George Frideric Handel was born in 1685, in the German town of Halle. He studied briefly at the University of Halle and moved to Hamburg in 1703, where he served as a violinist in the opera orchestra.  and subsequently as harpsichordist and composer.

In 1706, Handel was in Italy where where he further developed his mastery of Italian musical style. There, he met Corelli, Scarlatti, and other leading figures. He rapidly attained the mastery of Italian style in opera, chamber music and vocal music.

In 1710, he was appointed the court conductor in Hanover and was invited to write an opera, Rinaldo, for London. He settled in London permanently two years later.

George Frideric Handel
(1685 - 1759)


For the next 35 years, Handel, was immersed in the operatic activities in London where the Italian opera seria was the dominant force. He enjoyed both the aristocratic and the royal patronage, and was occupied largely with the composition of Italian opera with varying financial success until the 1740s.

In 1737, Handel’s health broke down due to the strain of his operatic labours and he had a stroke. Following his recovery, he wrote a series of oratorios, among which includes the famous Messiah.

He was successful in developing a new form, English oratorio, which combined Italian operatic style with German Passion. The success of his music compositions made Handel the idol of the England and that popularity had impacted the English music circles even after his death.

In London he won the greatest esteem and exercised an influence that tended to overshadow the achievements of his contemporaries and immediate successors.

Handel was blind for the last seven years of his life but he continued to conduct oratorio performances and to revise his scores with assistance from his devoted friend, J. Schumidt.

He died in London in 1759 and was buried in Westminster Abbey in the presence of some 3000 mourners.

~ Written by Boon Sin Ler

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