Getting a Handle on Handel!

Bath Recitals’ ‘Candlelit Spring Extravaganza’ features three fantastic works by one of the greatest of all Baroque composers. But here are five interesting things you may not know about George Frederic Handel…

1. Handel’s nickname was ‘The Great Bear’ – not only due to his walking style and large stature, but also because of his reportedly fiery temper!

2. Handel was not allowed to play music at home because his father disapproved of his musical aspirations. He used to sneak into the attic to play the clavichord his mother had smuggled there. Handel initially studied law at the University of Halle before dropping out to become a musician.

3. Handel was almost killed in a duel with fellow composer, Johann Mattheson after a brawl broke out at the premiere of Mattheson’s opera. Handel narrowly escaped one of Mattheson’s sword thrusts by a large metal button on his coat.

Afterwards they reconciled their differences and remained friends for the rest of their lives.

4. One of Handel’s most famous works is ‘Zadok The Priest’ written for King George II’s coronation in 1727. But fans of the UEFA Champions League may also recognise their anthem is an adaptation of several elements from Handel’s original composition reshuffled and transformed to suit the new context.

5. Although born and educated in Germany, Handel’s fame was so great that many Brits claimed him as their own. After the debut of his opera Rinaldo he moved into 25 Brook Street, Mayfair, London in 1712. (Guitarist Jimi Hendrix was later to live next door – the two homes are now a museum).

Although appointed as Composer of Music of the Chapel Royal for King George I, the Schism Act of 1714 prohibited him from working without a licence from a bishop. The 1727 ‘Handel Naturalisation Act’ made him a naturalised British Citizen.

Handel’s Water Music

The highlight of Bath’s Spring Season

Handel's Water Music

St Michael’s Church, Broad St, Bath BA1 5LJ
20 April 2024, 7.30pm Tickets £14-£30

Handel: Water Music Suite No.1 F major
Handel: Concerto for Organ The Cuckoo and the Nightingale
Handel: The Choice of Hercules

Supported by The Joyce Fletcher Charitable Trust