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Famous Composers: George Frideric Handel [DVD]

Notes & Reviews:

These informative programs are a concise overview of the composer's life and times, filmed on location in the cities and places that influenced their works. Also included is a detailed list of each composer's most significant musical compositions.

Handel was one of the greatest composers of the late baroque period, and during his lifetime was perhaps the most internationally famous of all musicians.

Throughout his life Handel avoided the rigorous contrapuntal techniques of his compatriot and exact contemporary Johann Sebastian Bach, and achieved his effects through the simplest of means, trusting always his own innate musicianship.

Handel's legacy lies in the dramatic power and lyrical beauty inherent in all his music. His operas move from the rigid use of conventional schemes toward a more flexible and dramatic treatment of recitative, aria, and chorus. His ability to build large scenes around a single character was further extended in the dramatic scenes of composers such as Mozart and Rossini.

Handel's greatest gift to posterity was undoubtedly the creation of the dramatic oratorio genre, partly out of existing operatic traditions and partly by force of his own musical imagination.

Although today, as in the 19th century, Handel is best known for only a few of his works, such as Water Music and Messiah. Yet more and more attempts are being made to bring his other compositions, especially his operas, before the public. Handel's rich and unique musical genius deserves to be remembered in the extraordinary fullness of its entirety.


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