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2 CDs: The Very Best of Handel
George Frideric Handel was a German, later British baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London,
becoming well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos.
Handel received important training in Halle and worked as a composer in Hamburg and Italy
before settling in London in 1712; he became a naturalised British subject in 1727.
He was strongly influenced both by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and by the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.
Within fifteen years, Handel had started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera.
Musicologist Winton Dean writes that his operas show that "Handel was not only a great composer;
he was a dramatic genius of the first order." As Alexander's Feast (1736) was well received,
Handel made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742) he never performed an Italian opera again.
Almost blind, and having lived in England for nearly fifty years, he died in 1759, a respected and rich man.
His funeral was given full state honours, and he was buried in Westminster Abbey in London.