90. George Frideric Handel [365 Composers for 2013]


31st March – George Frideric Handel

Handel (23rd February 1685 – 14th April 1759) is our composer for 31st March, to mark Easter Sunday.
Nationality: German born, British
Lifespan: 74 years
Genre: Baroque
Education: Halle, Hamburg
Fame Ranking: 1

We’ve picked Handel for our Easter Sunday composer, because his celebrated oratorio “Messiah” was actually originally a work written for the Easter celebration. It was premiered in Dublin on April 13, 1742.

Handel was born in Germany to a family which were not keen on his musical pursuits. He played keyboard in his attic so that no one would hear him. As a young man he took up positions as an organ player and violinist, and then travelled to Italy where he immersed himself in opera. On his return to Germany he became a composer in Hannover court. His employer was the Elector of Hannover, who went on to become King George I of England. It was with these connections that Handel moved over to England in 1712, becoming an English citizen about 15 years later.

Handel was a prolific composer who was highly regarded in his own lifetime and who is held in equally high esteem today. He wrote  over forty operas, as well as anthems, oratorios and organ concertos. His most famous works, apart from the “Messiah”, include his “Water Music” (written at George I’s request for a concert on the River Thames), and “Music for the Royal Fireworks” (which took place in London’s Green Park).

Here is the famous “Hallelujah Chorus” from the “Messiah”. Happy Easter!


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