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image; HandelIn 14 September 1741 Handel finished his 'Messiah', a monumental musical masterpiece that took just 24 days to write.

Who was Handel?

George Frideric Handel was a German born English composer. He was born in Halle, Germany, on 23 February 1685. Even as a small boy he had a great love for music and was very musical.

What is Messiah?

Messiah is Handel's best-known oratorio (an opera without costumes and scenery where singers tell a story by singing it to the audience.) The story in oratoriois are usually taken from the Bible. The words in the Messiah come primarily from the book of Isaiah.

Many people consider Messiah to be the greatest oratorio ever written. It is often performed around Christmas. It has three segments: the coming of the Messiah, the suffering and death of Christ, and the Resurrection. Messiah contains 50 sections and takes 2 ½ hours to perform.

Visit the British Library website to leaf through and magnify pages of Handel's draft score of Messiah at

Handel's Famous Works

Water Music, Royal Fireworks Suite, Messiah, Six Organ Concertos, Zadok the Priest, Rinaldo

The Niagra Falls were illuminated for the first time on 14 September 1860 to celebrate the visit by the Prince of Wales.


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