February 23, 1685; his parents were Georg Handel and Dorothea Taust.
April 14, 1759 in London
Also Known As:
Considered the creator of the English oratorio, one of the great composers of concerto grosso, one of the most important composers of the late Baroque period and master of polyphony. He also worked as music director for the duke of Chandos beginning in 1718. In 1726, he became composer of the Chapel Royal.
Type of Compositions:
He composed about 40 operas, 20 oratorios, songs and other vocal works. He also wrote orchestral music, chamber music and church music.
It has been mentioned that Handel's father didn't want him to become a musician at first; his father wanted him to become a lawyer instead. He studied law at Halle University. However, the young Handel managed to secretly play the clavichord in their attic. Later on, his father would allow him to study music under Friedrich Zachow. In 1702, he became organist at the Halle Cathedral. In 1703, he moved to Hamburg where he served as violinist and then as harpsichordist,
Undoubtedly, his most famous work is the oratorio "Messiah," he also wrote other well-received works like "Samson," his operas "Almira," "Rinaldo," "Il pastor fido," "Teseo" and his English songs "Come and Listen (The Sailor’s Complaint)," "Love’s But the Frailty of the Mind" and "As on A Sunshine Summer’s Day." His other works include "St. John Passion," "Rodrigo and Agrippina," "La Resurrezione," "Ode for the Queen's Birthday," "Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate," "Jephtha," "Water Music" and "Music for the Royal Fireworks."
Before he died, Handel lost his eyesight due to cataracts. During his travels to Italy in 1706 to 1710, he met Arcangelo Correli and the father-son composers Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti. Handel was buried at the Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
Listen to a music sample of Handel's "Water Music" (Suite 2) courtesy of YouTube.