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George Frederick Handel BBC Documentary Part 1 of 5

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Uploaded on Dec 25, 2011

George Frideric Handel (German: Georg Friedrich Händel; pronounced [ˈhɛndəl]) (23 February 1685 -- 14 April 1759) was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music. He received critical musical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712) and becoming a naturalised British subject in 1727.[1] By then he was strongly influenced by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.
Within fifteen years, Handel, a dramatic genius, started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera, but the public came to hear the vocal bravura of the soloists rather than the music. In 1737 he had a physical breakdown, changed direction creatively and addressed the middle class. As Alexander's Feast (1736) was well received, Handel made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742) he never performed an Italian opera again. Handel was only partly successful with his performances of English Oratorio on mythical or biblical themes, but when he arranged a performance of Messiah to benefit the Foundling Hospital (1750) the critique ended. The pathos of Handel's oratorio is an ethical one, they are hallowed not by liturgical dignity but by the moral ideals of humanity.[2] Almost blind, and having lived in England for almost fifty years, he died a respected and rich man.
Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time, not only because of his Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks. But since the late 1960s, with the revival of baroque music and original instrument interest in Handel's opera seria has revived too. Handel composed forty operas in about thirty years; some are considered as masterpieces, with many sweeping arias and much admired improvisations. His operas contain remarkable human characterization, by a composer not known for his love affairs.

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