Georg Händel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Georg Händel (1622–1697)
The small organ in the Marktkirche Unser Lieben Frauen
Johann Adolf I, Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels

Georg Händel (German: [ˈhɛndəl]; Halle, Archbishopric of Magdeburg, 24 September 1622 – Halle, Duchy of Magdeburg, 11 February 1697) was a barber-surgeon and the father of Georg Frideric Handel.[1] As a young man he had to stop attending grammar school when his father Valentin died (1636) and had to give up his aspirations to become a lawyer. It is very unlikely he ever succeeded in finishing a medical study and without a degree he was not allowed to call himself a physician.

In 1643, he married Anna Kathe, a widow 12 years his senior.[2] They had 6 children: Dorothea Elisabet, Gottfried, Christoph, Anna Barbara,[3] Karl, and Sophia Rosina.[4] The couple lived in a village called Neumarkt, south of Saalkreis. Around 1657 he was appointed by August, Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels as his surgeon.[5] In 1666 he bought a tavern The Yellow Deer. In 1672 he was given a license to serve wine, and also owned a vineyard outside the city walls. His wife died in 1682; the next year he married Dorothea Taust (1651–1730), the daughter of a Lutheran pastor in Giebichenstein. In 1685 George Friedrich Handel was born, followed by sisters Dorothea Sophia in 1687 and Johanna Christiana in 1690 (she died in 1709).

According to John Mainwaring, Handel's first biographer, "Handel had discovered such a strong propensity to Music, that his father who always intended him for the study of the Civil Law, had reason to be alarmed. He strictly forbade him to meddle with any musical instrument but Handel found means to get a little clavichord privately convey'd to a room at the top of the house. To this room he constantly stole when the family was asleep".[6] One day Handel and his father went on a trip to Weissenfels to visit either his son (Handel's half-brother) Karl, or grandson (Handel's nephew) Georg Christian [7] who was serving as a valet to Duke Johann Adolf I.[8] According to legend, the young Handel attracted the attention of the Duke with his playing on the church organ. At his urging, Handel's father permitted him to take lessons in musical composition and keyboard technique from Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow, the organist of the Lutheran Marienkirche.


  1. ^ His father Valentin Handel, a coppersmith and a city-councillor, came from Breslau and married Anna Beichling.
  2. ^
  3. ^ The latter three died young. Leeuwen, J. van (1990) Handel, p. 9. J.H. Gottmer, Haarlem.
  4. ^ Georg Handel had 28 grandchildren.
  5. ^ Deutsch, O.E. (1955) Handel. A documentary biography, p. 2-6.
  6. ^ Handel. A Celebration of his Life and Times 1685–1759. National Portrait Gallery, p. 51.
  7. ^ Friedrich Chrysander states it was not his half-brother but the 10-years older (!) nephew, who had to address George Friedrich as his uncle. [1]
  8. ^ Weissenfels is 34 km south of Halle; a one-way trip on foot would have taken them about seven hours. As they went by coach they travelled faster. For more details see: The life of Handel by Victor Schoelcher [2] and [3]