Handel, George Frideric

Born in Halle, Saxony, and later resident in Hamburg and Italy before settling in London. He was a renowned composer of opera, oratorio, choral and instrumental music. Though not directly acquainted with the Wesley brothers nor an adherent of Methodism, he composed three original tunes for hymns by Charles Wesley. The likely mutual connection was Priscilla Rich (wife of theatre impresario John Rich), while John Frederick Lampe’s Lampe, John FrederickHymns on the Great Festivals ''Hymns on the Great Festivals and Other Occasions'' appear to have been the source of the texts. Like Lampe’s settings, they were likely intended for domestic performance by a solo singer accompanied by a keyboard instrument. They remained unknown until the manuscript was rediscovered by Samuel Wesley in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, in 1826.

  • Donald Burrows, George Frideric Handel, The Complete Hymns and Chorales, Facsimile Edition with an Introduction by Donald Burrows (1986).
  • Martin V. Clarke, ‘Charles Wesley, Methodism and new art music in the long eighteenth century’, Eighteenth-Century Music 18/2, 271-293.

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