George Frideric Handel was a German-born English Baroque composer. He was a prolific composer of operas, but is better known today for a series of Coronation Anthems and other works commissioned by the royal family (Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks). His best known work is the oratorio The Messiah, which is notable for its Hallelujah Chorus.
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Handel was born in Germany and was Kappelmeister to German Prince George, the Elector of Hanover. When George became King George I of England, Handel immigrated to London to serve as the court composer.
Perhaps Handel’s best known work is the oratorio The Messiah. The work is an epic retelling of the Passion of Christ with librettist Charles Jennens basing the text off of passages from the King James Bible. The best known section is the Hallelujah Chorus. Tradition holds that audience members stand during this section of The Hallelujah Chorus.
This Handel composition was commissioned by King George I to be played on a barge as the king and his court floated up the Thames River in London.
ZADOK THE PRIEST
Zadok the Priest is the best known of Handel’s Coronation Anthems. It was written specifically for the coronation of George II and has been a part of every British coronation since. It’s based on the biblical story of Solomon being anointed king by Zadok and Nathan.
MUSIC FOR THE ROYAL FIREWORKS
Music for the Royal Fireworks was commissioned by King George II to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle which ended the War of the Austrian Succession. Its movements include La Paix and La Réjouissance.
Quizbowl is about learning, not rote memorization, so we encourage you to use this as a springboard for further reading rather than as an endpoint. Here are a few things to check out:
* How did the Music for the Royal Fireworks lead to fires, a massive traffic jam, and a colossal cannon mishap? Read here...
* How did Zadok the Priest become an iconic part of English soccer? Read more here...
* Curious about how Water Music was inspired by King George I’s desire to embarrass his son? Listen to this NPR story…
* And finally….
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