• Composer of the Week:   George Frideric Handel
    Handel George Frideric Handel (pronounced “handle”) was born in Halle, Germany in 1685.   His father, who was a surgeon, did not want Handel to get involved in music.  However, Handel discovered a small clavichord (an instrument that came before the piano) in a room on the top floor of his house, and snuck away for hours at a time to play it.  Eventually he and other family members convinced his father to get him music lessons.   Handel was composing full operas by age 15. 

    Handel wrote operas, oratorios, orchestral pieces, organ music, choral pieces and more.  He composed 40 operas over the course of his life, and became arguably the most famous composer of the Baroque period.  His works “Water Music” and “Music for the Royal Fireworks” are still well-known today.  However, his most famous composition is unquestionably the oratorio “The Messiah,” which is performed around the world near the Christmas season (an oratorio is much like an opera, but without the costumes, staging, dance, etc.).  “The Messiah” contains many solos and full choruses.  However, the most famous one is called the “Hallelujah” chorus.  

    Even though he was born in Germany, Handel is considered a British composer.  He moved to London, England in 1710 at the age of just 25.   He became a loyal British subject shortly thereafter.  He was also enormously popular, even among his fellow composers.   When he died in 1759 (age 74), over three thousand people attended his funeral.    




     Map of Germany and England 

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