George Frideric Handel

George Frideric Handel
Born: 1685
Died: 1759

Handel is one of the giants of musical history – a great man in physical stature, spirit and vision. His is happy, confident, melodic music imbued with the grace of the Italian vocal school, an easy fluency in German contrapuntal writing and the English choral tradition inherited from Purcell.

Features

The 50 greatest Handel recordings

Complete with the original Gramophone reviews of 50 of the finest Handel recordings available... Read more

The Mysteries, Myths, and Truths about Mr Handel

An in-depth look at the composer, his life, and works

Not so long ago George Frideric Handel was best known to the general public for a few predictable things: Messiah, being 'German', his obesity, and for going blind. Thankfully that narrow perception has substantially altered over the last 30 years. Nowadays we appreciate that his career was often as dramatic in its ups, downs and incredible twists as the plot of one of his operas... Read more

How Mozart loved Handel

The fascinating links between the two great composers

Composers of the past did not always know their predecessors’ work as we do. Mozart’s musical upbringing being utterly of its time, the music he heard in his formative years was principally that of his older contemporaries rather than of the previous generation. Travelling around Europe with his family as a boy during the 1760s and 1770s he encountered all the fashionable local styles, incorporating them into his own with an ease that has led one writer to characterise him as a 'musical blotting paper'... Read more

How to conduct Handel

Paul McCreesh gives a conductor's perspective on Handel

One of the moments I think I became aware that Handel is a great dramatic composer was when Christopher Hogwood’s recording of Messiah came out in 1980 while I was at university: suddenly there seemed a new lightness and energy in the music which was so much more exciting than the slightly heavy-handed way of performing Handel that we’d all been used to... Read more

Handel in the theatre

Peter Sellars on the joy of staging Handel's works

Handel is, for me, the greatest dramatic composer who ever lived, but not only because of the brilliance, the dazzle, the entertainment, the pomp, the magnificence, the special effects. He goes beyond that; he plumbs the depths of his characters by taking them to their breaking-point and beyond. Only Shakespeare takes his characters that far... Read more 

Handel conquers London

The story of Handel's era-defining move to London in 1712

Never short of confidence or savoir faire, the young Handel seems to have set out to become the supreme musical cosmopolitan. After a thorough grounding in the contrapuntal tradition of his native Saxony, he honed his command of form and fluid, long-arched melody during his glittering three-year sojourn in Italy... Read more

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