GF Handel: a Georgian anecdote

George Friedrich Handel, 1749

George Friederich Handel (1685-1759) was a Baroque composer contemporary with Bach and Scarlatti.  He was of German extraction and in 1710 was named Kapellmeister (basically, court composer) to Prince George, the Elector of Hanover.  He worked for the Elector two years and then asked his sponsor if he would allow him to go to London.  The prince said yes, but that he must return after his visit.  Instead of returning, Handel stayed in England and became the court composer for Queen Anne.

Two years later, Prince George became King George I of England.  Handel was in a serious quandary.  Fortunately for his career, he wrote the beautiful Water Music and George forgave him.

King George I, 1706

George I ruled both England and the Electorate of Hanover until his death in 1727, spending about half of his time in each of his kingdoms.  He never learned to speak English, but began the Georgian Era which continued until 1811, when the Regency Era began with the Regency of Prince George, later George IV.  The descendants of the house of Hanover continue to rule England.

This tale is from an audio course on How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, taught by the lively and funny Robert Greenberg and sold by The Teaching Company, which I highly recommend for anyone with an interest in music.


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