Prolific composer George Frideric Handel (birth name: Georg Friedrich Händel) was born on this day in Halle an der Saale, Brandenburg-Prussia, then part of the Holy Roman Empire. His father was a court barber and surgeon. He attended the gymnasium in his home town. It's headmaster was reported to have been a great musician. If true, this would be his first introduction to musical form. It is unclear how long his stayed at the school. Handel apparently showed a very early talent for music, a trait that his father completely would not tolerate. However, the elder Georg's attempts to stamp out the propensity only had the opposite effect on the young man. His talent on the clavichord earned him patronage for a formal musical education. After the death of his father in 1697 (for whom he composed a funeral ode), Handel entered University to obtain a liberal arts education--a promise that he had made to his father. It was his father's wish that he become a lawyer, but the pull of music was far too great. After a stint composing in his hometown, Handel left for Italy and then for London, a city that would become his adopted home. In regards to early film, there is only one film in the silent era that features the music of Handel; but what an important film it is. The Last Days Of Pompeii (original title: Gli ultimi giorno di Pompei), which dates from 1913, is condered to be the first great epic film produced. Upon it's debut, the film had an orchestra, with prescribed pieces of music assigned from various composers--it is not known if Handel's music was used or not (likely not), as the the list of music used does not seem to have survived. When the film was restored and updated in the year 2000, with Handel's Water Music used in the DVD release score. Kino Video currently has that release on DVD. The first time Handel's music was actually used in a film upon it's original release was in 1934 with The House Of Rothschild. The most recent use came last year in the documentary Tree Man. In 1750, on his way home from a visit to his native Germany, Handel was seriously injured in a carriage accident in The Netherlands; injuries that he never completely recovered from. He died on 14 April, 9 year later in 1759 in London. He was given full state honours and his funeral attracted more than 3,000 mourners. He is buried at Westminster Abbey. He was 74 years of age at the time of his death. To read more about his life and copious works of composition, follow the links below.
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