For this tour, I selected three composers whom I believe are the greatest composers to have ever lived. They changed the course of music with their innovations and have influenced composers for centuries. Even today, their music and legacy live on beyond their imagination. Who are these composers?
We’ll begin this tour with Georg Friderick Handel, continue with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and conclude with Ludwig van Beethoven.
Georg Friderick Handel
Georg Friderick Handel was a 17th century composer who wrote exquisite and delightful masterpieces that share a very special place in my musical collection.
In addition to his prolific compositional achievements, Handel established his reputation as the most important composer of his generation. He was also a savvy businessman and a talented impresario.
He had a clear perception of the musical trends of his time and was quick and receptive to the needs of both his noble and common audiences.
Let’s now take an in-depth look at Handel’s life and his musical accomplishments. After this tour, you will be able to: • Describe Handel’s life and accomplishments • Identify Handel’s major compositions • State Handel’s role in history
Handel in a Nutshell
Handel was a brilliant composer who wrote a vast amount of exceptionally well crafted music.
Handel distinguished himself for writing oratorios, operas, music for the harpsichord, concerti grossi, music for orchestra and an extensive variety of sacred and secular music.
His music was regarded as the most elegant and well written of his time. Handel was a giant among giants, with other composers of the time such as Antonio Vivaldi, George Phillip Telemann, Johann Sebastian Bach, Domenico and Alessandro Scarlatti.
George Friderick Handel was born on February 23rd, 1685 in Halle, a city in Germany.
As a child, Handel played the organ at the Cathedral in Halle. Handel’s mother encouraged her son to pursue his musical dreams.
On the other hand, his father did not think the same way. He thought that music was a profession that would not provide his son with a gratifying occupation or a commendable livelihood.
The Cathedral provided Handel with the best organ and the best musical opportunities. It also provided young Handel with a safe haven to practice his music away from his father’s disaffected ears.
The Dawning of a Great Composer
His father, a barber-surgeon by trade, wanted him to become a lawyer. However, young Handel had different plans and talents.
Regardless of his musical instincts and desires, young Handel honored his father and obeyed his wishes. In 1702, Handel registered and attended Halle University to study law. However, a year later at age 18, Handel decided that music, not law, would be his life long career.
The Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels usually attended the services at the Cathedral every Sunday.
Eventually, he met young Handel during a Sunday evening concert organized by the Master organist with Handel’s help.
That evening, Handel appealed to the Duke’s musical ears and heart. The Duke was very impressed and overwhelmed by Handel’s musical skills.
The Duke eventually made financial arrangements to ensure that Handel would continue to study with the Cathedral’s master organist. This event marked the beginning of Handel’s musical career.
Handel’s musical education included a vast array of musical subjects such as music theory, counterpoint, and composition. He also played the organ and the violin.
Beginning of a Musical Tenure
In 1703, at the age of 18, Handel used his recently learned violin skills to reach a very important landmark of his musical career.
He auditioned for a vacant violin position in the Hamburg Opera House orchestra. As Handel sat with other musicians in the orchestra…