George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel (/ˈhændəl/;a baptised Georg Friederich Händel,b German: ˈɡeːɔʁk ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈhɛndl̩ (About this soundlisten); 23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) was a German-born Baroque composer becoming well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, concerti grossi and organ concertos. Handel received his training in Halle and worked as a composer in Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712, where he spent the bulk of his career and became a naturalised British subject in 1727. He was strongly influenced both by the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition and by composers of the Italian Baroque. Wikipedia, Handel
In 1741 an old man was wandering the streets of London. That man was George Frederick Handel.
At this point, he was angry at life. His mind kept going back to the time when he was famous and had the applause of royalty and the elite of London, but now his mind was full of despair and hopelessness about the future, for the applause was gone. Others were now in the spotlight and envy began to possess him. Added to that, a cerebral hemorrhage had paralyzed his right side. He could no longer write, and doctors gave little hope for recovery. The old composer traveled to France and began to soak in the baths which were said to have healing effects. The hot mineral baths seemed to help, and his health began to improve. Eventually, he was able to write once more, and his success returned.
Then Handel faced another reversal. Queen Caroline, who had been his staunch supporter, died. England found itself on hard economic times, and heating large auditoriums for concerts was not permitted. His performances were canceled, and he began to wonder where God was.
Then one night, as he returned from his walk, Charles Jennens was waiting at his home. Jennens explained that he had just finished writing a text for a musical that covered both the Old and New Testaments, and believed that Handel was the man to set it to music. Handel was indifferent as he began to read the words which Jennens had put together. But then his eyes fell on such words as ‘He was despised, rejected of men. . . he looked for someone to have pity on him, but there was no man; neither found he any to comfort him.’ His eyes raced ahead to the words: ‘He trusted in God. . . God did not leave his soul in hell. . . He will give you rest.’ And finally his eyes stopped on the words: ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth.’
He became aware of the presence of God. He was aware in a new and profound way, and as he picked up his pen the Spirit of God was moving, and music seemed to flow through him. He finished the first part in only seven days. The second section was completed in six days.
Many will remember that when the classical work was first performed in London, and the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ was sung by the choir, King George II was so moved that he stood to his feet. To this day, people still rise to their feet as the great chorus is sung in praise to God.
In reflecting on Handel’s Messiah, Joseph E. McCabe wrote: “Never again are we to look at the stars, as we did when we were children, and wonder how far it is to God. A being outside our world would be a spectator, looking on but taking no part in this life, where we try to be brave despite all the bafflement. A God who created, and withdrew, could be mighty, but he could not be love. Who could love a God remote, when suffering is our lot? Our God is closer than our problems, for they are out there to be faced; He is here, beside us, Emmanuel.”
schools on the hill of Sion—'out of Sion hath God appeared in perfect beauty.' So long as this principle was recognised in musical academies, there were composers of the highest class; devoid of it, the highest order of compositions disappeared." "Power over music does not depend solely on the mere agreement of 'how to do it.' The student in song will never learn the perfection of beauty except from the preparation of the heart. To make a real musician, there must be a sense of the ever-presence of the Creator of all beauty. The boy-musician must begin his day with prayer, and end it with praise. This made Handel, Bach, Haydn, and Mozart. Music is neither dram nor sweetmeat, neither sensual nor intellectual. It is made so now; but in this order of music there is neither joy nor love, thankfulness nor reverence." [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Fragments from Dr. Gauntlett's Last Note-book, page 51]
"So long as music was taught primarily for worship, and to proclaim the immortality of man by the inestimable gift of the Royal Ransomer, it culminated to wonders upon wonders." "Noble teachers yield noble teaching, and from such seed the reaping is noble music. To rear the musician with knightly, faithful, and pure feelings, he must believe in his mission and its reward. The law of his life must be the advancement of his art, or rather God's art, given for the honour of the Deity and the elevation of humanity." "The Apostle Paul tells us that we are to teach one another in music, and the greatest doctor in theology, the mightiest defender of the Faith, has been the giant Handel in his oratorio of The Messiah. We are told that 'the nineteenth century is weary of the religion of Christ,' and the bright smile of the English boy and the sweet face of the English girl are no longer to be gladdened by the teachings of the holy mystery. The Devil is the strongest opponent to music in its right intention." [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Fragments from Dr. Gauntlett's Last Note-book, page 51]