The 2015 Pacific Baroque Festival justly celebrates the music of George Frederick Handel, one of the mostly widely celebrated, admired and honoured composers in the history of Western music. Born in the north of Germany, he studied in Italy and ultimately settled in England, establishing a singular dominance over British musical life. He was favoured by royalty, and greatly admired by his contemporaries as well as later composers such as Mozart and Beethoven. Although he became best-known, especially in our time, for his grand oratorios such as the Messiah and including Theodora which will be performed before the festival, he wrote brilliant Italian operas on mythical themes, solemn odes to royalty and saints, instrumental suites in French style for performance on barges or to accompany fireworks, and grand concertos to show off the skills of his instrumentalists. Whether he was writing for the church, the court or the people, he demonstrated consummate skill and a flair for the dramatic.
“This man is the master of us all” – Franz Joseph Haydn
“Handel is the greatest and ablest of all composers; from him I can still learn” – Ludwig van Beethoven
“The inspired master of our art” – Christoph Willibald Gluck