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GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL Baroque Era Composer. (1685-1759). Born on February 23, 1685 in the city of Halle, Germany. Handel in his youth. Handel’s Father recognized his music ability but never really did much to help him nourish it.

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handel in his youth
Handel in his youth
  • Handel’s Father recognized his music ability but never really did much to help him nourish it.
  • As a Boy Handel would have to sneak his keyboard upstairs with him so that he could practice.
  • Handel studied music as a boy with Wilhelm Zachow
friedrich wilhelm zachow handel s first musical teacher
Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow Handel's first musical teacher
  • Born Nov. 14, 1663 in Leipzig, Germany
  • Died August 2, 1712 in Halle, Germany

Wilhelm taught Handel

  • Violin
  • Organ
  • Harpsichord
  • Oboe
  • How to compose

Handel Practiced with Wilhelm in the Liebfrauenkirche

handel leaves for hamburg in 1702
Handel Leaves for Hamburg in 1702
  • Plays 2nd Violin in the Open House Orhestra
  • Latter playing continuo on the Harpischord
  • Composed his first opera in 1704(Almira) performed January 1705 and was a success.
  • Composed a second opera (Nero) performed Februrary 1705 that did not last.
  • Composed two other operas while in Hamburg, (DerBegluckteFlorindo and Die Verwandelte Daphne) Performed in 1708, these also did not survive.
handel in italy
Handel In Italy
  • Handel Left Hamburg and went to Italy in 1706
  • Performed his first Italian opera (Rodrigo) in October 1707.
  • Handel left Italy for the winter of 1707 to produce his two oratorios, Florindo and Daphne. Later returning to Rome to direct his oratorio La Resurrezione.
return to germany
Return to Germany
  • February 1710 Handel returned to Germany, and is appointed Kapellmeister to the Elector of Hannover.
  • Kapellmeister is a German word designating a person in charge of music-making.
  • He completed the cantata Apollo e Dafnewhich he had begun in Italy.
onward to england
Onward to England
  • In the Autumn of 1710 Handel left Hannover and traveled to England via Holland.
  • Handel’s 1711 opera Rinaldo was very appealing to the English audiences.
handel dies in london
Handel Dies in London
  • Handel suffered from a stroke that caused temporary paralysis in his right arm.
  • He lost some mental faculties, and became blind in his old age.
  • Despite his difficulties he continued composing until the day he died.
  • George Friedrich Handel Died April 14, 1759

Memoir Statue, Halle Germany

composition favorites
Composition Favorites
  • Oratorio of Christ’s Life and Death
    • (hallelujah Chorus)
  • Oratorio Judas Maccabeus
  • Orchestral Water music
  • Royal Fireworks music
hallelujah chorus
Hallelujah Chorus
  • This is one of Handel’s most popular choruses from the oratorio of Christ’s life and Death.
  • It is commonly performed at Christmas time.
  • Composed in London during the summer of 1741 and premiered in Dublin, Ireland on 13 April 1742
oratorio judas maccabeus
Oratorio Judas Maccabeus
  • The first performance was in Covent Garden, April 1 1747
  • It became one of Handel’s most famous oratorio’s, being second only to “Messiah”.
  • This oratorio consists of 3 acts.
water music
Water Music
  • Handel’s collection of orchestral movements often called 3 suites.
  • Premiered July 17, 1717, when King George I requested a concert on the river Thames.
  • 50 musicians performed on a barge near the royal barge, where the King and close friends could listen.
  • The instruments required for a complete performance are a flute, two oboes, one bassoon, two horns, two trumpets, strings, and continuo.
fireworks music
Fireworks Music
  • Considered a wind band suite, created by Handel in 1749 under contract with King George II.
listeners guide
Listeners Guide


  • “An extended musical setting of a sacred text made up of dramatic, narrative and contemplative elements.”


  • The Messiah, is an oratorio written in Dublin, Ireland, in 1742

No. 1 Overture

  • 0:00 Introduction: Overture, (Instrumental) In quadruple simple meter the first violins begin along with cello and bass.
  • 0:15 second violins enter along with the clarinets.
  • 1:00 the clarinets enters in minor mode, suggestive of the dark and foreboding times during Christ’s life and death.
  • 1:25 violins along with the clarinets play harmoniously together, in minor mode.
  • 2:03 First violins begin in major mode, playing in vivace style, (lively and fast) cellos and bass joining shortly after, all strings playing in harmony.
  • 4:06 Strings start with full orchestra following in minor mode playing a sadder sounding coda (ending).
  • 4:29Ends

No. 2 Comfort ye my people

  • 0:00 Recitative, strings begin in compound division, playing tremolo.
  • 0:17 Soloist part/ cadenza with underscoring music played by the strings. Intermittently playing tremolo. Notice how the violins in this part are playing sets of three notes or triads. The soloist has a wide range with the contour or shape of the solo or candeza
  • 3:00 underscoring music is played in chords with short pauses. Soloist sings with a wide conjunctive range.
  • 3:30 Ends

No. 3 Every Valley Shall be Exalted

  • 0:00 Air, Cadenza (soloist) underlying music played by strings. Played in quadruple meter.
  • 0:48 notice here the soloist uses vibrato in his voice, the pitch raising and lowering rapidly. Notice he is also singing in major mode and on many notes he holds the note for a few beats singing with vibrato.
  • 1:08 “Every mountain and hill may glow” This portion on “every mountain” he sings higher then drops a full octave to “may glow” he has a wide range, with portions of this solo being sung in a disjunctive manner but we also notice that portions are conjunctive as well. high, low, high, low
  • 3:53 Ends, the coda or last twenty seconds are played by the orchestra alone.

No. 4 And The Glory of The Lord

  • 0:00 Chorus Introduction played by the orchestra, with the choir entering shortly after. This portion has men singing first then women echoing. Notice how it sounds like a rondo. And the order of how they enter is that of a fugue.
  • 0:15 Choir sings a cappella, singing in a disjunctive manner and with a wide range.
  • 0:48 Orchestra joins with the choir with consonance. Notice how the orchestra and choir take turns choir sings then orchestra plays then choir then all together.
  • 3:19 End, song ends with two defining chords called a cadence. Choir sings these two last chords alone holding the chords for 2-3 seconds each.

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