(1685-1759) German composer, a British subject from 1726. His first opera, Almira, was performed in Hamburg 1705. In 1710 he was appointed kapellmeister to the elector of Hanover (the future George I of England). In 1712 he settled in England, where he established his popularity with such works as the Water Music 1717 (written for George I). His great choral works include the Messiah 1742 and the later oratorios Samson 1743, Belshazzar 1745, Judas Maccabaeus 1747, and Jephtha 1752.
Born in Halle, he abandoned the study of law 1703 to become a violinist at Keiser’s Opera House in Hamburg. Visits to Italy (1706–10) inspired a number of operas and oratorios, and in 1711 his opera Rinaldo was performed in London. Saul and Israel in Egypt (both 1739) were unsuccessful, but his masterpiece the Messiah was acclaimed on its first performance in Dublin 1742. Other works include the pastoral Acis and Galatea 1718 and a set of variations for harpsichord that were later nicknamed “The Harmonious Blacksmith”. In 1751 he became totally blind.
The music of Georg Handel.