George Frideric Handel, certainly one of the founding fathers of music, introduced new types of music and affected the many composers who followed him. Handel was born on February 23, 1685 in Halle, a town in Germany. He was a very bright man not only was he a prodigy in music, but he also was trained in law. Handel played the organ, violin, harpsichord, and composed songs. His music influenced that of Mozart and maybe even Beethoven. The other famous composer of Handel’s time was Bach. They made an attempt to work with each other but they never did. The irony between both Handel and Bach is that they were born in the same year and both died from the same disease. From an early age, Handel began his career in music at an early age playing violin and composing music at age 18 for Hamburg’s German Opera in 1703. Three years later, he traveled to Italy, where he tried to master the Italian style of music. In Italy he met the leading composers and musicians and worked on pieces together which gave him more insight on music. In 1712, he moved to England where he wrote most of his music. Handel composed music for George I of England including “Water Music.” Handel composed the first London Italian opera ,”Rinaldo”. He also developed a new form of opera called English oratorio. It combined the gaiety of Italian opera with an increased amount of chorus, usually in English and religious text. His most famous oratorio is the Messiah. It dealt with the birth, passion, and resurrection of Christ using text derived from the Bible. Handel had trouble with his eyes and later he lost his eyesight totally. Shortly after he died on April 14, 1759 of sepsimia. During the time period of the late 1600s to the mid 1700s, many events occurred relating to exploring and adjusting. Catherine the Great was looking to expand the Russian empire. In Europe and America the Enlightenment period was coming to an end. Many inventors and Enlightenment thinkers were allowed to question topics and come out with new theories. The beginning of the Industrial Revolution was taking place. In America, settlers were now taking control of their colonies and working together to fight against the Indians, the French, and later their mother country, England.
This same time period is usually known as the baroque or rococo period in art, music, literature and architecture. Baroque has no specific style, more so it is a name for the style of art in the 17th and 18th century. Many discoveries in science influenced art. Religion also determined many aspects of baroque art. The Roman Catholic used the emotional, realistic, and dramatic aspects of art as a means to describe events that occurred in the Bible. General characteristics of baroque art is a sense of movement, energy, and tension. It uses contrasts of light to add a dramatic affect on the picture. The intensity and realism of baroque art sets it apart from the rest. George Friderich Handel’s advances in music helped pave the way for future composers as mentioned earlier. His talent in music was and still is certainly recognizable. Without his influence in music, we could be listening to a whole different style of music. Even though he wrote “Hallelujah Chorus” two hundred years ago, it still remains a popular piece of music to this day. This is why George Friderich Handel should be recognized as a founding father of music.