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Georg Friedrich Händel

Georg Friedrich Händel

Acis and Galatea  Royal Opera House  01-04-2009
Georg Friedrich Händel
Royal Opera House

Georg Friedrich Händel's life

Georg Friedrich Händel, was born in 1685. German-born English composer of the late Baroque era, noted particularly for his operas, oratorios, and instrumental compositions. He wrote the most famous of all oratorios, Messiah (1741), and is also known for such occasional pieces as Water Music (1717) and Music for the Royal Fireworks(1749).
Handel showed a marked gift for music and became a pupil of the composer Friedrich W. Zachow, learning the principles of keyboard, performance and composition from him. In 1702 he enrolled as a law student at the University of Halle. He also became organist of the Reformed Cathedral in Halle, but he served for only one year before moving to Hamburg. There, he joined the violin section of the opera orchestra. In 1705 he presided over the premiere in Hamburg of his first opera, Almira.
Handel spent the years 1706–10 travelling in Italy, where he met many of the greatest Italian musicians of the day. He composed many works in Italy, including two operas, numerous Italian solo cantatas, oratorios, the serenata Aci, Galatea e Polifemo (1708), and some church music. His opera Agrippina enjoyed a sensational success at its premiere in Venice in 1710. Handel’s years in Italy influenced his musical style. His mastery of the Italian opera style quickly made him an international figure. Handel spent the rest of his life in England becoming a British subject, which enabled him to be appointed a composer of the Chapel Royal. He managed to finish the last of his oratorios, Jephtha, which was performed at Covent Garden Theatre, London, in 1752. He died in 1759 and he was buried in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.

Händel's Operas

Almira (1704), Aci Galatea e Polifemo (1708), Agrippina (1709), Tolomeo (1711) Rinaldo (1711), Il pastor fido (1712), Flavio(1723), Giulio Cesare (1723), Rodelinda (1724), Admeto (1726), Alessandro (1726), Ezio (1731), Acis and Galtea (1732), Alcina (1735), Ariodante (1735), Giustino (1737), Serse (1738), Deidamia (1740).


Händel's Acis and Galatea

Acis and Galatea is a mythological-pastoral masque composed in 1718 for the Count of Carnarvon, who after became Duke of Chandos, where Händel worked at the beautiful abode in Cannons, not far from London, after the King's Theatre was closed. Here, the Count lived like a prince, surrounded by hundreds of Swiss Guards, showing off his wealth and entertaining himself with the arts. In Cannons, Händel composed important operas: the famous Anthems, the first version of the oratory Esther and Acis and Galatea.

Händel's Aci, Galatea e Polifemo

Aci, Galatea e Polifemo by Händel premiered in Naples in 1708, in the shape of a serenade, and it contained such beautiful pages, rich in harmonies, to be used by the author in many stories for music and oratories. The opera-serenade was revised in 1718 and delivered as a masque, then in 1732 again as a serenade in three parts, when Händel had already left Italy for England. The musical sheet is full of expressive refinements, framed in a game of harmonic colours: a small jewel of Baroque musical theatre, among many titles yet to be fully discovered.
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