Monday, February 25, 2013

Sarabande by G.F. Handel

George Frideric Handel was born in Halle, Germany in 1685 and lived to be 74 years of age. It was his father's second marriage, as his first wife who had been 12 years his senior, had died 3 years before.The composer's father was 63 when his son was born and by profession he was a barber-surgeon, though he had always dreamed of becoming a lawyer. Unfortunately, his own father's death prevented him from getting the necessary education, but he was determined that his son would study law.

Young George Frideric, however, had other plans and finally with the help of Duke Johann Adolf I persuaded his father to allow him to take music lessons. After his father's death, Handel went to University in accordance with his late father's wishes but music finally won from law and Handel began his long and successful musical career.

He travelled to Italy where he spent some years but later moved to England and even became a naturalised British subject. Handel spent the rest of his life there. His works enjoyed great success and when he died, he got a funeral with full state honours. George Frideric was not only a composer, but a businessman who started three commercial opera companies and tried his hand at stock market speculations. He also assisted various charities and even became the governor of the Foundling Hospital. Since Handel stayed unmarried, after his death his estate went to relatives, servants, friends and charities.

Handel was always esteemed highly by his fellow composers, and Beethoven called him "the greatest composer that ever lived." If you want to know more about him, you can read it here . His most famous work is the oratorio Messiah which is still yearly performed during the Christmas season. For those interested, here is another version of Sarabande which uses the video material from the Scarlet Pimpernel with Anthony Andrews.

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