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Georg Friedrich Händel also known as George Frideric Frederick Handel - View Sheet Music for this Artist
  • a.k.a.: George Frederick (Frideric) Handel
  • German
  • 23rd February 1685 - 14th April 1759
  • You might know him for: Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah (feat. in the film Bridget Jones’ Diary) and Water Music Suite (Allegro feat. in the film Dead Poet’s Society)

History would have certainly changed, if Georg Händel’s father had had anything to do with it. His 63-year old father despised the music profession, denouncing it as an “undignified sort of amusement.” Himself a barber, lawyer, and a doctor, he expected young Händel to become a lawyer as well. Seeing a passion for music in his son, Georg’s father thwarted any chance of musical distraction and kept him home from school and locked away all musical instruments as a precaution against accidentally learning about music. But Händel, having found an old spinet in the attic, silently learned the instrument while the household slept at night. The Duke of a nearby town convinced Händel’s father that he become a musician, and Händel’s life was then changed forever. His father’s death prompted him to earn his own living and so he a move to Hamburg was imminent.

And so, Händel’s music career began as a violinist in an opera. After becoming successful, he moved to Italy for some time, then to Hanover, finally settling in London in 1713. Händel’s Water Music (1717), a group of popular orchestral pieces was so named because Händel’s patron, King George I, sailed down the Thames accompanied to this music. Although Händel was German, he spent most of his life in England and later became a British citizen in 1726. His anthem, Zadok the Priest (1727), written for the coronation of King George II, has been used for every subsequent British coronation to this day. Händel was the composer of many fine operas and oratorios (dramas based on sacred subjects), among many other genres. He wrote the world’s most famous oratorio, Messiah (1741). Taken right from biblical scripture, it is divided into three parts depicting the coming of and birth of Christ, his death and resurrection, and doctrines of faith and immortality. Upon hearing the oratorio, Haydn exclaimed, “He is the master of us all!” Beethoven himself claimed Händel was the greatest composer that ever lived. Although it didn’t adversely affect his work, Händel lived with blindness for the last 7 years of his life as a result of unsuccessful eye surgery.

Georg Friedrich Händel’s musical genius has inspired musicians and brought audiences to their feet since the world first heard from him almost 300 years ago. Together with Joahnn Sebastian Bach he was one of the most influential musicians of the Baroque Era. Händel’s passion and creativity made him a favorite within European high society, most notably in England. After a lifetime of riches and success, he died in London and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

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