Getting A Handle On Handel Essay

815 words - 4 pages


One of, if not the greatest composer in history, George Frideric Handel, was born in Halle, Germany in 1685. His early life was one of a prodigy, performing in front of large crowds and receiving a magnitude of notice from royalty. Once he matured into the composer we know today, great masterpieces flowed forth from his creative brain. The greatest of his works, and one of the greatest in history was the Messiah. This, plus his many operas and oratorios, are what made him the infamous man we know about today.
Handel’s childhood started out like many great composers. Even though his father saw his skill in music, he was unwilling to let his child journey down the harsh, un-respected, frivolous road of a musician. Instead, he longed for the young Handel to become a businessman or lawyer, but that was soon to change. The Handel’s were very religious people, this quality of which was evidently passed down to George, and were very active in the church. Young George played the postlude in the church and it was during a service that he was discovered by the Duke of Weissenfels. The Duke passionately persuaded George’s father to advance his talent. Eventually, his father succumbed and at the age of 9, George was placed under the only teacher he had during his lifetime, Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow. By age 11, the prodigy Handel had completed his first composition and could play the organ well enough to substitute for his own teacher, when needed. Between the ages of 17 and 18, Handel moved to Hamburg, Germany to begin his “great search for ways to work out the ideas flooding his mind.” In 1708, he moved to Rome, which certainly catapulted his thinking to a level to create the oratorio, The Resurrection, and his second opera, Aggripina, which brought him such a grand following to kick start his golden career.
While in Italy, Handel gathered attention from British royals, who eventually persuaded him to move to England in 1712, where he stayed the remainder of his life. He soon became so emotionally engrossed in his work that his mood all depended on the piece he was composing at the present moment. Within the next 30 year period, Handel wrote an abundance of forty operas. His music was as much Italian as it was German. In fact, Handel’s music is truly international, containing a sense of French grandeur and...

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