German-born English composer (23 February 1685 -– 14 April 1759), an exact contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach
, although they never met. Handel made his name and fortune composing operas in Italian, writing over 40 of them, most of them for the English market after he moved to London; he was the first ever composer to get rich and famous from composing
. In the 1740s, the audience's taste for Italian opera mysteriously went away. After a brief period of reconsideration, Handel saw what the audience wanted and began to write oratorios in English, the most famous of which (and most famous overall) is Messiah
. (Yes, it's the one with the "Hallelujah" chorus.)
Tropes present in Handel's works:
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: He wrote the coronation anthem "Zadok the Priest" for the coronation of George II in 1727. It proved so popular that it has been used at every coronation ever since.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Pop quiz—For what event do you think "Music for the Royal Fireworks" was composed?
- Music of Note: The Messiah, in particular the "Hallelujah Chorus", is pretty much required listening. Also, don't miss the "Water Music" and "Music for the Royal Fireworks."
- Opera: He composed dozens of them, a few of which remain in the standard repertoire to this day, and others that are starting to come back in vogue.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: The "Hallelujah Chorus" has been used and abused in innumerable commercials and movies.
- Tear Jerker: The Messiah moved him to tears. Apparently he actually had a kind of religious/supernatural experience after it's first performance, when he looked again at the music and supposedly saw the face of God staring back at him.
- Urban Legend: King George II did not rise to his feet upon hearing the "Hallelujah Chorus," nor indeed is there any clear evidence he was even at the premiere. But thanks to the legend, it's become a concert tradition for the audience to follow suit.
- Also, the story is sometimes told that Handel composed the "Water Music" to earn his way back into the king's favor after a falling-out. In fact, the king specifically commissioned the piece.
Tropes present in Handel's life: