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George Frideric Handel
For High School Music History
Tiffany James
Born in Germany on
February 23, 1685
 Non-musical family
 Father did not
believe that music was
a suitable career for
his son
 Allowed him to study
music because of
natural talents
Took lessons with
Fredrich Wilhelm
 Studied the organ,
harpsichord, violin
and oboe
 Learned
counterpoint and
Enrolled in the
University of Halle in
1702, at the age of
 Cathedral organist
at the Calvinist
 Lost interest and
wanted to pursue
opera composition
Moved to Hamburg,
the center of German
 Played violin in the
Hamburg opera
 Absorbed Italian
operatic style from
playing in the
“Almira”, his first
opera was premiered
at the Hamburg
opera house in 1705
 Completed his
second opera,
“Nero” within the
same year
 Left Hamburg in
 Moved to Italy,
staying in the main
opera cities
Met many important
Alessandro and
Domenico Scarlatti,
Corelli, Caldara and
 Composed Latin
motets, an oratorio,
Italian cantatas and
operas in Italy
 His compositional
style was almost fully
developed by the time
he left Italy
Returned to Germany at the age of 25 to become
music director at the electoral court of Hanover
 Took an almost immediate leave to visit London
 Gained success in London with his opera
 Four more of his operas premiered in London
between 1712 and 1716
Royal Academy of Music
In 1718 a group of wealthy men organized a company
to present operas to the London public
 Handel, Giovanni Bononcini and Filippo Amadei
were the appointed composers
 The company was very popular between 1720 and
Handel was very active in writing, producing and
directing his operas for the Royal Academy of Music
His operas included: “Radamisto”, “Ottone”, “Giulio
Cesare”, “Rodelinda” and “Admeto”
The public grew tired of Italian opera and the
Academy began to have financial difficulties
Oratorios (opera-like
compositions set on a
religious subject) were
becoming increasingly
popular in London
 So….Handel began
composing oratorios after
the failure of the Royal
Academy of Music
Handel became a master of oratorios very quickly
He composed an oratorio, “Saul”, which was
performed 6 times in 1739
His greatest achievements in this genre include
“Israel in Egypt”, “Messiah”, “Judas” “Maccabaeus”
and “Jeptha”
In Dublin, the year 1742, Handel and John Rich
leased a theater to present oratorios every year during
Handel’s oratorios were immensely popular during this
time due to the innovations he made on the form
He composed 26 oratorios throughout his career
He lost eyesight due to
Dictated his last works,
conducted oratorios and
perfomed on the organ
1759-Collapsed in the
theater while conducting
the Messiah and died
some days later
incorporating German,
French and Italian styles
 Most important
composer of Baroque
operas and oratorios
 Internationally renown
during his lifetime