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George Friederich Handel was born in Halle Germany on February 23 1685 His father intended him to be a lawyer and Handel indeed enrolled at the University of Halle as a law student Luckily however he also had been studying with the Halle cathedral organist Wilhelm Zachow and eventually left Halle in 1703 to begin his musical career in Hamburg as a violinist and harpsichordist He subsequently traveled to Italy where he began presenting his operas and cantatas He then spent a short time in Hanover as Kappelmeister at the court before permanently moving to London in 1712 He continued to write operas church music and music for the court In 1719 King George I appointed Handel Master of Arts In 1723 he was appointed a composer to the Chapel Royal and in 1727 he became a naturalized British citizen Handel turned his attention to oratorios during a period when operas were becoming less popular In 1741 Handel received a request for a new work to benefit three Dublin charities At the time he had recently suffered a stroke and had bad health so was his financial condition During the summer of 1741 Handel was staying at the 1000-acre Gopsall estate owned by Humphery Jennings whose grandson Charles Jennens was a friend of Handels Charles a writer had been the librettist for Handels Saul Jennens wrote the Messiah libretto Handel began composing Messiah in late August and completed it in just over three weeks writing under a temple on the grounds of Gopsall estate Messiah is written in three parts Despite the works popularity today as a seasonal Christmas production only the first part concerns Advent and the birth of the savior Jesus Christ The second part relates the Passion of Christ and ends with the Hallelujah chorus celebrating His Resurrection The third part contemplates the aftermath of the Resurrection and its effect upon the world ending with the great Amen chorus Worthy is the
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