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June 16
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June 16, 1710 George Frideric Handel started work at the Court of Hanover.  He was appointed Kapellemeister to Georg Ludwig, Elector of Hanover the future King George I.

Handel was born February 23, 1685.  By age 11 Handel was playing the violin, oboe, harpsichord and organ. He was appointed organist of the Calvinist Cathedral in Halle, Germany.
1909 - Willi Boskovsky, Austrinan violinist and conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, was born.

1929 - Premiere of D. Shostakovich's opera The Nose at the Mal´ly Opera Theater in Leningrad.

- JosÚ Pablo Garcia Moncayo, Mexican composer, died.

1973 - Premiere of the opera Death by Benjamin Britten in Venice at Aldeburgh, based on Thomas Mann's novella.  It was Britten's last opera.

1978 - The film adaptation of Grease premiered in New York City.

1993 - The U.S. Postal Service released a set of seven stamps that featured Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Clyde McPhatter, Otis Redding, Ritchie Valens, Dinah Washington and Elvis Presley.
George Frideric Handel
When he was 12, Handel became the assistant organist at the cathedral of Halle, where the principal organist, Friedrich Wilhelm Zachau, became his teacher.  He moved to Hamburg, one of the principal musical centers of Germany, in 1703. There he played violin in the opera orchestra. Handel composed two operas for the Hamburg theater, Almira and Nero ( both in 1705).

Handel went to Italy, where he remained until 1710. His travels took him to Florence, Venice, Rome, and Naples. Here he composed his first two oratorios, Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (1707, later revised and translated as The Triumph of Time and Truth) and La Resurrezione (1708), as well as his opera Agrippina in 1709.

In 1710, Handel returned to Germany and became musical director to the elector of Hanover. Late that year he visited England, where his opera Rinaldo was performed with great success. After another brief stay in Hanover, Handel received a leave of absence to return to London. In 1714 his former Hanover employer became King George I of England, and the new king bestowed special favors on Handel, who made London his permanent home and. In 1727, Handel became an English citizen.

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There is no Can You Guess question today, instead here's a quick story.  An English singer named Gordon complained of Handel's method of accompanying. If Handel persisted in accompanying him in this manner, he threatened to jump on Handel's harpsichord and smash it to pieces. Handel is said to have replied,

"Oh! Let me know when you will do that, and I will advertise it. For I am sure more people will come to see you jump, than to hear you sing."
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Today Handel is far better known as a composer of English oratorios than of Italian operas.  He abandoned Italian opera to concentrate on English oratorio in 1740.  Messiah was composed in 1741.  Samson (1741), Belshazzar (1744), Solomon (1748), Theodora (1749), and Jephtha (1751) date followed. Handel's oratorios are three-act dramatic works.  They are performed in concert, without staging or action. They also feature a prominent use of the chorus.

A prolific composer in many genres, Handel is well known for his outstanding contributions to English church music, secular vocal music, and instrumental music of various types.  Two of his better known instrumental pieces which you may have heard are the Water Music suite  and The Music for the Royal Fireworks.

Handel died April 14, 1759 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
While continuing to work in the Italian style, Handel began to be influenced by English  choral music.  He was music director of the Royal Academy of Music (1719 - 1728)   and became London's leading composer and director of Italian operas. In fact, he was among the most important opera composers of the baroque period.
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