George Frederick Handel

George Frederic Handel
Presented by Shaun Oaks
• I have chosen to present on Handel because I
grew up listening to his music, particularly at
Christmas time
• Biography is organized as follows:
Handel’s upbringing
Handel’s time in Italy
Handel’s time in England
Handel’s death
Handel’s Upbringing
• Born February 24, 1685 in Germany
• Began composing music at the age of 9!
• His father wanted him to be a lawyer and sent
him to law school
• In 1703, Handel left law school and become a
violinist in the local opera house
• Composed his first opera, Almira, in 1705
Handel Abroad
• Began his studies abroad in Italy (1707-1709)
• Created 2 operas while in Florence, Rodrigo and
• Created 2 oratorios while in Rome, La
Rsurrezione and Il Trionfo del Tempo
• Became the Kapellmeister to George I of
• Many would say Handel matured as a musician
in Italy, but created his best work in England
Handel Abroad (England)
• Went to London in 1710 and was paid 200 pounds a
year as Kapellmeister
• Composed his famous opera, Rinaldo, in 1711
• In 1720, Handel was appointed the head of the
Royal Academy of Music
• Handel stayed to true to the Italian opera, as
opposed to the English opera and the Opera of
Nobility was created to contend with Handel
• In 1737, Handel’s opera house went bankrupt due to
the competition with the Opera of Nobility
Handel Abroad (England cont.)
• In 1741, Handel’s last opera, Deidamia, was
• Handel then turned to religious music and wrote
the Messiah in Dublin in 1742
• While on a trip to Italy in 1751, he began to go
• Played his last oratorio, Jeptha, in Italy in 1751
• Handel died in London on April 14, 1759
• He is now buried in the poet’s corner at
Westminster Abbey
• Handel composed 20 oratorios, 40 operas, and
composed the Messiah
• Learning more about Handel has given me
greater respect and appreciation for his work
Music for the Royal Fireworks:
• Written for the royal fireworks display to
celebrate the end of the war of the Austrian
Succession in 1748
• King George was very particular about the music
and requested that there be no string
• This was difficult for Handel, but he composed a
special part for the millitary brass band
Music for the Royal Fireworks:
Overture Cont.
• Handel was not able to reveal his masterpiece as
▫ April 27, 1748, the night of the fireworks, a
pavilion burned down and the fireworks were a
• Handel first unveiled his masterpiece for a
charity event at the Founding Hospital of
• It is still considered one of the most favorite
pieces of music composed by Handel
Messiah: Glory to God
• Handel wrote the Messiah in Dublin, Ireland in
• The Messiah was composed in a remarkably
short amount of time
▫ Received the text from Jennen’s on the August
▫ Believed that he completed the outline by August
▫ It was production ready by September 14, 1741
Messiah: Glory to God
• On the last page, Handel wrote SDG, meaning
To God alone the glory
• Though the Messiah was finished, it was not
featured in the next two concert series
containing Handel’s works
• The Messiah was finally shared with the world
on April 13, 1742 in Dublin
• 700 were in attendance at its premiere and it
was a huge success
Listening Guide: Overture
• The piece begins very strong, with impressive
harmony of the brass instruments
• Strong trumpet solo slows down the rhythm
• There are simple repetitions of each instrument,
adding to the form of the piece, and they
continue to be in perfect harmony
• Flute solo keeps the tempo and helps to tie the
rest of the instruments together
Listening Guide: Overture Cont.
• The rhythm speeds up and there is a strong
• There is good contrast between the trumpets and
the bass and the rhythm speeds up. The timbre
is rich
• Handel strategically placed instruments to get
the sound he wanted
• Strings slow down the rhythm. The texture is
rich and sounds pleasant.
Listening Guide: Overture Cont.
• Brass instruments play short notes, keeping the
rhythm fast, while the strings do longer notes
• Rhythm slows and creates a nice contrast and
different texture then previously heard
• Rhythm speeds back up, timbre between the brass
and the bass is different and distinct
• Left and right set of brass section play 3 second
repetitions, while middle keeps the rhythm and adds
• Final melody is played with a strong ending fading
into silence
Listening Guide: Glory to God
• Soft rapid violins and blends with a woman
singing to create a nice harmony
• Violins slow and choir comes in singing creating
a nice dynamic and harmony
• Bass comes in and rhythm slows to about twice
as fast.
• Male and female singers as well as violinists
combine to form a nice contrast
Listening Guide: Glory to God Cont.
• Melody shines through as violins join together
• Melody is repeated one last time and the rhythm
changes to slower and softer, eventually ending
in silence.
• allegrobaroque. 16 July 2011
• anotherthink. 15 July 2011
• Bowl, Hollywood. Hollywood-Bowl. 15 July 2011
<> 15 July 2011 <>.
• Estrella, Espie. 16 July 2011
• Kandell, Jonathan. Smithsonian magazine, December 2009. 16 July 2011
MUSICIANS. 15 July 2011 <>.
• notes, 8. 15 July 2011