The Man Behind The Messiah

George Frideric Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Baroque era. His coronation anthem composed for the coronation of George II has been performed at every subsequent British coronation. Beethoven regarded him as “the master of us all… the greatest composer that ever lived.”

Handel was born in Germany in 1685, the same year as Johann Sebastian Bach, but spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming a naturalized British subject in 1727. By 1720, having invested in stock, he became quite well off. After his enormous success with Messiah, written in 1742, he became a national icon in Britain. Almost blind, he died in 1759, a respected and wealthy man, having lived in England for nearly fifty years. He was buried in Westminster Abbey in London. On the centenary of his death in 1859, Messiah was performed at the Crystal Palace; it was comprised of 2,765 singers and 460 instrumentalists, playing for an audience of about 10,000 people. Handel generously assigned the rights to Messiah to London’s Foundling Hospital, a favorite charity of his.

Start the holiday season by coming to GraceMusic’s Messiah Sing Sunday, December 8, 4:00 pm, at Grace Church, Nyack. For $10, you can hear what all the fuss is about. Scores are available to borrow or bring your own. All are welcome, singers and listeners alike.