George Frideric Handel
Georg Friedrich Händel was born in Halle, Germany on 23 February 1685. He developed keyboard performing skills by the age of seven, and started composing music aged nine. He studied keyboard and composition with Friedrich Wilhelm Zachau, organist of Halle's Liebfraukirche.
Initial university studies in law were abandoned in 1703 on the death of his father, who had been opposed to a musical career for his son. Handel then took a series of music jobs, moving to Hamburg in 1704, travelling to Italy in 1706 and settling permanently in London in 1712.
He was naturalised as a British subject on 22 January 1727, and adopted the anglicized spelling of his name - George Frideric Handel - at this time.
He wrote a series of operas, oratorios, cantatas and anthems, many for use at important occasions by the British Royal Family, was director of the Royal Academy of Music, and involved with the King's Theatre and the Royal Opera House.
His most famous work, the oratorio Messiah, was first performed in Dublin in 1742, and became associated with annual performances at London's Foundling Hospital. Handel's connection with the hospital is commemmorated by a permanent exhibition at London's Foundling Museum.
He died in London on 14 April 1759, unmarried and having managed to keep his personal life private. Full state honours were given at his funeral, and he was buried in Westminster Abbey. Unlike most classical composers, and in spite of losing a fortune in the opera business in 1740, he managed to leave an estate of 20,000 pounds.
A selection of M&V articles about George Frideric Handel
CD Spotlight. Quite Sensational - Iestyn Davies' Handel arias impress Roderic Dunnett. '... pretty wonderful ...'
CD Spotlight. Skill and Daring - Todd Crow plays Brahms and Dvorák, heard by Robert Anderson. 'Todd Crow emerges not only unbowed but triumphant.'
Ensemble. Holiday Ritual - Christmas music from the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus, heard by Suzanne Torrey
Ensemble. Solid and Dependable - Derby Choral Union's Messiah, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Dramatic Effect - Harpsichord music by Handel, heard by Robert Anderson. '... exciting and eloquent throughout ...'
CD Spotlight. Crystalline Intensity - La Nuova Musica's Vivaldi and Handel impresses Howard Smith. '... recommendable for its baroque verisimilitude and clarity.'
Outstanding Playing - An organ recital by John Kitchen, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Beautifully Delivered - The Academy of Ancient Music reminds us of Handel's early career in Rome, by Ellen MacDonald-Kramer
Quiet Dignity - Organist David Pipe at Derby Cathedral, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Nostalgic and Enthralling - A Joan Sutherland portrait, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... a fitting tribute to the singing legend from Australia ...'
Ensemble. Somewhat Different - Handel's 'Giulio Cesare' live in HD fascinated Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Deeply Moving - Handel, Elgar and Mahler, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Wholly Inspiring - A recital by Elaine Huckle, heard by Howard Smith. '... her tonal resources are robust and the delivery pleasingly straightforward.'
CD Spotlight. Much Playfulness - Beethoven cello sonatas and variations, heard by Robert Anderson. 'Fournier and Gulda give Handel a rousing send-off ...'
DVD Spotlight. Decrees of Fate - Handel's 'Deidamia', reviewed by Robert Anderson. 'Musically the opera bowls along with both speed and distinction; visually it is vaudeville.'
CD Spotlight. Very Impressive - Christmas music from the Brass Band of Battle Creek, recommended by Keith Bramich. '... bewitchingly subtle touches of colour ...'
Ensemble. On Sparkling Form - Derby Cathedral Choir's Handel 'Messiah', reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Bounce and Swagger - Musica Donum Dei's 'Handel and Other Visitors to London', heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Neat and Stylish - Piers Adams plays Vivaldi and Handel, and impresses Robert Anderson. '... I would back Mr Adams against any of the elements.'
CD Spotlight. A Vital Force - Music by Handel from Ludus Baroque impresses Howard Smith. '... robust, spring-heeled performances ...'
Ensemble. From Baroque to Romantic - More from this summer's Salzburg Festival, reported by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. The Finest of Them All - The 2012 Hereford Three Choirs Festival, reviewed by Roderic Dunnett
Ensemble. Passion and Religion - Giuseppe Pennisi visits the 2012 Tyrol Festival for new productions of 'Lohengrin' and 'Tosca'
Ensemble. Less is More - Handel's 'Jephtha' at Buxton, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Incandescent Performance - Nigel Kennedy with the Royal Philharmonic and Andrew Litton, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Major Revival - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on bel canto in Europe
Ensemble. On Confident Form - Derby Cathedral Choir marks the royal jubilee, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. A Merry Noise - Handel's 'Atalanta', heard by Robert Anderson. '... acclamation from the jubilant Philharmonia Chorale ...'
Ensemble. A Special Place - Giuseppe Pennisi was in Ravenna for the revival of a successful production of Handel's 'Rinaldo'
Ensemble. Gleaming Sonorities - Handel, Haydn, Delius and Mozart from the European Union Chamber Orchestra impress Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. An Exciting Five Years - Mike Wheeler was at André de Ridder's last concert as Principal Conductor of Sinfonia Viva
CD Spotlight. Spoils of Victory - Handel's 'Germanico', heard by Robert Anderson. '... always exhilarating though less often idiomatic.'
Ensemble. Deftly Trimmed - Handel's 'Giulio Cesare', reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. An Extraordinary Performance - 'The Enchanted Island' live in HD, reviewed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Great Success - Willian Christie's 'The Enchanted Island', reviewed by Gregory Moomjy
DVD Spotlight. Dignity and Impudence - A recital on Exeter Cathedral's organ, enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. '... Millington on fine form ...'
Ensemble. A Variety of Events - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on music for the Christmas and New Year period in Italy, for children and for those who love children
CD Spotlight. Really Delightful - Christmas music from Mainstreet Brass, enjoyed by Kelly Ferjutz. 'This lovely collection really does provide something for everyone ...'
Ensemble. Invigorating Performance - Handel's 'Messiah' from Derby Choral Union, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Believable Characters - Handel's 'Rodelinda' at New York Metropolitan Opera, reviewed from the HD transmission by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Wonderfully Alert - Handel Works for Italy, heard by Robert Anderson. 'Lucy Crowe has the range, agility, and subtlety ...'
CD Spotlight. Sheer Conviction - Handel's 'Agrippina', heard by Robert Anderson. '... Handel's music survives gloriously, with singers and orchestra at top voltage.'
Ensemble. Neatly Sung - Handel's 'Flavio' from English Touring Opera, by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Energy and Grandeur - Derby Cathedral Choir celebrates the anniversary of William Boyce, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Intense and Believable - Handel's 'Xerxes', reviewed by Robert Hugill
CD Spotlight. Pure Welsh Magic - Richard Lewis, the great tenor, heard by Alice McVeigh. '... beg, borrow or steal.'
Musicianship and Panache - Michael Harris at the organ of Derby Cathedral, heard by Tony Westerman
Ensemble. Emotional Awakening - More from the Buxton Festival, with Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. The Quality of Mercy - Giuseppe Pennisi visits the 2011 Aix-en-Provence Festival and reports on four of the six operas
Ensemble. Simple but Effective - Handel's 'Giulio Cesare' in Versailles, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. In Fine Style - George Frideric Handel's 'L'Allegro, Il Penseroso ed Il Moderato', reviewed by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Inestimable Worth - Joan Sutherland's debut recital, assessed by Howard Smith. 'No other single disc has these historic performances.'
Ensemble. To Suit the Voice - Gregory Moomjy takes a sneak peek at the divas and divos of tomorrow, as heard at New York Metropolitan Opera's National Council auditions
Ensemble. An Irresistible First - Handel's 'Xerxes' in Wellington, New Zealand, enjoyed by Howard Smith
Sex and Absolute Power - Handel's 'Giulio Cesare in Egitto', reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Different Couples - English Touring Opera's 'La Clemenza di Tito', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Sensitive and Vivid - Laura Isaacson and Patricia Capone, heard by Mary Isaac
Ensemble. Unfailingly Musical - Mike Wheeler listens to Handel's Messiah from Derby Cathedral
CD Spotlight. Expressive Power - Vivaldi oboe concertos, heard by Robert Anderson. '... faultlessly delivered ...'
CD Spotlight. Striking Musicianship - Elena Kuschnerova plays Prokofiev, heard by Howard Smith. '... sparkling, lyrical and appropriately balletic ...'
Ensemble. Strongly Musical - Handel's 'Radamisto' at the London Coliseum, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Profile. Two Americans in Paris - Maria Nockin talks to Vivica Genaux and Lawrence Brownlee
CD Spotlight. Firstrate Ensemble - Accompanied harpsichord sonatas by Charles Avison, recommended by Robert Anderson. '... both brilliant and sensitive ...'
Ensemble. Performance to Cherish - Lawrence Budmen submits a further report from the Tanglewood Festival 2010
A Performance to Remember - A recital by Emanuel Rimoldi impresses Bill Newman
Ensemble. Exquisite Music-making - Miklós Perényi and András Schiff at London's Wigmore Hall, heard by Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. 'Alceste' in the Madhouse - Giuseppe Pennisi files his last report from the 2010 Aix-en-Provence Festival
Ensemble. Puzzling and Frustrating - Mozart's 'Idomeneo' at English National Opera, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ask Alice - On second careers and sensitivity, with classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
CD Spotlight. Airy Textures - Handel's 'Judas Maccabaeus', heard by Robert Anderson. '... the choral mood is everything.'
Ensemble. Under the Tuscan Sun - Giuseppe Pennisi attends the beginning of the Tiroler Festspiele 2010
A Genuine Beethoven Pianist - Simon Watterton gives a lunchtime recital in London, heard by Julian Jacobson
Ensemble. A Sensitive Account - Choral music by Rossini, Elgar and Handel, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Lyrical Powers - Orchestral music by Louis Spohr, heard by Robert Anderson. 'Howard Shelley and the Swiss orchestra clearly relish this unusual assignment.'
Ensemble. Wholly Serious - Handel's 'Tamerlano' at Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Strong Performances - Donizetti's 'Don Pasquale', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. A Crisp Performance - 'Belshazzar' at the London Handel Festival, reviewed by Robert Hugill
CD Spotlight. Chicago Baroque - Trio Settecento's A German Bouquet, recommended by Malcolm Tattersall. '... very fine performances of some rarely heard but attractive music ...'
Ask Alice - On thin ankles and recordings, with classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
DVD Spotlight. Tragic Power - Handel's 'Tamerlano', reviewed by Robert Anderson. 'The simplicity of the production is welcome ...'
Magnificent Scholarship - Robert Hugill reads the new Cambridge Handel Encyclopaedia
Ensemble. Tremendous Gusto - The Derby Bach Choir joins the 'Sing Hallelujah' project, reported by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Thoughtfully Conceived - James Judd conducts Handel's 'Messiah', reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
Ensemble. Excellent Singing - Handel and Rossini from Los Angeles Opera impress Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Splendidly Performed - Baroque music for cello, recommended by Howard Smith. 'An exemplary CD ...'
Ensemble. Strong Performances - Handel's 'Susanna' from Les Arts Florissants, assessed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. A Virtue of Necessity - Robert Hugill was at English Touring Opera's 'Alcina'
Ensemble. Dark and Serious - Robert Hugill was at English Touring Opera's 'Tolomeo'
Ensemble. An Enthralling Performance - Robert Hugill reviews Handel's 'Flavio'
Ensemble. Profoundly Beautiful - William Christie's 'Dido and Aeneas' impresses Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Buoyancy and Lyricism - Derby Cathedral Choir celebrates four composer anniversaries, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Highly Articulate - American dramatic soprano Christine Brewer talks to Robert Hugill
An Invigorating Performance - Paul Hale provides a fitting end to Derby Cathedral's summer organ series, and Mike Wheeler was there
Ensemble. Sing ye to the Lord - Roderic Dunnett was at the 2009 Hereford Three Choirs Festival
Highly Effective - Peter Gould helps celebrate the seventieth anniversary of Derby Cathedral's Compton Organ, as noted by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Diversely Experienced - Music for bassoon, harpsichord and double bass, impresses Howard Smith. '... an outright "tour de force".'
Making a Real Fuss - Robert Hugill looks forward to English Touring Opera's HandelFest this autumn
Clear Detail - Mike Wheeler listens to organist Matthew Owens at Derby Cathedral
CD Spotlight. A Real Work-out - Jane Parker-Smith at the organ of St Gudula, Rhede, enjoyed by Kelly Ferjutz
CD Spotlight. A Striking Urgency - Schnittke and Ginastera from the Choir of St Ignatius Loyola, reviewed by Howard Smith. 'Not quite what one might expect.'
Ensemble. A Heavenly Blend - Joshua Habermann conducts the Master Chorale of South Florida, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
CD Spotlight. Virtuoso Duo - Performances by the Elaris Duo, recommended by Malcolm Tattersall. '... all the passion, drama and integrity one could want.'
Ensemble. Notable Liveliness - 'Jephtha' at the London Handel Festival, heard by Robert Hugill
CD Spotlight. Easy Listening - Christina Linhardt's 'Voodoo Princess', reviewed by K C Devereaux. 'The only voodoo conjured here is the dread spectre of "Smooth Jazz".'
Ensemble. Humanity and Generosity - Malcolm Miller attends a memorial concert for David Sonin
Ensemble. Quite a Charmer - 'Alessandro' at the London Handel Festival, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. A Worthy Feast - Christopher White and Melanie Reinhard at London's Foundling Museum, enjoyed by Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. Profoundly Satisfying - 'Theodora' at the London Handel Festival, enjoyed by Robert Hugill
Intrinsic Virtue - A concert and Handel exhibition at London's Foundling Museum, reviewed by Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. A Rich Sound - Handel's 'Samson', enjoyed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Infectious Enthusiasm - Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, heard by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Imaginatively Programmed - Handel arias from the Classical Opera Company, enjoyed by Robert Hugill
Pure Fashion? - Several Composers in Search of an Identity, by Béla Hartmann
CD Spotlight. Amazing Confidence - Concertos by Handel, reviewed by Robert Hugill. '... the playing here is some of the most incisive that I have heard ...'
Ensemble. Shining Confidence - Derby Cathedral Choir's performance of Handel's 'Messiah' invigorates Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Bold and Inventive - Charles Avison's reworkings of Scarlatti, enjoyed by Robert Anderson. 'Avison's deployment of massed strings is wonderfully effective ...'
Ensemble. Strength and Toughness - Independent Opera's 'Pelléas et Mélisande' impresses Robert Hugill
Ensemble. A Superb Cast - Rossini's 'Mathilde de Shabran' at Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Very Convincing - Handel's 'Partenope', enjoyed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. A Delicate Balance - Cavalli's 'La Calisto', reviewed by Robert Hugill
CD Spotlight. Full of Delights - Handel's 'Parnasso in Festa', recommended by Robert Hugill. '... some truly superb Handel singing (and playing) ...'
Ensemble. A Wonderful Experience - Maria Nockin visits Santa Fe for operas by Verdi, Mozart, Britten and Handel, plus the first American performance of Kaija Saariaho's 'Adriana Mater'
Ensemble. Four Heroes - Mike Wheeler enjoys a multi-player organ recital
CD Spotlight. A Thrilling Experience - Kevin Bowyer plays Alkan, reviewed by Alistair Hinton. '... flawless technique and missionary commitment ...'
Ensemble. Beauty of Line - Andreas Scholl in London, heard by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Impressively Balanced - Robert Hugill experiences Handel's opera 'Teseo'
Ask Alice - On Handel and helping Russia, with Classical Music Agony Aunt Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. Dramatic Effect - Handel's 'Semele' at Grange Park, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Lithe and Springy - The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Real Drama - 'Poro' at the London Handel Festival, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Tremendous Urgency - Derby Bach Choir's performance of Handel's 'Messiah', reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Exploiting the Unexpected - Handel's 'Orlando' from Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. A Light-hearted Approach - Handel's 'Agrippina' at English National Opera, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Energy and Drama - Handel's 'Messiah' from The Sitwell Singers, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Especially Dramatic - Premières by Sheriff and McCabe, reviewed by Malcolm Miller
Record Box. Clear Vividness - The 1751 version of Handel's 'Messiah', reviewed by Patric Standford
CD Spotlight. Vocal Artistry - Vivica Genaux sings Handel and Hasse [listen], enjoyed by Maria Nockin. '... a wonderful trip back in time ...'
Ensemble. Truly Moving - Handel's 'Messiah', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. An Entrancing Evening - Handel's 'Orlando' at Sadler's Wells, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Light and Sprightly - Handel's 'Theodora', reviewed by Robert Hugill
CD Spotlight. An Audacious Performer - A recital by Mikhail Zemtsov, reviewed by Howard Smith
DVD Spotlight. Real Water, Real Music - Handel's Water Music: Recreating a Royal Spectacular, reviewed by Malcolm Tattersall. '... as authentic as we'll see and hear without a time machine.'
Ensemble. Gripping Stuff - Handel's 'Ariodante' at English National Opera, enjoyed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Simple but Effective - 'Tolomeo' at the London Handel Festival, enjoyed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Sparkling Performances - Yvonne Kenny and Iain Burnside at London's Wigmore Hall, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Inspiring and Memorable - Handel's oratorio 'Solomon', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Arresting Playing - A recital by Althea Ifeka and Katherine May, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Velvety Textures - Malcolm Miller enjoys Voces8 in London's new Foundling Museum Lunchtime Series
Ensemble. A Balm on the Ears - Handel's 'Semele' in Arizona, reviewed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Buoyant and crisp - 'Messiah' in Derby Cathedral, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Grandeur and intimacy - A performance of Handel's 'Solomon', reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Drama in the music - Robert Hugill muses on the staging of Handel's oratorios
Record box. Push the boat out - Music for trumpets, and music for baroque lute, reviewed by Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. Tragic scenes - Handel's 'Flavio' in London, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Truly magnificent - Handel's 'Jephtha' at the London Coliseum, reviewed by Robert Hugill.
Ensemble. Handel's first night thoughts - Robert Hugill was at the Cambridge Handel Opera Group's 'Tamerlano'
Ensemble. Handel's Spanish soul - Malcolm Miller attends an inspiring concert at the London Handel Festival 2005
DVD Spotlight. A dazzling 'tour de force' - Handel's 'Giulio Cesare', enjoyed by Robert Anderson. 'Graham Pushee sings with utmost bravura, fire and clarity ...'
CD Spotlight. Infectious delight - Stokowski conducts Vivaldi and Handel, reviewed by Patric Standford. 'His approach was clearly monumental.'
Ensemble. The big birdcage - Of pigeons and other strange birds at the 2004 Munich Opera Festival, by Sissy von Kotzebue
Ensemble. Gripping theatre - Robert Hugill experiences Zurich Opera's 'Radamisto'
Handel's singers - Robert Hugill investigates the fascinating world of opera in eighteenth century London
Ensemble. Handelian metal - A concert performance of 'Serse', reviewed by Robert Hugill
'Messiah' as never before - Howard Smith describes Lygia O'Riordan's quest to bring Handel's masterpiece to Eastern Russia
CD Spotlight. Musical delights - A new recording of Handel's 'Rinaldo' reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... a performance of vitality and appropriate style ...'
CD Spotlight. Breach of conventions? - Handel's opera 'Tamerlano' in a new recording investigated by Peter Dale. '... absolutely convincing ...'
Ensemble. A week to remember - David Wilkins' reflections on the opening week of the 30th International Istanbul Music Festival
Reminiscent retrospectives - Wonderful walls, with Jennifer Paull
A countertenor virtuoso - Glyndebourne's latest new star talks to Roderic Dunnett
Second Sight - Music with Wilfrid Mellers - Time and Truth. A new recording of a Handel oratorio (concluded from yesterday)
Second Sight - Music with Wilfrid Mellers - Time and Truth. 'The conductor, Rinaldo Alessandrini, handles the band with fierily precise discipline ...' A new recording of a Handel oratorio
Record box - A neglected vista. Basil Ramsey views Handel afresh
Record box - The Kirkby sound. Handel from a special voice, with Basil Ramsey
New twists - Malcolm Miller listens to American pianist John Robilette
Second sight - The Tyrant as Hero. Wilfrid Mellers, reflecting on a Handel opera (concluded from last week)
Second sight - The Tyrant as Hero. Wilfrid Mellers, reflecting on a Handel opera
Record Box - Handelian decoration - Putting on the style, with Basil Ramsey
CD Spotlight - Classical allusions. '... all the solo voices are marvellously alert and sensitive. The choral singing and orchestral playing under Robert King is robust and stylish ...' Handel and Milton, with Robert Anderson