G. F. Handel
1685 - 1759
George Frederick Handel - one of the greatest composers of the late
Baroque era - was born in Germany but spent 40 years in England,
where he directed and composed operas as director of the Academy of Music.
Handel was born in Halle, Germany where he became an organist of the Cathedral at the age of 17.
Later he worked as a violinist and keyboard player in the Hamburg opera orchestra. In 1706 he moved for four years to Italy where he studied opera. There he established a reputation as a keyboard virtuoso, and as an operatic composer.
In 1720 he worked at the King's Theatre, London. He produced several operas influenced by his experience in Italy, but slowly he began composing oratorios in English.
After a stroke in 1737, he recovered, and afterwards wrote some of his most memorable work. With the composition of the 'Messiah' oratorio (1742) the entire baroque tradition reached ist climax. His enormous work included over 40 operas, about 20 oratorios, cantatas, sacred music, and orchestral, instrumental, and vocal works.
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