Marking the 336th anniversary of George Friderick Handel’s birth in 1685
Georg Friedrich Händel was a German composer born in Halle on 23 February 1685, naturalized English, of the Baroque period, who spent most of his career in London, becoming well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, big concertos and organ concerts. Handel received musical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712; he became a naturalized British citizen in 1727.
The prevailing tendency is to write his name as it was originally, in the German style, although the composer (as was usual at that time) was called Handel from when he landed in England until the end of his life. He was heavily influenced by both the great Italian Baroque composers and the Middle German polyphonic choral tradition.
Handel is considered to be one of the greatest composers of the Baroque period and his works were very popular also during his life. He composed various pieces that have remained in the most favourite list for centuries: Royal Firework Music, Water Music, Messiah. One of his coronation anthems, Zadok the priest, commissioned for the coronation of King George II in 1727, has been performed at every coronation of a British monarch since.
Handel’s compositions include 42 operas, 25 oratorios, more than 120 cantatas, trios and duets, numerous arias, chamber music, a large number of sacred music, odes and serenades, 18 large concertos and 12 organ concerts. His most famous work of his, the Messiah oratorio with its “Hallelujah” choir, is among the most popular works of choral music and has become the focus of the Christmas season,
Below you can find a YouTube video with one of my favourite pieces by Handel, Lascia ch’io pianga, with the extraordinary performance by boy soprano Aksel Rykkvin for the 80th birthday party of King Harald of Norway.
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