Called "the greatest composer that ever lived" by Beethoven, Baroque master Georg Friederich Händel (1685–1759) was born on this day in Halle, Germany and trained in Italy.
A brilliant organist and violinist, Handel composed Italian operas while in his teens. Moving to England in 1712, he gained fame with his first opera, Rinaldo.
His best-known work, Messiah (1742) was composed as an Easter oratorio (from the Latin oratio which means "prayer") about the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus and featured the famous Hallelujah chorus. Amazingly, he wrote this choral masterpiece in just 25 days.
Admitting that God was his inspiration, Hadel said upon completing Messiah, "I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the Great God Himself."
Philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once observed, "Raphael paints wisdom, Handel sings."
A celebration of passion, drama, and spirit, his rich and varied works include over 40 operas, over 20 oratorios, and secular vocal, orchestral, and chamber music. As performers throughout the world sing the grand Messiah every Christmas, the beauty of his melodies lives on...
Handel once said, "What a wonderful thing it is to be sure of one's faith! How wonderful to be a member of the evangelical church, which preaches the free grace of God through Christ as the hope of sinners! If we were to rely on our works--my God, what would become of us?"
Inspiration comes of working every day.