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George Frideric Handel
Short Name: George Frideric Handel
Full Name: Handel, George Frideric, 1685-1759
Birth Year: 1685
Death Year: 1759

Georg Friederich Handel (b. Halle, Germany, 1685; d. London, England, 1759) became a musician and composer despite objections from his father, who wanted him to become a lawyer. Handel studied music with Zachau, organist at the Halle Cathedral, and became an accomplished violinist and keyboard performer. He traveled and studied in Italy for some time and then settled permanently in England in 1713. Although he wrote a large number of instrumental works, he is known mainly for his Italian operas, oratorios (including Messiah, 1741), various anthems for church and royal festivities, and organ concertos, which he interpolated into his oratorio performances. He composed only three hymn tunes, one of which (GOPSAL) still appears in some modern hymnals. A number of hymnal editors, including Lowell Mason, took themes from some of Handel's oratorios and turned them into hymn tunes; ANTIOCH is one example, long associated with “Joy to the World.”

Bert Polman


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