George Frederick Handel
Handel, although born in Halle, Germany, became naturalised as an English citizen, and lived in
England most of his life, working often for his patron, King George I.
the age of 17 he became organist at Halle Cathedral, then he worked in Hamburg
before moving to Italy. In Rome he became acquainted with Scarlatti and
In 1710 he met the Prince of Hanover, whose brother was searching for a new
chapel-master, and Handel took the position, on condition he could visit England
first. He then moved to London, where he wrote operas in the Italian style, and
overstayed his time there whilst still being paid by the Elector of Hanover. Queen
Anne died in 1714, and Handel's boss became King George I of England. Instead of
punishing him for his absence from Hanover, King George doubled his pension. A
popular rumour claimed that Handel wrote the Water Music for King George I
to say sorry for being away from Hanover for so long. This is probably untrue,
why would the King double his pension? But it is a nice story, epitomized by the
words "please remember me" which seem to fit the Air in F from the 7th
movement. (This can be heard from the list of Handel's music below).
moved away from opera and started writing oratorios, which were like
operas but without the stage action. Famous among these are Samson, Judas
Maccabaeus, and Belshazzar, but most famous of all is the Messiah.
He also wrote the "Royal Fireworks Music" for King George II, to celebrate
the peace treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle in 1749. Also he wrote many concertos,
called concerti grossi.
Handel was famous in his day, and was
buried in Westminster Abbey.