And since he was attracted to secular, dramatic music by meeting the Italians Bononcini and Attilio Ariosti and through the influence of Telemann , Hamburg, a free city with an established opera company, was the logical choice. Lang suggests that, influenced by the teachings of Thomasius, Handel's character was such that he was unable to make himself subservient to anyone, even a king.
Lang sees Handel as someone who could not accept class distinctions that required him to regard himself as a social inferior. His first two operas, Almira and Nero , were produced in It is unclear whether Handel directed these performances. According to Mainwaring, in Handel travelled to Italy at the invitation of Ferdinando de' Medici. In Italy Handel met librettist Antonio Salvi , with whom he later collaborated. Handel left for Rome and, since opera was temporarily banned in the Papal States , composed sacred music for the Roman clergy. His famous Dixit Dominus is from this era. He also composed cantatas in pastoral style for musical gatherings in the palaces of duchess Aurora Sanseverino whom Mainwaring called "Donna Laura"  one of the most influential patrons from the Kingdom of Naples , and cardinals Pietro Ottoboni , Benedetto Pamphili and Carlo Colonna.
Two oratorios , La resurrezione and Il trionfo del tempo , were produced in a private setting for Ruspoli and Ottoboni in and , respectively. Rodrigo , his first all-Italian opera, was produced in the Cocomero theatre in Florence in The opera, with a libretto by Cardinal Vincenzo Grimani , ran for 27 nights successively. With his opera Rinaldo , based on La Gerusalemme Liberata by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso , Handel enjoyed great success, although it was composed quickly, with many borrowings from his older Italian works. In , Handel decided to settle permanently in England.
One of his most important patrons was The 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork , a young and extremely wealthy member of an Anglo-Irish aristocratic family. The conception of an opera as a coherent structure was slow to capture Handel's imagination  and he composed no operas for five years. It is said the compositions spurred reconciliation between Handel and the King, supposedly annoyed by the composer's abandonment of his Hanover post.
In Handel became house composer at Cannons in Middlesex , where he laid the cornerstone for his future choral compositions in the Chandos Anthems. Winton Dean wrote, "the music catches breath and disturbs the memory". In the Duke of Chandos became one of the composer's important patrons and main subscribers to his new opera company, the Royal Academy of Music , but his patronage declined after Chandos lost money in the South Sea bubble , which burst in in one of history's greatest financial cataclysms.
Handel himself invested in South Sea stock in , when prices were low  and sold before He saw Teofane by Antonio Lotti , and engaged members of the cast for the Royal Academy of Music, founded by a group of aristocrats to assure themselves a constant supply of baroque opera or opera seria. Handel may have invited John Smith, his fellow student in Halle, and his son Johann Christoph Schmidt , to become his secretary and amanuensis. Handel's operas are filled with da capo arias , such as Svegliatevi nel core.
After composing Silete venti , he concentrated on opera and stopped writing cantatas. Scipio , from which the regimental slow march of the British Grenadier Guards is derived,  was performed as a stopgap, waiting for the arrival of Faustina Bordoni. One of these, Zadok the Priest , has been played at every British coronation ceremony since. The Queen's Theatre at the Haymarket now Her Majesty's Theatre , established in by architect and playwright John Vanbrugh , quickly became an opera house. Handel travelled to Italy to engage new singers and also composed seven more operas, among them the comic masterpiece Partenope and the "magic" opera Orlando.
Handel reworked his Acis and Galatea which then became his most successful work ever. Handel failed to compete with the Opera of the Nobility , who engaged musicians such as Johann Adolph Hasse , Nicolo Porpora and the famous castrato Farinelli. The strong support by Frederick, Prince of Wales caused conflicts in the royal family. Despite the problems the Opera of the Nobility was causing him at the time, Handel's neighbour in Brook Street, Mary Delany , reported on a party she invited Handel to at her house on 12 April where he was in good spirits:.
I had Lady Rich and her daughter, Lady Cath. Hanmer and her husband, Mr. Percival, Sir John Stanley and my brother, Mrs. Donellan, Strada [star soprano of Handel's operas] and Mr. Lord Shaftesbury begged of Mr.
Percival to bring him, and being a profess'd friend of Mr. Handel who was here also was admitted; I never was so well entertained at an opera! Handel was in the best humour in the world, and played lessons and accompanied Strada and all the ladies that sang from seven o'clock till eleven. I gave them tea and coffee, and about half an hour after nine had a salver brought in of chocolate, mulled white wine and biscuits.
Everybody was easy and seemed pleased. In the Earl of Essex received a letter with the following sentence: "Handel became so arbitrary a prince, that the Town murmurs". The board of chief investors expected Handel to retire when his contract ended, but Handel immediately looked for another theatre. Rich was renowned for his spectacular productions.
In he introduced organ concertos between the acts. For the first time Handel allowed Gioacchino Conti , who had no time to learn his part, to substitute arias. In April , at age 52, Handel apparently suffered a stroke which disabled the use of four fingers on his right hand, preventing him from performing.
Nobody expected that Handel would ever be able to perform again. But whether the affliction was rheumatism, a stroke or a nervous breakdown, he recovered remarkably quickly. During six weeks he took long hot baths, and ended up playing the organ for a surprised audience. Deidamia , his last opera, a co-production with the Earl of Holderness ,  was performed three times in Handel gave up the opera business, while he enjoyed more success with his English oratorios.
Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno , an allegory , Handel's first oratorio  was composed in Italy in , followed by La resurrezione in which uses material from the Bible. The circumstances of Esther and its first performance, possibly in , are obscure.
Next came Deborah , strongly coloured by the coronation anthems  and Athaliah , his first English Oratorio. It is evident how much he learned from Arcangelo Corelli about writing for instruments, and from Alessandro Scarlatti about writing for the solo voice; but there is no single composer who taught him how to write for chorus.
The most significant reason for this change was the dwindling financial returns from his operas. The performances were given without costumes and action; the singers appeared in their own clothes. In Handel produced Alexander's Feast. John Beard appeared for the first time as one of Handel's principal singers and became Handel's permanent tenor soloist for the rest of Handel's life. In Saul , Handel was collaborating with Charles Jennens and experimenting with three trombones, a carillon and extra-large military kettledrums from the Tower of London , to be sure " In his next works Handel changed his course.
In these works he laid greater stress on the effects of orchestra and soloists; the chorus retired into the background.
During the summer of , The 3rd Duke of Devonshire invited Handel to Dublin , capital of the Kingdom of Ireland , to give concerts for the benefit of local hospitals. In Handel wrote his oratorio Alexander Balus. He strikes the golden lyre , Handel wrote the accompaniment for mandolin , harp , violin , viola , and violoncello. The use of English soloists reached its height at the first performance of Samson.
The work is highly theatrical. The role of the chorus became increasingly important in his later oratorios. Jephtha was first performed on 26 February ; even though it was his last oratorio, it was no less a masterpiece than his earlier works.
In Handel composed Music for the Royal Fireworks ; 12, people attended the first performance. The performance was considered a great success and was followed by annual concerts that continued throughout his life. In recognition of his patronage, Handel was made a governor of the Hospital the day after his initial concert. He bequeathed a copy of Messiah to the institution upon his death. In addition to the Foundling Hospital, Handel also gave to a charity that assisted impoverished musicians and their families. In August , on a journey back from Germany to London, Handel was seriously injured in a carriage accident between The Hague and Haarlem in the Netherlands.
The cause was a cataract which was operated on by the great charlatan Chevalier Taylor. This did not improve his eyesight, but possibly made it worse. He died in at home in Brook Street, at age The last performance he attended was of Messiah. Handel was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Handel never married, and kept his personal life private. His initial will bequeathed the bulk of his estate to his niece Johanna, however four codicils distributed much of his estate to other relations, servants, friends and charities. Handel owned an art collection that was auctioned posthumously in Handel's compositions include 42 operas, 29 oratorios, more than cantatas, trios and duets, numerous arias, chamber music, a large number of ecumenical pieces, odes and serenatas, and 16 organ concerti.
His most famous work, the oratorio Messiah with its "Hallelujah" chorus, is among the most popular works in choral music and has become the centrepiece of the Christmas season. The Lobkowicz Palace in Prague holds Mozart's copy of Messiah , complete with handwritten annotations.
Mauro Giuliani's Variations on a Theme by George Frederic Handel, has been experty transcribed here by Rick Elliott. Plenty of musical challenges await the. The Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24, is a work for solo piano written by Johannes Brahms in It consists of a set of twenty-five variations and a concluding fugue, all based on a theme from George Frideric Handel's Harpsichord Suite No.
Among the works with opus numbers published and popularised in his lifetime are the Organ Concertos Op. Also notable are his sixteen keyboard suites, especially The Harmonious Blacksmith. Handel introduced previously uncommon musical instruments in his works: the viola d'amore and violetta marina Orlando , the lute Ode for St. Cecilia's Day , three trombones Saul , clarinets or small high cornetts Tamerlano , theorbo , French horn Water Music , lyrichord, double bassoon , viola da gamba , carillon bell chimes , positive organ , and harp Giulio Cesare , Alexander's Feast.
The first published catalogue of Handel's works appeared as an appendix to Mainwaring's Memoirs. For modern performance, the realisation of the basso continuo reflects 19th century practice. Vocal scores drawn from the edition were published by Novello in London, but some scores, such as the vocal score to Samson , are incomplete. It did not start as a critical edition, but after heavy criticism of the first volumes, which were performing editions without a critical apparatus for example, the opera Serse was published with the title character recast as a tenor, reflecting pre-war German practice , it repositioned itself as a critical edition.
Influenced in part by cold-war realities, editorial work was inconsistent: misprints are found in abundance and editors failed to consult important sources. In a committee was formed to establish better standards for the edition.
The unification of Germany in removed communication problems, and the volumes issued have since shown a significant improvement in standards. The catalogue has achieved wide acceptance and is used as the modern numbering system, with each of Handel's works designated an "HWV" number, for example Messiah is catalogued as "HWV 56". Handel's works were collected and preserved by two men: Sir Samuel Hellier , a country squire whose musical acquisitions form the nucleus of the Shaw-Hellier Collection,  and the abolitionist Granville Sharp.
The oratorios continued to be performed but not long after Handel's death they were thought to need some modernisation, and Mozart orchestrated German versions of Messiah and other works.
Throughout the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, particularly in the Anglophone countries, his reputation rested primarily on his English oratorios, which were customarily performed by choruses of amateur singers on solemn occasions.