Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Music/Handel

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Handel, George Frederic (1685-1759)

Handel cartoon.jpg

Handel was born in Halle, Germany. His dad was reasonably well off, and did not think that music was a suitable profession for George. He wanted his son to be a lawyer.

After only one year in university, Handel moved to Hamburg, where he joined the opera orchestra playing violin. He composed his first opera at the age of twenty which was a big hit. He spent the next three years composing opera in Italy where Opera was really popular.

He moved to England after this and took a job as composer of opera music for a company trying to bring Italian opera to England. Even though Handel composed some very good opera music at this job, it never really got as popular in England as it was in Italy so the company failed.

Handel then started composing a type of music called Oratorio. Oratorios started out as sacred opera, but changed by dropping the acting parts, the stage scenery and backgrounds, and the costumes. Oratorios became a large piece of music that told a biblical story. Often these were grand works using an orchestra, large choir, organ, and soloist singers.

Handel's most famous oratorio is called “Messiah”, from which almost everyone can remember the “Hallelujah Chorus”. When Handel had finished that chorus, he tearfully told a servant “I did think I did see all Heaven before me and the Great God Himself!”