William Sterling

George Frederic Handel

Handel and Royalty

An examination of how closely his music and career was bound up with the British royal family from Queen Anne to George II (course originally run at Crayford Manor to coincide with a workshop on George II).

George Frederick Handel (1685-1759) was one of the first composers to make a successful career independent of any major church or court appointment. Nevertheless, he had a very close association with the British Royal Family from Queen Anne to George II lasting nearly half a century from 1710 to 1759. This led to some of his greatest masterpieces including: The Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate, The Water Music, Zadok the Priest, The King Shall Rejoice, The Dettingen Te Deum, The Music for the Royal Fireworks, and Judas Maccabeus. The classes ran through Handel’s life and career chronologically, concentrating on his relationship with members of the British Royal Family from 1710 to 1759.

He was commissioned to write music for official royal celebrations such as a Te Deum and Jubilate in 1713, the Water Music in 1717, and when George II succeeded in 1727, 4 anthems for the coronation including Zadok the Priest which has been used at every subsequent coronation. Handel continued to write music for special royal occasions such as the marriage of the Prince of Wales in 1736, the funeral of Queen Caroline in 1737, and also to celebrate royal triumphs like George II’s victory at Dettingen (another Te Deum and anthem), in 1743 his son’s victory at Culloden (Judas Maccabaeus) in 1746, and the Music for the Royal Fireworks in 1748.

I ran this course at Crayford Manor (Bexley College) October-December 2002 and as a one day class at the City Lit in March 2012. I used it as the basis for two talks in preparation for the 250th anniversary celebrations at the DfE Music Society in March 2008 and the HSE European Society in December 2008.

Below is a selection of some of the material I used for the course at the City Lit including a spreadsheet of Handel’s works and miniature cersions of the slides I showed.

Handel and Royalty

Handel and Royalty notes

Handel’s works

Handel slides 1

Handel slides 2

If you have any questions on these or any other aspect of the course please feel free to contact me.