Biography of Georg Friederich Haendel (1685-1759)

Georg Friederich Handel.

Composer English naturalized German born February 23, 1685 in Halle and died in London April 14, 1759.

At age 7 he/she already showed his musical genius. Discovered his innate talent for the Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels, he/she was sent to study music with Zachow, the organist of the Church of Liebfrau. In 1702, he/she entered the University of Halle, and at the same time, was organist of the Cathedral, to which resigned a year later. He/She met Johannes Matheson, who in 1703 traveled to Lübeck for the post of organist of the Cathedral, where he/she worked as Dietrich Buxtehude. Upon arrival, they learned that the condition for taking the job was to marry the daughter of the musician and young people chose to give up the company. Went to Hamburg, where in 1704 he/she offered his first oratorio, La Pasión según San Juan. During his stay in this city he/she played the harpsichord or violin in the opera and premiered, in 1705, his first opera, Almira, which was very well received.

Between 1706 and 1710 he/she lived in Italy, where he/she met great musicians such as Corelli, Steffani, Alessandro and Doménico Scarlatti. During his stay in Italy he/she produced several works of importance, such as trionfo del tempo and resurrection oratorios, operas Rodrigo and Agrippina the serenata Aci, Galatea e Polifemo, and Latin church music and more than one hundred Italian cantatas. His fame spread, and in 1710, aged 25, he/she was appointed maestro di cappella of the Prince elector of Hanover, future King Jorge I de Inglaterra. The young musician travelled to the United Kingdom, where except for some professional trips to the continent, spent the rest of his life in a pleasant economic well-being. In 1711 he/she premiered with great success Rinaldo, the first Italian opera written for the London stage. Between 1712 and 1717 he/she worked mainly for the opera house in Haymarket, where pastor presented Il fido, Teseo and Amadigi. Also composed English choral music as a Te Deum a Jubilate to celebrate the Treaty of Utrecht and an Oder for the Birthday of Queen Anne.

Time of operas

In 1717 the opera was closed and entered the House of the count of Carnavon, where he/she composed twelve Chandos Anthems and Acis masks ang Galatea and Esther. The Royal Academy of Music, responsible for creating Italian operas for the King's Theatre, one of the main composers being Handel was founded in 1719. During the nine seasons of this Organization (1720-1729), represented fourteen of his operas, among them Radamisto, Tamerlano and Rodelinda. Because of rivalries among singers and Political Affairs, the Academy was closed, and shortly thereafter, Handel and Heidegger entrepreneur gave the impetus to create a second. For this company (1729-1733), he/she composed six operas, such as Poro and Ezio, on librettos of Metastasio. In 1733 the majority of singers left the Academy and joined a rival company. That same year, Handel turned to Oxford, where he/she presented Athalia. The following year he/she worked for Covent Garden, where the composition of the ODE from Dryden Alexander completo Feast (1736) was released. In these years he/she started to give his organ concerts that included, as parts of virtuosity, between performances of his oratorios.

In 1738 he/she released Faramondo and Sese operas at the King's Theatre and returned to the oratorio Saul and Israel in Egypt, but in none of these works was successful. During 1739 and 1740 occupied the theatre of Lincoln completo Inn Field, period in which composed his great twelve Concerti grossi op. 6 and the two latest operas, Imeneo and Deidamia, who were a failure.

In 1741 he/she was invited to Dublin, where he/she gave a series of concerts with great success, including the first performances of the Messiah. The 1743 season saw the success of Samson and the fall of Messiah, as the use of biblical texts in the theater bothered the bourgeois public. At this time he/she composed many of his great works, such as Semele (1743), Hercules (1744), Solomon (1749) and Jephta (1751). At the same time as oratorios, Handel was composing instrumental music, works for the King and the Church. Foundling Hospital was written for the opening of the new Chapel of the hospital in 1739, and from 1750, he/she acquired the habit of directing one or two times a year the Messiah in the Chapel, to the benefit of the hospital. The popularity of this Oratory in London is due to these representations.

In 1751 he/she began to become blind, but until the end of his life continued managing his oratorios from his position at the keyboard. His last important work is considered The triumph of time and truth (1757).


Handel had a cosmopolitan spirit and in its extensive production used six different languages, although French and Spanish melodies have minor and rarely used their mother tongue. Through his studies and travels he/she discovered French and Italian styles, the German choral and keyboard of his country music. He/She joined the influence of Purcell and the English church and theater music from 1710.

The theatre was the center of their activity and for more than thirty years wrote operas in the form of the Italian opera seria. In large part, his cantatas are sketches of operas and many of them are really operas or lyrical scenes. Thirty-nine of his operas, of which all except three, were composed for the aristocratic audience in London have survived.

Even the chapels, that Handel should great part of his glory, are inconceivable without the experience of the opera composer. In fact, none of his oratorios belongs to church music, since they were intended for fun and almost all are dramatic inspiration. Except for some of the performances of the Messiah at the Foundling Hospital, none was presented in churches.

Handel. The Messiah, Hallelujah.

Compositions intended for the Royal Chapel or great ceremonies reveal a concern for the framework where were going to represent, as is the case in his instrumental works. The Concerti grossi, especially the op. collection 6, carry the baroque concert to its highest degree of refinement. Concerto for organ, designed to be interpreted by the author himself, usually depart from his previous works.

Handel. Water music, Suite 1 in f major.

Handel. Ode for St. Cecilia's day. Overture.



Italian Duets: Tanti strali the Sen mi scocchi; Troppo raw, fierce troppo; Conservate, raddoppiate; No, di voi non vo' fidarmi; Mirarvi io are attempted; Is your non lascia amore; Langue, geme, sighing SI lagna; Sono liete, fortunate; Frond leggiera e mobile; 1 performers: Rossana Bertini (soprano) and Claudio Cavina (countertenor), La Venexiana. Cantus, C 9620.2. cast: Gillian Fischer (soprano), James Bowman (countertenor), The King's Consort; Director: Robert King. Hyperion, CDA 66440. Alceste and Comus; performers: Emma Kirkby (soprano), Judith Nelson (soprano), Patrizia Kwella (soprano), Margaret Cable (mezzo-soprano), John Elliot (tenor), David Thomas (bass), The Academy of Ancient Music; Director: Christopher Hogwood. L'Oiseau-Lyre, o 421479-2. The Messiah; performers: E. Kirkby, J. Nelson, E. Watkinson, P. Elliot, D. Thomas, choir of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford, Academy of Ancient Music; Director: Christopher Hogwood. Decca, Dec 411 858-2 ZB (3 CDs). Il Trionfo del Tempo e Disinganno (Oratorio in two parts on a libretto by Benedetto Pamphilj); cast: Isabelle Poulenard, Jennifer Smith, Nathalie Stutzmann, Jon Elwes, Les Musiciens du Louvre; Director: Marc Minkowski; Erato 2292-45351-2. Nine German arias: Kunft'ger Zeiten eitler Kummer, Das sitternde Glanzen der spielenden Wellen, Süßer Blumen Ambraflocken, Süße Stille Quelle sanfte, Singe, Seele, Gott zum Preise, Meine Seele hort im Sehen, Die ihr aus dunkeln Grüften, In den angenehmen Buschen, Frischfleisch Rose, Zierde der Erden; performers: Arleen Augér (soprano), etc; Berlin Classics, 0090502BC.Arias for soprano: Neghittosi or voi che fate? (Ariodante); Rapporto to the mio dolore (Alcina); Tornami a vagheggiar (Alcina); War, he/she sung, is toil and trouble (Alexander completo Feast); Sweet bird (L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato); Capricious Man (Saul); performers: Emma Kirkby (soprano), The Academy of Ancient Music; Director: Christopher Hogwood. L'Oiseau-Lyre, 436 132-2 OH. Trio Sonata in b minor HWV 386; Non sospirar, non piangere HWV 141 (Cantata); Sonata in mi minor HWV 375; Lucrezia HWV 145 (Cantata); Sonata in the major HWV 361; Hendel, non Può mia musa HWV 117; Concerto a quattro in d minor; Roberta Invernizzi (soprano) and retable Baroque (Marco Brolli, Claudia Combs, Vincenzo Onida, Rodney Prada, Franco Pavan and Michele Barchi); Stradivarius STR 33424.