Welcome to Day 9 in my musical countdown to Christmas. Only three more days until we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ!
Who was George Frideric Handel?
- Born February 23, 1685 in Halle, Germany, the son of a barber/surgeon
- Wanted to take music lessons; Was opposed by his father, but encouraged by his mother
- Played the organ for Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow at age 7 and was accepted as his pupil
- Composed for organ, oboe, and violin by age 10
- His father died when George was 11 years old
- At age 18 accepted a position as violinist with Hamburg Opera’s Goosemarket Theater and also taught private music lessons
- Attended Halle University
- Produced his first opera, Almira, in 1704
- Wrote and produced operas in Germany, Italy, and England
- Moved to England in 1726 and became an English citizen
- Started the New Royal Academy of Music and produced successful operas for the next 10 years
- Began writing oratorios after the opera was no longer popular
The Story behind the Hallelujah Chorus
- Handel wrote the Messiah (oratorio) in 1741 under the commission of Dublin’s Lord Lieutenant, based on a biblical libretto assembled by art patron Charles Jennens
- The complete Messiah was written in a mere 23 days!
- In April 1742, Messiah debuted at New Music Hall in Dublin
- The Hallelujah Chorus occurs at the end of the 2nd part of the Messiah, which focuses on the Passion
- The chorus presents both a single melody and then two or more melodies (polyphonic) at the same time
- The chorus ends with the presentation of “And He shall reign” arranged in the style of a fugue, a popular form of music in the Baroque period
- After Handel’s death, the Messiah was adapted for performance by a larger orchestra and choir
And just for fun – a flash mob version 🙂
- A British fleet reached Cartagena de Indias (Colombia)
- Captain Bering discovered Mount St. Elias in Alaska
- Anders Celsius, an astronomer, introduced the Centigrade temperature scale
Looking for more details?
My Gift for today:
Leave a comment below for an opportunity to win a paperback copy of The San Francisco Wedding Planner Complete Series I, which I wrote with four other authors: Jen Cudmore, Mishael Austin Witty, Sheila Seiler Lagrand, and Patti J. Smith.