George Friedrich Händel

Händel was a German Baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Born in a family indifferent to music, Handel received critical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712), and became a naturalized British subject in 1727. He was strongly influenced both by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.

Within fifteen years, Händel had started three commercial operas copmanies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera. He is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Baroque era. He composed more than forty operas in over thirty years, among which stand out Agrippina (1709), Rinaldo (1711), Giulio Cesare in Egitto (1724), Tamerlano (1725), Rodelinda (1725), Tolomeo (1728), Acis y Galatea (1731), Orlando (1733), Deborah (1733), Ariodante (1735), Alcina (1735), Israel in Egitto (1739), Il Allegro, il penseroso e il moderato (1740), Samson (1743), Sémele (1744), as master pieces of reference in the genre.

He died in 1759 at home in Brook Street, at age 74. Handel was buried in Westminster Abbey. More than three thousand mourners attended his funeral, which was given full state honours.