Saturday, February 23, 2013

February 23

German-born British composer George Frideric Handel was born on February 23, 1685, in Halle, Saxony. He had a strong propensity for music, though his father objected. He became the music master (Kapellmeister) to prince Georg, Elector of Hanover, who would become King George I of England, where Handel settled permanently in 1712 and composed for Queen Anne. He introduced previously uncommon instruments in his works, including several types of viola, the lute and its cousin the theorbo, trombones, French horn, the lyrichord (a type of harpsichord), double bassoon, bell chimes and the harp. Handel composed a vast number of works, including 42 operas, 29 oratorios, 16 organ concerti, chamber music and more than 120 cantatas, trios and duets. He is eternally famous for his oratorio Messiah (1742). Mozart praised Handel, and Beethoven said he was "the master of us all ... the greatest composer that ever lived.”

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