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    Georg Friederich Händel

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    Georg Friederich Händel was born in Halle, Germany in the year 1685. He was a composer of high baroque music, writing a wide range of works for voice, solo instruments, organ and numerous concerti (approximately 50 operas and 30 oratorios.) Händel’s large musical output was matched in quality with many of his works being regularly performed to this day. 

    He studied law at the University of Halle for just one year; music was his passion outside of formal education. After only a short time in his studies, Händel took up the position of violinist and harpsichordist for the orchestra at Oper am Gänsemarkt which saw him move to Hamburg. The composition of his first opera works drew attention from Tuscan royalty and he was invited to stay and travel across Italy from 1706 to 1710. His compositions were heavily inspired by Italian baroque composers such as Corelli. This influence can be seen in his operas and oratorios such as Ariodante where the work’s text was written in Italian.

    In the later stages of Händel’s life, he moved to London upon receiving an invite from the Duke of Manchester. It was in London where he composed his most famous works including Messiah, Music for The Royal Fireworks and Water Music. The Messiah is an oratorio, a concert work for voices and orchestra, most commonly played at Christmas and Easter. It recounts the Christian tale of Jesus’ life from the Nativity to the Ascension. The widely understood storyline meant that it was instantly popular at the time and is still performed now. 

    Händel’s eyesight deteriorated rapidly towards the end of his life however he remained a plentiful composer and organist. He died in London in the spring of 1759 and is buried in Westminster Abbey, a clear sign of his high-flying position in society as he was buried alongside royalty. If you are visiting London, there is a museum dedicated to Händel at the site of his Mayfair home.

    Westminster Abbey, London

    Oliver Clayton
    Oliver Clayton
    Oliver Clayton is currently reading an undergraduate degree in Music at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where he studies modern violin with Susanne Stanzeleit and baroque violin with Lucy Russell. Whilst at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Oliver often plays in the Birmingham New Music concert series where he premiers new compositions. Oliver also works as a creative, collaborating on various artistic projects in and around Birmingham. Oliver regularly performs with the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus singing alongside the CBSO. When not playing the violin, Oliver is an avid reader of modern and contemporary fiction and writes commercially. Before attending higher education, he studied German and History alongside Music.
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