Georg Friedrich Händel
George Frideric Händel,
born in 1685, can be seen as one of the most successful and versatile
composers of the Baroque era. Born in Halle (Germany), Handel had his
musical education with Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow, the main organist of
the city at that time. At an early age, Handel showed his talents
clearly which made Zachow decide to give Handel a well-grounded
education and making him copy many scores from his private library
that exposed the young boy to different schools and traditions, such
as the Italian, German and French.
Drawn to compose secular and dramatic works, Handel moved to Italy, by request of the Medici family, in 1706. During that period the opera was prohibited by the Roman Catholic church. In that period, Handel composed mainly cantatas. In 1710, he moved to England where he would stay until his death in 1759.
Among the great number of pieces that he wrote are 42 operas, 120 cantatas and 29 oratorios, of which the Messiah is until today the most famous. The solo and trio sonatas (with basso continuo) are written for many different instruments including, viola da gamba, flute/recorder, violin and oboe (of which Handel was very fond). It was a common baroque practise to have the solo instruments be replaced. The violin sonata in G minor, for instance, was published as oboe sonatas by his publishers.
The authenticity of some of his chamber works are debatable. It is known that at least four violin sonatas are spurious. (HWV 368,370,372,373)