, in 1859,
was celebrated by a performance of Messiah at The Crys- A carved marble statue of Handel, created in 1738 by Louistal Palace, involving 2,765 singers and 460 instrumental- Franois Roubiliac
ists, who played for an audience of about 10,000 people.
Recent decades have revived his secular cantatas and
what one might call 'secular oratorios or 'concert operas.
Of the former, Ode for St. Cecilias Day (1739) (set to
texts by John Dryden) and Ode for the Birthday of Queen
Anne (1713) are noteworthy. For his secular oratorios,
Handel turned to classical mythology for subjects, producing such works as Acis and Galatea (1719), Hercules
(1745) and Semele (1744). These works have a close kinship with the sacred oratorios, particularly in the vocal
writing for the English-language texts. They also share
the lyrical and dramatic qualities of Handels Italian operas. As such, they are sometimes performed onstage by
small chamber ensembles. With the rediscovery of his
theatrical works, Handel, in addition to his renown as instrumentalist, orchestral writer, and melodist, is now perceived as being one of operas great musical dramatists.
The original form of his name, Georg Friedrich Hndel,
is generally used in Germany and elsewhere, but he is
known as Haendel in France. A dierent composer,
Jacob Handl or Hndl (1550 1591) is usually known by
the Latin form Jacobus Gallus that appears in his publications.



Handel has generally been accorded high esteem by fellow composers, both in his own time and since.[86] Bach
attempted, unsuccessfully, to meet with Handel while he
was visiting Halle.[87] Mozart is reputed to have said of
him, Handel understands aect better than any of us.
When he chooses, he strikes like a thunder bolt.[88] To
Beethoven he was the master of us all... the greatest

composer that ever lived. I would uncover my head and

kneel before his tomb.[88] Beethoven emphasised above
all the simplicity and popular appeal of Handels music
when he said, Go to him to learn how to achieve great
eects, by such simple means.

6.2 Borrowings
Since 1831, when William Crotch raised the issue in
his Substance of Several Lectures on Music, scholars
have extensively studied Handels borrowing of music
from other composers. Summarising the eld in 2005,
Richard Taruskin wrote that Handel seems to have been
the champion of all parodists, adapting both his own
works and those of other composers in unparalleled numbers and with unparalleled exactitude.[89] Among the
composers whose music has been shown to have been
re-used by Handel are Alessandro Stradella, Gottlieb
Muat, Alessandro Scarlatti, Domenico Scarlatti[90]
Giacomo Carissimi, Georg Philipp Telemann, Carl Heinrich Graun, Leonardo Vinci, Jacobus Gallus, Francesco
Antonio Urio, Reinhard Keiser, Francesco Gasparini,
Giovanni Bononcini, William Boyce, Agostino Steani,
Francesco Gasparini, Franz Johann Habermann, and numerous others.[91]
In an essay published in 1985, John H. Roberts demonstrated that Handels borrowings were unusually frequent
even for his own era, enough to have been criticised
by contemporaries (notably Johann Mattheson); Roberts
suggested several reasons for Handels practice, including Handels attempts to make certain works sound more



up-to-date and more radically, his basic lack of facility

in inventing original ideas though Roberts took care
to argue that this does not diminish Handels stature,
which should be judged not by his methods, still less by
his motives in employing them, but solely by the eects
he achieves.[92]



from Messiah. French composer and autist Philippe
Gaubert wrote his Petite marche for ute and piano based
on the fourth movement of Handels Trio Sonata, Op.
5, No. 2, HWV 397. Argentine composer Luis Gianneo composed his Variations on a Theme by Handel for
piano. In 1911, Australian-born composer and pianist
Percy Grainger based one of his most famous works on
the nal movement of Handels Suite No. 5 in E major
(just like Giuliani). He rst wrote some variations on the
theme, which he titled Variations on Handels 'The Harmonious Blacksmith' . Then he used the rst sixteen bars
of his set of variations to create Handel in the Strand,
one of his most beloved pieces, of which he made several versions (for example, the piano solo version from
1930). Arnold Schoenberg's Concerto for String Quartet
and Orchestra in B-at major (1933) was composed after
Handels Concerto Grosso, Op. 6/7.

6.4 Veneration
Handel is honoured with a feast day on 28 July in the
liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church, with Johann
Sebastian Bach and Henry Purcell. In the Lutheran Calendar of Saints Handel and J.S. Bach share that date
with Heinrich Schtz, and Handel and Bach are commemorated in the calendar of saints prepared by The Order of Saint Luke for the use of the United Methodist

6.5 Film
In 1942, Handel was the subject of the British biopic The
Great Mr. Handel directed by Norman Walker and starring Wilfrid Lawson. It was made at Denham Studios by
the Rank Organisation, and shot in technicolour.
Handel Commemoration in Westminster Abbey, 1784

After Handels death, many composers wrote works

based on or inspired by his music. The rst movement
from Louis Spohr's Symphony No. 6, Op. 116, The
Age of Bach and Handel, resembles two melodies from
Handels Messiah. In 1797 Ludwig van Beethoven published the 12 Variations in G major on See the conquring
hero comes from Judas Maccabaeus by Handel, for cello
and piano. In 1822 Beethoven composed The Consecration of the House overture, which also bears the inuence
of Handel. Guitar virtuoso Mauro Giuliani composed
his Variations on a Theme by Handel, Op. 107 for guitar, based on Handels Suite No. 5 in E major, HWV
430, for harpsichord. In 1861, using a theme from the
second of Handels harpsichord suites, Johannes Brahms
wrote the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel,
Op. 24, one of his most successful works (praised by
Richard Wagner). Several works by the French composer
Flix-Alexandre Guilmant use Handels themes, for example his March on a Theme by Handel uses a theme

7 See also
Handel Reference Database
Letters and writings of George Frideric Handel
List of compositions by George Frideric Handel
List of operas by Handel
Publications by Friedrich Chrysander
Valentine Snow
Will of George Frideric Handel
Drexel 5856





[21] Burrows 1994, p. 38

[22] Dean & Knapp 1987, pp. 173, 180
[23] Wikisource

[1] Handel entry in Collins English Dictionary, HarperCollins Publishers, 1998, which gives the common variant George Frederick (used in his will and on his funeral
monument) alongside the pronunciation of his last name.
The spelling Frideric is used on his 1727 application for
British citizenship.

[24] George Frideric Handel: Volume 1, 16091725: Collected Documents edited by Donald Burrows, Helen Coffey, John Greenacombe, Anthony Hicks
[25] National Portrait Gallery, p. 88

[2] In Italy he signed his name Hendel, as the German

is pronounced. See: The life of Handel by Victor
Schoelcher, pg. 1

[26] There is a tantalising suggestion by Handels biographer,

Jonathan Keates, that he may have come to London in
1710 and settled in 1712 as a spy for the eventual Hanoverian successor to Queen Anne. news.bbc.co.uk

[3] Hicks, in Grove 1998, p. 614

[27] National Portrait Gallery, p. 92

[4] British Citizen by Act of Parliament: George Frideric

Handel. Parliament.uk. 14 April 2009. Retrieved 13
April 2012.

[28] Dean & Knapp 1987, pp. 286

[5] Dean, Winton (1969). Handel and the Opera Seria.

University of California Press. p. 19. ISBN 9780520014381.

[30] Bukofzer (2008), pp. 33335

[6] George J. Buelow (2004). A History of Baroque Music.

p. 476. Indiana University Press, 2004
[7] Deutsch 1955, p. 1
[8] Adams Aileen, K., Hofestadt, B., "Georg Handel (1622
97): the barber-surgeon father of George Frideric Handel
(16851759)", Journal of Medical Biography, 2005, Aug;
[9] National Portrait Gallery, p. 51

[29] Burrows 1994, p. 77

[31] Rolland, R. (1910) Hndel, p. 54. Beroemde musici.

[32] Dean & Knapp 1987, p. 209
[33] Deutsch 1955, pp. 7071
[34] Handels Finances, on bbc.co.uk
[35] Deutsch 1955, p. 89
[36] Dean 2006, p. 226 According to Dean they could not have
reached London before 1716. In 1743, Smith wrote in a
letter that he had been in Handels service for 24 years.

[10] Dent 2004, pp. 34

[37] Burrows 1994, p. 387

[11] Friedrich Chrysander states it was not his half-brother but

the 10-years older (!) nephew, who had to address George
Friedrich as his uncle. zeno.org

[38] In 2000, the upper stories of 25 Brook Street were leased

to the Handel House Trust, and after extensive restoration,
the Handel House Museum opened to the public with an
events programme of baroque music.

[12] Weissenfels is 34 km south of Halle; a one-way trip on foot

would have taken them about seven hours. As they went
by coach they travelled faster. For more details see: The
life of Handel by Victor Schoelcher, books.google.com
[13] Philip J. Bone, The Guitar and Mandolin, biographies of
celebrated players and composers for these instruments,
London: Schott and Co., 1914.
[14] Keates 1985, pp. 1718
[15] Burrows 1994, p. 18
[16] Burrows 1994, p. 19
[17] Handel as Orpheus: voice and desire in the chamber cantatas by Ellen T. Harris, books.google.com
[18] Burrows 1994, pp. 2930
[19] Mainwaring, John (1760). Memoirs of the Life of the
Late George Frederic Handel. London: Printed for R.
and J. Dodsley. p. 52.
[20] Dean & Knapp 1987, p. 129

[39] Deutsch 1955, p. 194

[40] Imogen Levy (2 June 1953). Guide to the Coronation
Service. Westminster Abbey. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
[41] ""Longest running Plays in London and New York, Stage
[42] theatrical monopoly in Banham, Martin The Cambridge
guide to theatre pp. 1105 (Cambridge University Press,
1995) ISBN 0-521-43437-8
[43] Handels Compositions GFHandel.org, Retrieved 21 December 2007
[44] Dent, Edward J., Handel, Hardpress Publishing, (2010),
ISBN 978-1407651415
[45] Dent 2004, p. 33
[46] Synopsis of Arianna in Creta. Handelhouse.org. Handel
House Museum. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
[47] Dean 2006, pp. 274284


[48] Dean 2006, p. 288

[49] Burrows 1994, p. 395
[50] Dean 2006, p. 283
[51] For new insights on this episode, see Ilias Chrissochoidis:
Handel Recovering: Fresh Light on his Aairs in 1737,
Eighteenth-Century Music 5/2 (2008): 23744.
[52] Deutsche Oper am Rhein: Xerxes, a book issued
in 2015, containing information concerning the original
opera, as well as a contemporary production
[53] Wikipedia page Serse
[54] A New Chronology of Venetian Opera and Related Genres, 1660-1760 by Eleanor Selfridge-Field, p. 492
[55] Hicks 2013.
[56] Marx, J.H. (1998) Hndels Oratorien, Oden und Serenaten, p. 243.
[57] National Portrait Gallery, p. 157
[58] Larsen 1972, p. 15 Handels Messiah. A distinguished authority on Handel discusses the origins, composition, and
sources of one of the great choral works of western civilization.

[78] Handel as art collector Thomas McGeary.

Em.oxfordjournals.org. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 13
April 2012.
[79] Textbook in CD Sacred Arias with Harp & Harp Duets by
Rachel Ann Morgan & Edward Witsenburg.
[80] John Mainwaring, Memoirs of the Life of the late George
Frederic Handel, ed. Ilias Chrissochoidis (Stanford,
2015), 83-89.
[81] Winton Dean, The New Grove Handel. NY: Norton,
1982, p. 116. ISBN 0-393-30086-2.
[82] The Halle Handel Edition. A short history of editing
Handel. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
[83] Best, Terence, ed. Handel collections and their history, a
collection of conference papers given by the international
panel of distinguished Handel scholars. Clarendon Press,
[84] Prince Hoare, ed. (1820). Memoirs of Granville Sharp.
Colburn. p. XII. ...he had a voluminous collection of Handels scores...
[85] p 239. Handel, a celebration of his life and times, 1685
1759. Jacob Simon, National Portrait Gallery (Great
Britain), 1985.

[59] Larsen 1972, p. 26

[60] Marx, J.H. (1998) Hndels Oratorien, Oden und Serenaten, p. 48.
[61] Larsen 1972, p. 66
[62] Larsen 1972, p. 49
[63] Larsen 1972, p. 40
[64] Larsen 1972, p. 33
[65] Burrows, Donald (2012). Handel (Master Musicians Series). Oxford University Press, USA; 2 edition. p. 217.
ISBN 978-0199737369.
[66] Larsen 1972, p. 37
[67] National Portrait Gallery, p. 165
[68] Larsen 1972, pp. 16, 3941
[69] Larsen 1972, p. 78
[70] Dent 2004, pp. 4041
[71] Young 1966, p. 48
[72] Burrows 1994, pp. 35455
[73] Burrows 1994, pp. 29798
[74] Young 1966, p. 56
[75] Dent 2004, p. 63

[86] BBC Press Release. Bbc.co.uk. 13 January 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
[87] Dent 2004, p. 23
[88] Young, Percy Marshall (1 April 1975) [1947]. Handel
(Master Musician series). J.M.Dent & Sons. p. 254. ISBN
[89] Richard Taruskin, The Oxford History of Western Music,
Oxford University Press, 2005, vol. 2, chapter 26, p. 329,
ISBN 0195222717
[90] Alexander Silbiger, Scarlatti Borrowings in Handels
Grand Concertos, The Musical Times, v. 125, 1984, pp.
[91] A comprehensive bibliography through 2005 can be found
in Mary Anne Parker, G. F. Handel: A Guide to Research,
Routledge, 2005, ISBN 1136783598, pp. 114.135
[92] John H. Roberts, Why Did Handel Borrow?", in Handel:
Tercentary Collection, edited by Stanley Sadie and Anthony Hicks, Royal Musical Association, 1985, pp. 83
92, ISBN 0-8357-1833-6
[93] For All the Saints: A Calendar of Commemorations for
United Methodists, ed. by Clifton F. Guthrie (Order of
Saint Luke Publications, 1995, ISBN 1-878009-25-7) p.


[76] Young 1966, p. 60

[77] The Letters and Writings of George Frideric Handel by
Erich H. Mller, 1935 (SBN 8369-5286-3)

Burrows, Donald (1994). Handel. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-816470-X

Burrows, Donald (1997). The Cambridge Companion to Handel. Cambridge Companions to Music.
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-45613-4
Bukofzer, Manfred F., Music in the Baroque Era
From Monteverdi To Bach, Read Books, UK, 2008
ISBN 1443726192 ISBN 9781443726191
Chrissochoidis, Ilias. Early Reception of Handels Oratorios, 17321784: Narrative Studies
Documents (PhD dissertation, Stanford University,
2004), available through UMI.
Chrissochoidis, Ilias. "Handel at a Crossroads:
His 17371738 and 17381739 Seasons ReExamined", Music & Letters 90/4 (November 2009),


Hogwood, Christopher. Handel. London: Thames

and Hudson, 1984. ISBN 0-500-01355-1
Keates, Jonathan. Handel, the man and his music.
London: V. Gollancz, 1985. ISBN 0-575-03573-0
Keates, Jonathan (1985). Handel: The Man and His
Music. New York: St Martins Press.
Larsen, J.P. (1972). Handels Messiah. London:
Adams and Charles Black Limited.
Leopold, Silke. Hndel die Opern Brenreiter 2009,
ISBN 978-3-7618-1991-3
McGeary, Thomas (2013). The Politics of Opera in
Handels Britain. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-00988-2.

Chrissochoidis, Ilias. "Handel, Hogarth, Goupy:

Artistic intersections in Handelian biography",
Early Music 37/4 (November 2009), 577596.

Mainwaring, John (1760). Memoirs of the Life of

the Late George Frederic Handel. London: Printed
for R. and J. Dodsley.

Chrissochoidis, Ilias. "'hee-haw ... llelujah': Handel among the Vauxhall Asses (1732)", EighteenthCentury Music 7/2 (September 2010), 221262.

Meynell, Hugo. The Art of Handels Operas, The

Edwin Mellen Press (1986) ISBN 0-88946-425-1

Dean, Winton; Knapp, John Merrill (1987). Handels Operas, 17041726. 1. Oxford: Clarendon
Press. ISBN 0-19-816441-6.
Dean, Winton (2006). Handels Operas, 1726
1741. The Boydell Press.
Deutsch, Otto Erich (1955). Handel: A Documentary Biography.
Dent, Edward Joseph (2004). Handel. R A
Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 1-4191-2275-4.
Frosch, W. A., The case of George Frideric
Handel, New England Journal of Medicine,
1989; 321:765769, 14 September 1989.
Harris, Ellen T. (general editor) The librettos of
Handels operas: a collection of seventy librettos documenting Handels operatic career New York: Garland, 1989. ISBN 0-8240-3862-2
Harris, Ellen T. Handel as Orpheus. Voice and Desire in the Chamber Cantatas Harvard University
Press, 2001. ISBN 0-674-00617-8
Hicks, Anthony (2013), Handel, George Frideric,
Grove Music Online, Oxford University Press (subscription required)
Hicks, Anthony, (1998), Handel, George Frederick in Stanley Sadie, (Ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Vol. Two, pp. 614626. London:
MacMillan Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-333-73432-7
ISBN 1-56159-228-5

National Portrait Gallery. Handel. A Celebration of

his Life and Times 16851759.
Young, Percy Marshall (1966). Handel. New York:
David White Company.

9 External links
Handel material in the BBC Radio 3 archives
Howell, Ian. How to Handle Spelling Hndel. The
Countertenor Voice (February 2011).
Howell, Ian. Guiding Handels Legacy: An Interview with Handel House Museum Director Sarah
Bardwell. The Countertenor Voice (May 2011).
Works by George Frideric Handel at Project Gutenberg
Works by or about George Frideric Handel at
Internet Archive
Works by George Frideric Handel at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
Edward Dents Handel biography at Project Gutenberg
The second volume of Winton Dean for Handels
Operas covering the years 17261741
Friedrich Chrysanders Handel biography (in German)
Biographical details web site

Handel Houses:
The Handel House Museum
The Hndel-Haus in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt
Handel Reference Database
Digitized images of Old English Songs, containing
works by Handel, housed at the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections
Scores and recordings
Free scores by George Frideric Handel in the Open
Music Library
Free scores by George Frideric Handel at the
International Music Score Library Project: includes
Complete Works Edition (Ausgabe der Deutschen
Free scores by George Frideric Handel in the Choral
Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki)
The Mutopia Project provides free downloading of
sheet music and MIDI les for some of Handels
Free typeset sheet music of Handels works from
Handel cylinder recordings, from the Cylinder
Preservation and Digitization Project at the
University of California, Santa Barbara Library.
Handels Sheet Music by free-scores.com
Kunst der Fuge: George Frideric Handel MIDI





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