George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) was a German-born, British composer of the Baroque era who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel received critical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712), and became a naturalized British subject in 1727. He was strongly influenced both by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.
Within fifteen years, Handel had started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera. His operas show that he was not only a great composer; he was a dramatic genius of the first order. Almost blind, and having lived in England for nearly fifty years, he died in 1759, a respected and rich man. His funeral was given full state honours, and he was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Born the same year as Johann Sebastian Bach and Domenico Scarlatti, Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Baroque era. He composed more than forty operas in over thirty years, and since the late 1960s, with the revival of baroque music and historically informed musical performance, interest in Handel's operas has grown.
(Most of our recordings of Handel's works are of orchestras using historically informed period instruments).
Our recordings of Handel's works have been divided into these categories:
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