George Frideric Handel (1685–1759)

How to say the name:

‘Handel’ is said like the word handle. ‘George’ is easy to say, and ‘Frideric’ is said like ‘Free-der-rick’.


23rd February 1685 in Halle, Germany.

Monument to Handel in Westminster Abbey


14th April 1759 in London.


Westminster Abbey, London.

Type of Music:

Classical music from the baroque period.

Some famous pieces:
  • The ‘Hallelujah’ chorus (from the ‘Messiah’). (See below for a video.)
  • Largo (Ombra mai fù from the opera Xerxes).
  • Zadok the Priest.
Some great pieces:
  • The Messiah. (See the video of the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ below for an example.)
  • Water Music.
  • Music for the Royal Fireworks. (See below for a video.)
  • Organ Concertos Op. 7.
  • Operas such as ‘Agrippina’, ‘Alcina’ and ‘Xerxes’.
Some interesting facts:
  • He was the Kapellmeister (person in charge of music) for George, Elector of Hanover. This ‘George’ became George I, King of England. So Handel became the offical composer for the King.
  • ‘Zadok the Priest’ was written for the coronation of George II in 1727. It has been used at every British coronation ever since!
  • ‘Music for the Royal Fireworks’ was written to go with a fireworks display.
  • ‘Water Music’ was written to be played on a boat as the King travelled along the river Thames in London.
  • It is traditional to stand up when the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus is being played. There is a story that George&#160II was so moved when he heard it, that he stood up—and if the King stood up, this meant everyone else had to too!
  • This is what Beethoven said about Handel: “He is the greatest composer that ever lived. I would uncover my head and kneel before his tomb.”

Here is a video of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. (You might want to stand up when you watch this!!)

The ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ from Handel’s Messiah

And here is a video of part of Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, complete with fireworks (and royalty!!)!

La Réjouissance from Handel’s ‘Music for the Royal Fireworks’

Picture credits:
  1. George Frideric Handel. This is a painting from 1733. The image is in the public domain. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
  2. Monument to Handel in Westminster Abbey. This would appear to be an old drawing of the monument to Handel in Westminster Abbey by Roubilliac. If so, the image will be in the public domain. Click here for the source of this image.
Video credits:
  1. Haendel Le Messie : Hallelujah. Concert des Lycées 2005 Chorale et orchestre constitué de lycéens et quelques professeurs, apres 5 mois de travail! This translates as: ‘Concert of the Colleges 2005 Choral society and orchestra made up of high-school pupils and some professors, after 5 months of work!’.
  2. La Réjouissance-Music for the Royal Fireworks. Prom at the Palace—The Queen’s Jubilee Concerts, Buckingham Palace(2002) under the baton of Andrew Davis.