ViolinMan.com 

ViolinMan.com-The easy-to-use Violin Resource

 

VIOLIN FAMILY | KINDS LAND | SEARCH

 

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

HISTORY                         Composers

Makers

Violin History & Timeline

PERFORMERS

Violin

Viola

Cello

Bass 

Gamba, etc. 

The Roots of Famous Violinists

TEACHERS

Violin

Viola

Cello

Bass   

DEALERS                        

Listings

Specialist

Event 

LUTHERIE

Bibliography

Listings

Gallery

COLLECTING

Identification

Buying

Selling

THE INSTRUMENTS

Violin                                  Viola          Cello                                    Bass                                    Viol                   Bows                                               Tales             

LINKS

Interesting  Sites      

GALLERY

Antique Instruments

Historical Photos


George Frideric Handel was a great musician and a strong human being whose commitment to music withstood the rise and fall of his popularity. Born in Halle, Germany on February 23, 1685, Handel received little encouragement to pursue his interest in music. His father was a surgeon who felt that the appreciation of music was a sign of weakness. Nonetheless, with his motherís assistance, Handel learned how to play the organ, and eventually won his fatherís consent to study music.

Handel studied under Zachau, the organist of the Lutheran Church at Halle, and quickly became a stunning instrumentalist. After three years of training, Zachau felt that he had nothing more to teach Handel. Later, Handel performed as the assistant organist at the Halle Cathedral, and wrote compositions that were performed at church services. In accordance with his fatherís will, Handel began the study of law. However, within a year he was offered the position of organist at the Cathedral of Moritzburg. At merely the age of eighteen, such an offer was a great honor, and Handel happily accepted it.

In 1703 Handel resigned from his post, and pursued greater musical opportunities in Hamburg, the center of German opera at the time. Handel was employed as a violinist- composer in the opera house, and he composed his first operas, Almira and Nero, which met with great success. Handelís accomplishments incited the envy of competing composers, and Hamburg quickly became an unpleasant environment for Handel. In 1706 he departed for Italy where he composed his first oratorios, and was acclaimed by the royals. Handel carved out an internationally respected name for himself before returning to Germany at the age of twenty five.

Eventually, Handel settled in England. His initial compositions followed the norms of Italian operas. Yet, his later pieces took on a style of their own. Following a stroke and the failure of some operas, Handel developed a unique mode of composition, the oratorio. He is best known for his oratorios, choral dramas that emphasize arias and recitations. His use of choruses and religious sentiment in these pieces evolved into a new form of musical entertainment. Similar to operas, however, devoid of scenery, the oratorio became a genre of its own. Handelís famous oratorio, Messiah, received tremendous attention prior to its opening day, and was much awaited. Tickets sold for atrocious amounts, and music lovers publicized it constantly. Unfortunately, it was unsuccessful as audiences could not acclimate themselves to Handelís use of prose instead of a poetic text. Nonetheless, Handel was a unique musician who did not limit his life work to operas and oratorios. He wrote anthems, psalms, and chamber music as well.

Handel endured changes in his public standing repeatedly throughout his musical career. Sadly, toward the close of his life he suffered from paralytic strokes and cataracts which left him blind. Despite his inability to see, Handel continued to perform and conduct. He was an inspiration to other composers and musicians, and died shortly after conducting a successful performance of Messiah. Beethoven revered Handelís strength and creativity and stated, ďHandel is the greatest composer who ever lived. I would bare my head and kneel at his graveĒ (1824).

Notes by Shanaira Udwadia (May-2001)