The Handel Institute

Chronology of George Frideric Handel's
Life, Compositions, and his Times

1739-1759

Abbreviations used for locations:

CG : London, Covent Garden Theatre
DLT : London, Drury Lane Theatre
FHC : Foundling Hospital Chapel
KT : London, King's Theatre, Haymarket
LIF : Lincoln's Inn Fields
LTH: London, "Little Theatre" in the Haymarket
NMH: Dublin, Mr. Neal's Musick Hall (or the Great Music Hall), Fishamble Street
QT : London, Queen's Theatre, Haymarket
TaG : Theater am Gänsemarkt, Hamburg
WA : Westminster Abbey

NOTE 1: Dates included below for British locations are represented in the Old Style (Julian) up until September 1752 and subsequently in the New Style (Gregorian or continental style). For locations on the Continent, the New Style was used as early as 1700 and in Italy prior to this date. According to the old Julian calendar the year changed on March 25 -- the Feast of the Annunciation. [For example, 31 March 1751 (new style) converts to 20 March 1751 (old style).]

NOTE 2: ( ) = numbers in brackets represent GFH's approximate age in years.


1739 -- Relocation, once again...Coexistence with competition: the "Middlesex" opera company opens...The first oratorio season...To war over an ear? (54)

  • 16 January :
    • Saul (HWV 53) opens a new concert season to the accompaniment of a very large orchestra including carillon, organ, and a pair of the "largest kettle-drums in the Tower [of London], so to be sure it will be most excessively noisy with a bad set of singers" -- writes Lord Wentworth. [KT]
    • Last documented attendance of George II at GFH's theater performances.
  • 22 January : Peformance of Saul (HWV 53) announced as containing "several new Concertos on the Organ." [KT]
  • 17 February : Alexander's Feast (HWV 75) is revived [KT]
  • 28 February : Trio Sonatas, Opus 5, are published by John Walsh, the younger.
  • 3 March : Il trionfo del Tempo e della Verità (HWV 46b) is revived. [KT]
  • 20 March : Alexander's Feast (HWV 75) is performed with a new organ concerto, the Organ Concerto in A major, "2nd Set" No 2 (HWV 296a) "for the Benefit and Increase of a Fund established for the Support of Decay'd Musicians and their Families". [KT]
  • 2 April : Completes composition of the Organ Concerto in F major, "2nd Set" No 1 (HWV 295; including the third movement which later becomes known as The Cuckoo and the Nightingale).
  • 4 April : Israel in Egypt (HWV 54) premieres with the Organ Concerto in F major, "2nd Set" No 1 (HWV 295). [KT]
  • 7 April : Israel in Egypt (HWV 54) performed with the addition of four Italian and English airs from earlier works.
  • 24 April : Completes composition of Giove in Argo (HWV A14, a.k.a., Jupiter in Argos).
  • 1 May : Giove in Argo (HWV A14) premieres. [KT]
  • 5 May : Concert season closes with performance of Giove in Argo (HWV A14). [KT]
  • GFH concludes arrangement with John Rich for use of LIF theatre next season.
  • September : Begins to compose the Opus 6 "Grand Concertos".
  • 15 September : Begins to compose A Song for St. Cecilia's Day (HWV 76) -- after Dryden's ode.
  • 24 September : Completes composition of A Song for St. Cecilia's Day (HWV 76).
  • 29 September : Completes composition of the Concerto Grosso in G major, Op 6 No 1 (HWV 319).
  • 4 October : Completes composition of the Concerto Grosso in F major, Op 6 No 2 (HWV 320).
  • 6 October : Completes composition of the Concerto Grosso in E minor, Op 6 No 3 (HWV 321).
  • 8 October : Completes composition of the Concerto Grosso in A minor, Op 6 No 4 (HWV 322).
  • 10 October : Completes composition of the Concerto Grosso in D major, Op 6 No 5 (HWV 323).
  • 10-11 October (?) : Completes composition of the Concerto Grosso in F major, Op 6 No 9 (HWV 327).
  • 12 October : Completes composition of the Concerto Grosso in B flat major, Op 6 No 7 (HWV 325).
  • 15 October : Completes composition of the Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op 6 No 6 (HWV 324).
  • 17 October : Royal Charter for Foundling Hospital ("The Hospital for the Maintenance and Education of Exposed and Deserted Young Children"; present day "Thomas Coram Foundation") as envisioned by Thomas Coram, a sea captain.
  • 18 October : Completes composition of the Concerto Grosso in C minor, Op 6 No 8 (HWV 326).
  • 19 October : The "War of Jenkins' Ear" (1739-41) begins. This was a conflict between England and Spain. It grew out of a commercial rivalry between the two powers and led to the larger "War of the Austrian Succession". (See below.) The incident that gave the name to the war occurred in 1731 when, according to Robert Jenkins, master of the ship Rebecca, Spanish coast guards cut off his ear. English smuggling and resentment at exclusion from the Spanish colonial trade were the true origins of the war, but Jenkins's story in the House of Commons (1738), reinforced by the showing of his carefully preserved ear, had a tremendous propaganda effect and forced the reluctant Robert Walpole to declare war. Hostilities were limited to sea skirmishes.
  • 20 October : Completes composition of the Concerto Grosso in B minor, Op 6 No 12 (HWV 330).
  • 22 October : Completes composition of the Concerto Grosso in D minor, Op 6 No 10 (HWV 328).
  • 29 October : Advertises subscription for publication of concertos.
  • 30 October : Completes composition of the Concerto Grosso in A major, Op 6 No 11 (HWV 329).
  • 31 October : Granted second copyright privilege for 14 years.
  • 22 November (St. Cecilia's Day):
    • New concert season opens.
    • A Song for St. Cecilia's Day (HWV 76) premieres along with Alexander's Feast (HWV 75). [LIF]
  • 1 December : The "Middlesex" opera company (named after the Earl of Middlesex; Charles Sackville; heir to the Duke of Dorset) opens their concert season; singers include Giovanni Carestini (mezzo-soprano castrato). [LTH]
  • 13 December :
    • Acis and Galatea (HWV 49b) is revived (restored to its original all-English form) along with the Ode for St. Cecilia's Day (HWV 76). [LIF]
    • This is the first time Acis and Galatea (HWV 49b) is divided into two acts.
    • Performance includes two of the new "Grand Concertos" (Opus 6) .

1740 --The "War of the Austrian Succession" begins...Wedding Music III (55)

  • 19 January : Begins to compose L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato (HWV 55)
  • 25 January : Completes composition of Part I of L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato (HWV 55)
  • 2 February : Completes composition of Part II of L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato (HWV 55).
  • 4 February : Completes composition of Part III of L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato (HWV 55).
  • 6 February : Performance of Acis and Galatea (HWV 49b) is postponed due to severe frost in London.
  • 17 February : Completes composition of the Organ Concerto in B flat major, Op 7 No 1 (HWV 306).
  • 21 February : Lenten season opens with Acis and Galatea (HWV 49b). [LIF]
  • 27 February : L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato (HWV 55) premieres with new organ concerto, the Organ Concerto in B flat major, Op 7 No 1 (HWV 306). [LIF]
  • 21 March : Saul (HWV 53) is revived with first performance of another "Grand Concerto". [LIF]
  • 26 March : Esther (HWV 50b) is revived. [LIF]
  • 28 March : Acis and Galatea (HWV 49b) is performed with the Ode for St. Cecilia's Day (HWV 76) for the benefit of the Fund for the Support of Decay'd Musicians. [LIF]
  • 1 April : Israel in Egypt (HWV 54) is revived with the premiere of another "Grand Concerto". [LIF]
  • 21 April : Concerti Grossi, Op 6 Nos 1-12 ("Twelve Grande Concertos in 7 Parts"; HWV 319-30) are published by John Walsh, the younger.
  • 23 April :
    • Performance of L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato (HWV 55), including premiere of two more "Grand Concertos." [LIF]
    • Concert season closes
  • 8 May : Anthem performed at wedding of Princess Mary. [Chapel Royal]
  • 31 May : Friedrich Wilhem I of Prussia dies. (Succeeded by Friedrich II -- "Frederick the Great"; Carl Heinrich Graun appointed Kapellmeister and C.P.E. Bach principal harpsichordist at the Berlin court.)
  • Early July : Travels to the Continent.
  • 9 September (old style) : Plays the famous church organ built by Christian Mueller in 1735-36. [de Grote of St. Bavo, Haarlem]
  • 22 September : The Hamburger Relations-Courier reports from Haarlem:

            "Man sagt, dass vorbemeldeter Hr. Hendel sich nach Berlin zu begeben entschlossen sey."

  • by early October:
    • Returns to London
    • Resumes work on Imeneo (HWV 41).
  • 10 October : Completes composition of Imeneo (HWV 41).
  • 20 October : The last Habsburg Emperor, Charles VI, dies. Before his death, many of the great powers of Europe, including Great Britain, France, Prussia, Russia, and the Netherlands, had guaranteed that Charles's daughter Maria Theresa would succeed him. However, three other claimants appeared upon Charles VI's death. They were: Charles Albert, elector of Bavaria (later, Charles VII, Holy Roman emperor); Augustus III, elector of Saxony and king of Poland; and the Bourbon King Philip V of Spain. Philip V claimed the Habsburg lands because the Habsburg Holy Roman emperor Charles V had been king of Spain from 1516 to 1556. Great Britain declares war on Spain beginning the "War of the Austrian Succession" (-1748). The war is fought by an alliance of Bavaria, France, Spain, Sardinia, Prussia, and Saxony against Austria, the Netherlands, and Great Britain. The North American conflict is referred to as "King George's War."
  • 27 October : Begins to compose Deidamia (HWV 42).
  • 7 November : Completes composition of Acts I and II of Deidamia (HWV 42).
  • 8 November :
    • "Second Set" of organ concertos (HWV 295-300) are published as transcriptions for the solo keyboard.
    • New season of operas, odes, and oratorios opens with revival of Parnasso in festa (HWV 73). [LIF]
  • 14 November : Begins to compose Act III of Deidamia (HWV 42).
  • 20 November : Completes composition of Deidamia (HWV 42).
  • 22 November : Imeneo (HWV 41) premieres -- announced as an "operetta." [LIF]
  • 16 December : Prussia invades Habsburg-ruled Silesia.

1741 -- Invitation to Dublin...Messiah is composed in 24 days! (56)

  • 10 January : Deidamia (HWV 42) premieres. [LIF]
  • 31 January : L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato (HWV 55) is revived. [LIF]
  • 10 February :
    • Final performance of Deidamia (HWV 42). [LTH]
    • This represents the last documented performance of a Handel opera under the composer's direction.
  • 28 February : Acis and Galatea (HWV 49b) is revived. [LIF]
  • 14 March : Parnasso in Festa (HWV 73) is performed (possibly not directed by GFH) for the benefit of the "Fund for the Support of Decay'd Musicians". [KT]
  • 18 March : Saul (HWV 53) is revived. [LIF]
  • 4 April : A letter in the "London Daily Post" quotes a rumor that GFH plans to leave England and appeals for support of Handel.
  • 8 April :
    • L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato (HWV 55) is performed (probably without Part 3) along with Ode for St. Cecilia's Day (HWV 76). [LIF]
    • GFH's last season at LIF closes.
  • 1 July : The duet Quel fior che all'alba ride (HWV 192) is completed.
  • 3 July : The duet Nò, di voi non vo' fidarmi (HWV 189) is completed.
  • 10 July : Charles Jennens writes in a letter to his friend, Edward Holdsworth (1684-1746) :

      "Handel says he will do nothing next Winter, but I hope I shall persuade him to set another Scripture Collection I have made for him, & perform it for his own Benefit in Passion week. I hope he will lay out his whole Genius & Skill upon it, that the Composition may excell all his former Compositions, as the Subject excells every other Subject. The Subject is Messiah."

  • 18 July : GFH's "Celebrated Fire Musick", originally written for Atalanta (HWV 35), is performed. (Not to be confused with the Music for the Royal Fireworks (HWV 351.) [Cuper's Gardens]
  • 28 July : Antonio Vivaldi (63) dies. [Vienna]
  • Early August (?) : Invited by the Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, to visit Dublin for the winter season.
  • 22 August : Begins to compose draft of Messiah (HWV 56).
  • 28 August : Completes draft of Part I of Messiah (HWV 56).
  • 6 September : Completes draft Part II of Messiah (HWV 56).
  • After writing out the Hallelujah! chorus, he is reported to have exclaimed to his servant with tears in his eyes:

      "I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself seated on His throne, with his Company of Angels."

  • 12 September : Completes draft of Part III of Messiah (HWV 56).
  • 14 September : Completes filling out of Messiah (HWV 56).
  • 29 September : Begins to compose draft of Samson (HWV 57).
  • 2 October : "Mr Neale's Great Musick Hall in Fishamble Street" [NMH] opens in Dublin.
  • 29 October : Completes draft of Samson (HWV 57).
  • 31 October : Attends first performance of new "Middlesex" opera company: Alessandro in Persia, a pasticcio opera, with music assembled from six different Italian composers. [KT]
  • Early November : Leaves London for Dublin; delayed for a few days at Chester, where the young Charles Burney (15) sees him.
  • 2 December : Charles Jennens writes in a letter to Edward Holdsworth :

      "I heard with great pleasure at my arrival in Town, that Handel had set the Oratorio of Messiah; but it was some mortification for me to hear that instead of performing it here he was gone into Ireland with it. However I hope we shall hear it when he comes back."

  • 18 November : Arrives in Dublin. He takes lodging in Abbey Street.
  • 10 December : Plays the organ at a service, during which his Utrecht Te Deum (HWV 278) and Jubilate (HWV 279) and a Coronation Anthem (HWV 258-61) are performed to benefit Mercer's Hospital. [St. Andrew's Church, Dublin]
  • 23 December : Subscription series of six concerts opens with a revival of L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato (HWV 55) with two concerti grossi and an organ concerto; Il Moderato (Part III) is reinstated. [NMH]
  • 29 December : Handel writes in a letter to Charles Jennens (from Dublin) :

      "It was with great Pleasure I saw the Continuation of Your Kindness by the Lines You was pleased to send me, in Order to be prefix'd to Your Oratorio Messiah which I set to Musick before I left England."

  • Johann Joseph Fux (circa 80) dies. [Vienna]

1742 -- Messiah is born (57)

  • 20 January : Acis and Galatea (HWV 49b) and Ode for St. Cecilia's Day (HWV 76) are revived. [NMH]
  • 28 January : Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, objects to cathedral singers taking part in performances.
  • 3 February : Esther (HWV 50b) is revived. [NMH]
  • 11 February : Robert Walpole resigns from Parliament.
  • 17 February : Alexander's Feast (HWV 75) is revived, with new solo for Susanna Maria Cibber (alto) and new duet, opening a second subscription series of 6 concerts. [NMH]
  • 17 March : L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato (HWV 55) is revived. [NMH]
  • 24 March : Imeneo (HWV 41) is revived as Hymen, a Serenata, in Italian. [NMH]
  • 27 March : Performance of Messiah (HWV 56) is announced for the benefit of three charities:

"For the Relief of the Prisoners in the several Gaols, and for the Support of Mercer's Hospital in Stephen's Street and of the Charitable Infirmary on the Inns Quay, on Monday the 12th of April [recte April 13], will be performed at the Musick Hall in Fishamble Street, Mr. Handel's new Grand Oratorio, call'd the MESSIAH, in which the Gentlemen of the Choirs of both Cathedrals will assist, with some Concertoes on the Organ, by Mr Handell."

  • 7 April : Esther (HWV 50b) is revived, ending GFH's second subscription series. [NMH]
  • 9 April : Public rehearsal of Messiah (HWV 56). [NMH]
  • 13 April :
    • Messiah premieres (HWV 56). [NMH]
    • In anticipation of overcrowding at the performance, the following notice is posted :

"The Stewards of the Charitable Music Society request the Favour of the Ladies not to come with Hoops this Day to the Musick-Hall in Fishamble Street : The Gentlemen are desired to come without their Swords."

  • 25 May : Saul (HWV 53) is revived -- by special request. [NMH]
  • 3 June : Messiah (HWV 56) is performed at GFH's final Dublin concert. [NMH]
  • 21 July : Benefit concert for Cecilia Arne (sung by Mrs. Arne and Mrs. Susanna Cibber) -- includes many pieces by GFH, although probably not directed by him. [NMH]
  • 13 August : Departs Dublin for Chester, England.
  • by 9 September : Returns to London.
  • 12 October : Completes composition of Samson (HWV 57) following extensive revisions. (See September-October 1741.)
  • 31 October : Completes composition of the duet Beato in ver chi può (HWV 181).
  • 2 November : Completes composition of the duet Nò, di voi non vo' fidarmi (HWV 190).
  • 29 November : Anglo-Prussian alliance is secured.

1743 -- Handel and Messiah under attack...Victory at Dettingen (58)

  • 17 January : A letter from Charles Jennens to Edward Holdsworth :

      "His Messiah has disappointed me, being set in great hast, tho' he said he would be a year about it, & make it the best of all his Compositions. I shall put no more Sacred Works into his hands, to be thus abus'd."

  • 5 February : Completes composition of the Organ Concerto in A major, Op 7 No 2 (HWV 307).
  • 18 February :
    • A Lenten subscription series of oratorio concerts begins.
    • Samson (HWV 57) premieres. The Organ Concerto in A major, Op 7 No 2 (HWV 307) probably premieres. [CG]
  • 21 February : Charles Jennens writes in a letter to Edward Holdsworth :

      "As to the Messiah, 'tis still in his power by retouching the weak parts to make it fit for a publick performance; & I have said a great deal to him on the Subject; but he is so lazy and so obstinate, the I much doubt the Effect."

  • 24 February : Horace Walpole writes in a letter to Horace Mann :

      "Handel has set up an Oratorio against the Operas, and succeeds. He has hired all the goddesses from farces and singers of Roast Beef from between the acts at both theatres, with a man with one note in his voice, and a girl without even an one; and so they sing, and make brave hallelujahs; and the good company encore the recitative, if it happens to have any cadence like what they call a tune."

  • 18 March : L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato (HWV 55) is revived along with Ode for St. Cecilia's Day (HWV 76) [CG]
  • 19 March :
    • London premiere of "A New Sacred Oratorio" is announced; Messiah (HWV 56) is not mentioned by name.
    • A correspondent for The Universal Spectator condemns the practice of performing oratorios, set to sacred words, for "diversion and amusement" in playhouses, sung by "a Set of People very unfit to perform so solemn a Service", citing the upcoming performance of Messiah as a prime example of profanity.
  • 23 March : First London performance of Messiah (HWV 56) [CG]
  • 31 March : Oratorio season closes with a performance of Samson (HWV 57). [CG]
  • 11 April : Report circulates that "Mr. Handel, who has been dangerously ill, is now recover'd."
  • 29 April : Charles Jennens writes in a letter to Edward Holdsworth:

      "Handel has a return of his Paralytic Disorder, which affects his Head & Speech."

  • 4 May : Horace Walpole writes in a letter to Horace Mann :

      "We are likely at last to have no Opera next year: Handel has a palsy, and can't compose."

  • 3 June: Begins to compose Semele. (HWV 58)
  • 27 June : British, Hanoverian, and Hessian soldiers ("The Pragmantic Army"), under the joint command of George II, are victorious over the French at Dettingen am Main in Bavaria.
  • 4 July: Completes composition of Semele. (HWV 58)
  • circa July : Lord Middlesex asks GFH to compose operas for his company. He initially accepts but later declines the invitation.
  • 17 July : Begins to compose the Dettingen Te Deum (HWV 283).
  • circa 29 July : Completes composition of the Dettingen Te Deum (HWV 283).
  • 30 July : Begins to compose the Dettingen Anthem (HWV 265).
  • 3 August : Completes composition of the Dettingen Anthem (HWV 265).
  • 24 August - 19 November : Acis and Galatea (HWV 49b) score is published in 10 sections.
  • 26 August : Begins to compose Joseph and his Brethren (HWV 59).
  • 12 September : Completes composition of Joseph and his Brethren (HWV 59).
  • 13 September : Treaty of Worms (Austria, Great Britain, Sardinia) is signed. The King of Sardinia is promised Piacenza and a part of Lombardy.
  • 15 September : Charles Jennens writes in a letter to Edward Holdsworth :

      "I don't yet despair of making him retouch the Messiah, at least he shall suffer for his negligence; nay I am inform'd that he has suffer'd, for he told Ld Guernsey, that a letter I wrote him about it contributed to the bringing of his last illness upon him; & it is reported that being a little delirious with a Fever, he said he should be damn'd for preferring Dagon (a Gentlemen he was very complaisant to in the Oratorio of Samson) before the Messiah. This shews that I gall'd him: but I have not done with him yet."

  • 25 October : French/Spanish alliance at Fontainebleau.
  • 15 November :
    • Under pressure from the Prince of Wales, the "Middlesex" opera company (named after Lord Middlesex) produces Rossane -- arranged by Lampugnani from Alessandro (HWV 21). [KT]
    • George II returns to London.
  • 18 November : Dettingen Te Deum (HWV 283) and Dettingen Anthem (HWV 265) are rehearsed. [Banqueting House, Whitehall]
  • 27 November : Dettingen Te Deum (HWV 283) and Dettingen Anthem (HWV 265) are performed at a service celebrating George II's safe and victorious return to England. [Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace]

1744 -- Handel and Semele under attack (59)

  • 10 February : Semele (HWV 58), under the title, "The Story of Semele", premieres to begin a new Lenten subscription series of concerts. [CG]
  • 21 February : Mary Delany (1700-88), a close friend of GFH, writes to her younger sister Ann Dewes (1707-61) that :

      "Semele has a strong party against it, the fine ladies, petit maîtres, and ignoramus's. All the opera people are enrag'd at Handel."

  • 24 February : Samson (HWV 57) is revived. [CG]
  • 2 March : Joseph and his Brethren (HWV 59) premieres. [CG]
  • 15 March : France declares war on Britain. The French army, let by Marshal de Saxe, invades the Low Countries.
  • 16 March : Saul (HWV 53) is revived. [CG]
  • 21 March : Oratorio season closes with performance of Saul (HWV 53). [CG]
  • 27 April : James Miller, librettist of Joseph and his Brethren (HWV 59), dies.
  • Approaches Jennens for a new libretto.
  • 7 May : Charles Jennens writes in a letter to Edward Holdsworth :

      "Handel has promis'd to revise the Oratorio of Messiah, & He & I are very good Friends again. The reason is he has lately lost his Poet Miller, & wants to set me at work for him again."

  • 5 June : France/Prussia alliance.
  • by 9 June : Secures KT for the next concert season.
  • 18 June : The "Middlesex" opera company (named after Lord Middlesex) closes its concert season at KT.
  • June (?) : Departs London, presumably to stay in the country with a patron.
  • 18 July : Returns to London.
  • 19 July :
    • Begins to compose Hercules (HWV 60).
    • Receives from Charles Jennens the text for Act I of Belshazzar (HWV 61).
    • In a letter apparently written by GFH to assuage Charles Jennens :

"Be pleased to point out these passages in t[h]e Messiah which You think require altering."

  • 17 August : Completes Hercules (HWV 60).
  • 23 August : Begins to compose Belshazzar (HWV 61).
  • 20 October : Announces subscription series of 24 concerts "every Saturday till Lent, and then on Wednesdays and Fridays."
  • 23 October : Completes Belshazzar (HWV 61).
  • 3 November : Deborah (HWV 51) is revived; this begins the subscription series. [KT]
  • 24 November : Second performance postponed because subscribers are "not in Town".
  • 1 December : Semele (HWV 58) is revived. Five Italian opera arias are inserted. [KT]

1745 = "The Forty-Five", the second Jacobite rebellion...Handel tries to concede defeat but finds support instead (60)

  • Gluck arrives in London at the invitation of the King's Theatre.
  • January : The Quadruple Alliance is formed (Austria, Saxony, Britain, Holland) against France, Bavaria, and Prussia.
  • 5 January : Hercules (HWV 60) premieres as "a new Musical Drama." [KT]
  • 17 January : In a letter to the "Daily Advertiser", GFH announces that his attempts to please the public are ineffectual, and he proposes to return three-fourths of the money subscribed.
  • 18 January : A letter of support is published urging subscribers not to withdraw the remainder of their subscriptions.
  • 21 January : An anonymous poem is published supporting Handel and blaming his woes on the intrigues of the society ladies (possibly written by Lady Brown, wife of the former British Resident in Venice).
  • 25 January : Because of the strong public support he receives, GFH announces resumption of concerts.
  • 1 March : Samson (HWV 57) is revived. [KT]
  • 13 March : Saul (HWV 53) is revived. [KT]
  • 15 March : Joseph and his Brethren (HWV 59) is revived. [KT]
  • 27 March : Belshazzar (HWV 61) premieres. [KT]
  • 9 April : Messiah (HWV 56) is revived. [KT]
  • 23 April : Messiah (HWV 56) is performed closing the subscription oratorio season; 16 concerts out of the promised 24 having been given. [KT]
  • Travels to Exton in Rutland, Leicester, the seat of the Early of Gainsborough, "for Quiet and Retirement."
  • 11 May : The French army defeat British forces under the Duke of Cumberland's command. [Fontenoy]
  • 16 May : Prince Charles Edward Stuart (also referred to as "The Young Pretender" or "Bonnie Prince Charlie") issues a manifesto requiring that his father's ("Jacobite James III") subjects "forthwith repair to His Majesty's royal standard."
  • circa 9 June : Newly composed music first performed for a private performance of the masque Comus (HWV 44) . [Exton]
  • circa 13 June : Leaves Exton for the spas of Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
  • 16 June : British forces capture Louisbourg from the French. (present-day Canada)
  • Returns to London
  • 21 July : The Young Pretender lands at Ericsay, Scotland, (the Outer Hebrides); this begins the second Jacobite rebellion.
Bonnie Prince Charlie
Bonnie Prince Charlie
(1720-88)
  • 30 August : Charles Jennens writes in a letter to Edward Holdsworth (apparently forgetting that he had written to Holdsworth about the matter several times before) :

      "I shall show you a collection I gave Handel, call'd Messiah, which I value highly, & he has made a fine Entertainment of it, tho' not near so good as he might & ought to have done. I have with great difficulty made him correct some of the grossest faults in the composition, but he retain'd his Overture obstinately, in which there are some passages far unworthy of Handel, but much more unworthy of the Messiah."

  • 31 August : Completes composition of the duet Ahi, nelle sorti umane (HWV 179).
  • 17 September : The Young Pretender enters Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • 21 September : The Young Pretender defeats Hanoverian forces led by Cope. [Battle of Prestonpans]
  • 24 October : Lord Shaftesbury writes in a letter to James Harris,

      "Poor Handel looks something better. I hope he will entirely recover in due time, though he has been a good deal disordered in his head."

  • 28 October : The Duke of Cumberland returns to England (from the Continent) to defend the nation against the Young Pretender.
  • 8 November : Jacobite forces enter England.
  • 14 November : Stand round, my brave boys (HWV 228.18) premieres. [DLT]
  • 17 November : The Young Pretender takes Carlisle.
  • 4 December : The Young Pretender advances to Derby (125 miles from London).
  • 20 December : Finding no popular support among the English, The Young Pretender returns to Scotland.
  • 31 December : The Duke of Cumberland regains Carlisle.

1746 -- Jacobites are defeated...The Duke of Cumberland returns victorious (61)

  • January - February : Composes The Occasional Oratorio (HWV 62).
  • 7 January : The re-formed "Middlesex" opera company (named after Lord Middlesex) opens with Christoph Willibald Gluck's La Caduta de' Giganti ("The Fall of the Giants"). [KT]
  • 17 January : Jacobites score a victory over Hanoverian forces. [Battle of Falkirk]
  • 14 February : The Occasional Oratorio (HWV 62) premieres thereby extending the concert series to make up for deficiency in the previous season's subscription. [CG]
  • 26 February : The concert series closes with a performance of The Occasional Oratorio (HWV 62). [CG]
  • 25 March : Music by GFH and Gluck performed at Decay'd Musicians benefit concert -- possibly attended by GFH. [KT]
  • 16 April : Jacobite forces are defeated by the Duke of Cumberland's armies. Battle lasts only one-half hour. The Young Pretender escapes to the Isle of Skye. [Battle of Culloden, Scotland]
  • 15 May : From scourging rebellion (HWV 228.9) premieres to celebrate the Duke of Cumberland's victory -- sung by the tenor Thomas Lowe. [Vauxhall Gardens]
  • 26 May : From scourging rebellion (HWV 228.9) is published.
  • 8 or 9 July : Begins to compose Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63), "as a compliment to the Duke of Cumberland, upon his returning victorious from Scotland."
  • 22 July : Completes composition of Act I of Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63).
  • 11 August : Completes the remaining composition of Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63).
  • 20 September : After wandering the Highlands of Scotland for 6 months, The Young Pretender escapes to France.
  • 11 October : The French Marshal de Saxe completes conquest of the Austrian Netherlands and defeats the allies. [Roucoux]
  • 4 November : The "Middlesex" opera company opens a new concert season. [KT]
  • W.F. Bach (1710-1784) is appointed organist of the Liebfrauenkirche. [Halle]

1747 -- A Jacobite goes on trial (62)

  • 24 February : The "Middlesex" opera company revives Rossane -- arranged by Lampugnani from Alessandro (HWV 21). [KT]
  • 6 March : The Occasional Oratorio (HWV 62) is revived opening a new non-subscription series of Lenten concerts. [CG]
  • 16 March : Lord Lovat, a Jacobite, is brought to trial, causing the postponement of some concerts.
  • 20 March : Joseph and his Brethren (HWV 59) is revived. [CG]
  • 1 April : Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) premieres with a "new Concerto" -- probably the Concerto a due cori in F major, No. 3 (HWV 334). [CG]
  • 8 April : Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) is announced with "additions" -- probably the air O liberty and the March.
  • 15 April : The oratorio closes; final performance of Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63). [CG]
  • 7-8 May : J. S. Bach visits Friedrich the Great and improvises on the King's theme (which inspired the Musical Offering). [Postdam]
  • 1 June : Begins to compose Alexander Balus (HWV 65).
  • 2 July : Marshal de Saxe defeats the Duke of Cumberland [Lauffeld, The Lower Countries]
  • 4 July : Completes composition of Alexander Balus (HWV 65).
  • 9 July : Giovanni Bononcini (76) dies. [Vienna]
  • 19 July : Begins to compose Joshua (HWV 64).
  • 19 August : Completes composition of Joshua (HWV 64).
  • 14 November : The "Middlesex" opera company opens their season with the pasticcio opera, Lucio Vero -- based on on Handelian works. [KT]
  • Composes three hymns. (HWV 284-6)

1748 -- The "War of the Austrian Succession" ends...Lord Middlesex withdraws from opera (63)

  • Joseph-Nicolas-Pancere Royer and Gabriel Capperan assume direction of the Concert Spirituel. [Paris]
  • Thomas Lowe replaces John Beard as GFH's principal tenor.
  • 20 February : The "Middlesex" opera company revives Rossane -- arranged by Lampugnani from Alessandro (HWV 21). [KT]
  • 26 February : Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) is revived to begin new series of Lenten concerts. [CG]
  • 9 March : Joshua (HWV 64) premieres; it is performed with a "new Concerto" -- probably the Concerto a due cori in B flat major, No. 1 (HWV 332). [CG]
  • 23 March : Alexander Balus (HWV 65) premieres; it is performed with a "new Concerto" -- probably the Concerto a due cori in F major, No. 2 (HWV 333). [CG]
  • 7 April : Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) is performed to close the oratorio season. [CG]
  • 30 April : Preliminary Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen).
  • 5 May : Begins to compose Solomon (HWV 67).
  • 13 June : Completes compostion of Solomon (HWV 67).
  • 11 July : Begins to compose Susanna (HWV 66).
  • 24 August : Completes composition of Susanna (HWV 66).
  • 18 October : The Treaty (or Peace) of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) is signed concluding the "War of the Austrian Succession" (1740-). The treaty is signed between George II, the Empress Maria Theresa, Louis XV of France, Charles Emanuel III of Sardinia, Ferdinand VI of Spain, Francis III of Modena, the United Provinces of the Low Countries, and the Republic of Genoa. It restores Louisbourg (in Canada) to France, gave Madras (in India) to the British, accorded Silesia from Austria to Prussia, and confirmed the succession of Maria Theresa to the Austrian throne. In addition, Austria ceded the duchies of Parma and Piacenza and other of its Italian holdings (Gustalla) to Philip V of Spain. The treaty also confirms the succession of the House of Hanover to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. France evacuates the Austrian Netherlands.

1749 -- PAX and fireworks...The Foundling Hospital beckons (64)

  • 2 February : Peace is proclaimed in London.
  • 10 February :
    • Susanna (HWV 66) premieres to open series of Lenten concerts. [CG]
    • London début performance of Giulia Frasi (soprano).
  • 3 March : Samson (HWV 57) is revived. [CG]
  • 17 March : Solomon (HWV 67) premières. [CG]
  • 23 March : The oratorio concert season closes with a revival of Messiah (HWV 56). [CG]
  • End of March (?) : Completes composition of the Music for the Royal Fireworks (HWV 351) in celebration of the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle; This is GFH's last ceremonial commission for the House of Hanover.
  • 28 March : The Duke of Montague (Master General of the Ordnance) writes irritably to Charles Frederick ("Comptroller of his Majesty's Fireworks as well as for War as for Triumph"):

      "I think Hendel now proposes to have but 12 trumpets and 12 French horns; at first there was to have been sixteen of each, and I remember I told the King so, who, at that time, objected to their being any musick; but, when I told him the quantity and nomber of martial musick there was to be, he was better satisfied, and said he hoped there would be no fidles. Now Hendel proposes to lessen the nomber of trumpets &c. and to have violeens. I don't at all doubt but when the King hears it he will be very much displeased..."

  • By 9 April : GFH compromises on the scoring: 9 trumpets, 9 horns, 24 oboes, 12 bassoons, a contra-bassoon (later deleted), and 3 kettle-drums, with strings indicated to double the oboes and bassoons.
  • 17 April : Music for the Royal Fireworks (HWV 351) is rehearsed. [GFH's home on Brook Street, London]
  • 21 April : Against GFH's wishes, the Music for the Royal Fireworks (HWV 351) is rehearsed in public. 12,000 people were said to have attended. The resulting traffic jam blocked London Bridge for 3 hours, and "some gentlemen were wounded" during various altercations. [Vauxhall Gardens, London]
  • 22 April : The Peace Anthem (HWV 266) and "Queen Caroline" Te Deum (HWV 280) are rehearsed.
  • 25 April : The Peace Anthem (HWV 266) and "Queen Caroline" Te Deum (HWV 280) are performed during the official service of thanksgiving for the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. [Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace]
  • 27 April : First unrehearsed performance of the Music for the Royal Fireworks (HWV 351). During the celebration, Giovanni Servandoni's grandThe Grand Pavillion pavilion catches on fire and burns to the ground. In a fit of anger, Servandoni draws his sword on Charles Frederick, ("Comptroller of his Majesty's Fireworks as well as for War as for Triumph"), is disarmed, and spends the night in prison [Green Park, London]
  • 4 May : GFH attends the General Committee of the Foundling Hospital and offers a performance to benefit the charity at the newly built Chapel.
  • 27 May :
    • First Foundling Hospital benefit concert in its new (uncomplete) chapel; attended by the Prince and Princess of Wales. £350 raised for the charity. [FHC]
    • Foundling Hospital Anthem (HWV 268) premieres.
    • Other compositions include Music for the Royal Fireworks (HWV 351; including parts for strings), Dettingen Anthem (HWV 265), and selections from Solomon (HWV 67).
  • 28 June : Begins to compose Theodora (HWV 68).
  • 31 July : Completes composition of Theodora (HWV 68).
  • By 19 August : Travels to Bath.
  • 5 September : Heidegger (83) dies.
  • by 30 September : Returns to London.
  • 27 December : Begins to compose music for Tobias Smollet's play Alceste (HWV 45).

1750 -- Elected a Governor of the Foundling Hospital...Handel cheats death in Holland (65)

  • 8 January : Completes the music for Alceste (HWV 45) -- but two airs probably recomposed at a later time.
  • The planned performances of Alceste (HWV 45) are cancelled.
  • 31 January : Completes the Organ Concerto in G minor, Op 7 No 5 (HWV 310).
  • 13 February : Lord Shaftesbury reports to James Harris that he has

      "seen Handel several times...and think I never saw him so cool and well. He is quite easy in his behaviour, and has been pleasing himself in the purchase of several fine pictures, particularly a large Rembrandt, which is indeed excellent..."

  • The Rembrandt cost him about £8000.
  • 2 March : A new Lenten concert series opens with a revival of Saul (HWV 53). [CG]
  • 9 March : Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) is revived. [CG]
  • 16 March : Theodora (HWV 68) premieres with the new Organ Concerto in G minor, Op 7 No 5 (HWV 310). GFH remarks, "it sounded well in a half-empty room." [CG]
  • 1 April : On or before this date, the oculist ("ophthalmiater") John Taylor (1703-1772) operates on J.S. Bach's eyes.
  • 4 April : Samson (HWV 57) is revived. [CG]
  • 4-8 April : John Taylor operates for a second time on J.S. Bach's eyes.
  • 12 April : Messiah (HWV 56) is revived ending the oratorio season -- with new settings of "But who may abide" and "Thou art gone up" composed for the castrato Gaetano Guadagni. [CG]
  • 1 May : Messiah (HWV 56) is performed to benefit the Foundling Hospital charity. [FHC]
  • 9 May : Elected a Governor of the Foundling Hospital.
  • 15 May :
    • Because of overcrowding during the May 1 performance, Messiah (HWV 56) is performed a second time for the benefit of the Foundling Hospital charity.
    • First documented report of an audience standing during the Hallelujah chorus. [FHC]
  • 1 June : Makes out his Will -- including a large bequest to John Chistopher Smith (the elder) of "my large Harpsichord, my little House Organ, my Musick Books, and five hundred Pounds sterl"; his niece Johanna Floerken is the residual legatee.
  • 28 June : Begins to compose The Choice of Hercules (HWV 69).
  • 5 July : Completes composition of The Choice of Hercules (HWV 69).
  • 28 July : J. S. Bach (65) dies soon after an unsuccessful eye operation by the oculist, John Taylor. [Leipzig]
  • circa 11 August : Travels to Germany for the last time.
  • 21 August : The General Advertiser reports that GFH was hurt in a coach accident between The Hague and Haarlem, but that he "is now out of Danger."
  • 27 August (New Style) : Visits Haarlem.
  • 10 September (New Style) : Plays the organ for the Prince of Orange and Princess Anne. [Deventer]
  • 20 September (New Style) : Plays church organ. [de Grote of St. Bavo, Haarlem] 
  • 2 & 7 December (New Style) : Plays the organ for the Prince and Princess of Orange. [The Hague]
  • by 14 December : Returns to London.
  • 14 December : Writes to his old friend, Georg Telemann, commenting on the singer Passerini and thanking him for the copy of Das neue musikalische System; GFH tells Telemann in the letter that he is sending him a gift crate of rare plants -- Telemann is an amateur botanist.

1751 -- Twilight sets in...A young apprentice steps in (66)

  • 1 January : Begins to compose the Organ Concerto in B flat major, Op 7 No 3 (HWV 308).
  • 4 January : Completes composition of the Organ Concerto in B flat major, Op 7 No 3 (HWV 308); this is his final instrumental work.
  • 21 January : Begins to draft Act I of Jephtha (HWV 70).
  • 2 February : Completes the draft for Act I of Jephtha (HWV 70).
  • ? February : Begins to draft Act II of Jephtha (HWV 70).
  • 13 February : While composing the chorus, How dark, O Lord, are thy decrees in Act II of Jephtha (HWV 70), GFH is unable to continue because of "relaxation" of his left eye.
  • 22 February : Belshazzar (HWV 61) revived opening a new series of Lenten concerts. [CG]
  • 23 February : Resumes work drafting Act II of Jephtha (HWV 70) feeling "etwas besser".
  • 27 February : Completes the draft of Act II of Jephtha (HWV 70).
  • 1 March :
    • Alexander's Feast (HWV 75) revived along with the première of The Choice of Hercules (HWV 69). The Organ Concerto in B flat major, Op 7 No 3 (HWV 308) is premiered following Act II of Alexander's Feast. [CG] (NOTE: The Choice of Hercules (HWV 69) was originally considered "an additional New Act" to Alexander's Feast (HWV 75))
  • 14 March : Sir Edward Turner reports

      "Noble Handel hath lost an eye, but I have the Rapture to say that St Cecilia makes no complaint of any defect in his Fingers".

  • 15 March : Esther (HWV 50b) is revived. [CG]
  • 20 March :
    • Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) is revived. [CG]
    • Frederick, Prince of Wales, dies; the remainder of the oratorio season is cancelled.
  • 18 April : Messiah (HWV 56) is performed to benefit the Foundling Hospital charity. GFH plays a voluntary on the organ. [FHC]
  • The bass Henry Theodore Reinhold dies.
  • May : Act passed for adoption of the reformed (Gregorian) calendar throughout England and its colonies. The year will begin on 1 January instead of 25 March.
  • 16 May : Messiah (HWV 56) is performed to benefit the Foundling Hospital charity. GFH plays a voluntary on the organ. [FHC]
  • 3 June : Arrives in Bath.
  • 13 June : Returns to London after taking the waters at Cheltenham and having received treatment from Samuel Sharp (eye surgeon, Guy's Hospital) for "incipient gutta serena." (any form of blindness where the eye appeared normal on examination; e.g., glaucoma)
  • John Christopher Smith, the younger (1712-95), returns from France to assist with the management of the oratorio seasons.
  • 18 June : Begins to draft Act III of Jephtha (HWV 70).
  • "15 or 17 July" : Completes the draft of Act III of Jephtha (HWV 70).
  • Late July : Foundling Hospital general committee considers arrangements for opening the chapel.
  • 30 August : Completes composition of Jephtha (HWV 70).

1752 -- Total darkness...Attempts at treatment are unsuccessful (67)

  • January : James Harris writes in a letter to Thomas Harris:

    "Handel you know has composed Jephtha, and I am sorry to say that I believe this Lent will be the last that he will ever be able to preside at an oratorio; for he breaks very much & is I think quite blind in one eye."

  • 14 February : A new series of Lenten concerts opens with a revival of Joshua (HWV 64). [CG]
  • 21 February : Hercules (HWV 60) is revived. [CG]
  • 26 February : Jephtha (HWV 70) premieres. [CG]
  • 6 March : Samson (HWV 57) is revived. [CG]
  • 18 March : Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) is revived. [CG]
  • 26 March : The oratorio concert series closes with a revival of Messiah (HWV 56).
  • 9 April : Messiah (HWV 56) is performed to benefit the Foundling Hospital charity. [FHC]
  • 20 July : Johann Christoph Pepusch (circa 85) dies.
  • 17 August : Newspaper report is published that GFH was

"seiz'd a few days ago with a Paralytick Disorder in his Head which has deprived him of Sight".

  • September: British Calendar (Old Style) changes to the Continental style (New Style) with 2 September being followed by 14 September. (September 3-13 are omitted.)
  • 3 November : Undergoes eye operation ("couching" -- a procedure to treat cataracts) by William Bromfield, Surgeon to the Princess of Wales, to restore his sight. The operation is a short-term success.

1753 -- Retires from public performance (68)

  • 23 January : Reportedly well enough to go out of doors.
  • 27 January : A London newspaper reports that GFH has "quite lost his Sight".
  • 9 March :
    • Lady Shaftesbury reports,

"it was such a melancholy pleasure, as drew tears of sorrow, to see the great though unhappy Handel, dejected, wan and dark, sitting by, not playing on the harpsichord, and to think how his light had been spent by being overplied in music's cause. I was sorry to find the audience so insipid and tasteless (I may add unkind) not to give the poor man the comfort of applause; but affectation and conceit cannot discern or attend to merit."

  • A new series of Lenten concerts opens with a revival ofAlexander's Feast (HWV 75) along with The Choice of Hercules (HWV 69). [CG]
  • 16 March : Jephtha (HWV 70) is revived. [CG]
  • 23 March : Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) is revived. [CG]
  • 3-5 April : A London newspaper reports a false rumor that GFH is composing an anthem for his own funeral.
  • 4 April : Samson (HWV 57) is revived. [CG]
  • 13 April : The oratorio concert series closes with a revival of Messiah (HWV 56). [CG]
  • 16 April : Foundling Hospital Anthem (HWV 268) is revived for the official opening of Foundling Hospital Chapel. [FHC]
  • 1 May : Messiah (HWV 56) is performed to benefit the Foundling Hospital charity. GFH plays organ concerto and voluntary -- last report of his performing before the public. [FHC]
  • December : The Musical Society of Edinburgh request copies of the unpublished sections of Messiah (HWV 56) and other oratorios. GFH directs John Christopher Smith (the elder) to provide them.

1754 -- Handelian opera enters the eclipse (69)

  • 1 March : A new series of Lenten concerts opens with a revival of Alexander Balus (HWV 65). [CG]
  • 8 March : Deborah (HWV 51) is revived. [CG]
  • 12 March : Admeto, re di Tessaglia (HWV 22) is revived in an altered version by Francesco Vanneschi's opera company. [KT]
  • 17 March : Saul (HWV 53) is revived. [CG]
  • 22 March : Joshua (HWV 64) is revived. [CG]
  • 27 March : Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) is revived. [CG]
  • 29 March : Samson (HWV 57) is revived. [CG]
  • 5 April : The oratorio concert series closes with a revival of Messiah (HWV 56). [CG]
  • 6 April : Final performance of Admeto, re di Tessaglia (HWV 22) -- The last staged performance of any Handel opera until the 20th century. [KT]
  • 15 May : Messiah (HWV 56) is performed to benefit the Foundling Hospital charity -- probably the last time under GFH's direction. [FHC]
  • 23 May : L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato (HWV 55) is revived along with the Ode for St. Cecilia's Day (HWV 76). [CG]
  • 25 June : The General Committee of the Foundling Hospital notes GFH's approval of the younger John Christopher Smith being appointed the organist of the Foundling Hospital Chapel, and "on Account of his (GFH's) Health he excused himself from giving any further Instructions relating to the Performances."
  • 20 September : Dictates and signs letter to his old friend, Georg Telemann, rejoicing that rumors of Telemann's death are false and promises to send him another shipment of exotic plants.

1755 (70)

  • 14 February : A new series of Lenten concerts opens with a revival of Alexander's Feast (HWV 75) along with The Choice of Hercules (HWV 69). [CG]
  • 21 February : L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato (HWV 55) is revived along with the Ode for St. Cecilia's Day (HWV 76). [CG]
  • 26 February : Samson (HWV 57) is revived. [CG]
  • 28 February : Joseph and his Brethren (HWV 59) is revived. [CG]
  • 5 March : Theodora (HWV 68) is revived. [CG]
  • 12 March : Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) is revived. [CG]
  • 19 March : Messiah (HWV 56) is revived. [CG]
  • 21 March : The oratorio concert series closes with a revival of Messiah (HWV 56). [CG]
  • 1 May : Messiah (HWV 56) is performed to benefit the Foundling Hospital charity. [FHC]
  • 1 December : Maurice Greene (59) dies.

1756 -- The "Seven Years War" begins. (71)

  • 16 January : Treaty of Westminster (Great Britain/Prussia) is signed.
  • 27 January : Wolfgang Theophilus (later Amadeus) Mozart is born.
  • 5 March : A new Lenten concert series opens with a revival of Athalia (HWV 52). [CG]
  • 17 March : Israel in Egypt (HWV 54) is revived with a new Part I. [CG] According to Mrs. Delany,

      "It did not take, it is too solemn for common ears."

  • 19 March : Deborah (HWV 51) is revived. [CG]
  • 26 March : Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) is revived. [CG]
  • 2 April : Jephtha (HWV 70) is revived. [CG]
  • 9 April : The oratorio concert series closes with a revival of Messiah (HWV 56). [CG]
  • 1 May : Alliance of Versailles (France/Austria).
  • 15 May : Great Britain declares war on France beginning the "Seven Years War" (-1763; by the conclusion of the conflict, France cedes Canada and the Mississippi Valley to Britain. Robert Clive captures India from the French at the Battle of Plassey (1757).
  • 19 May : Messiah (HWV 56) is performed to benefit the Foundling Hospital charity. [FHC]
  • 6 August : Adds Thomas Morrell and Newburgh Hamilton to his Will. In addition, he increases John Christopher Smith's (the elder) bequest by £1500.
  • 29 August : Frederick the Great invades Saxony.

1757 -- England's adopted Orpheus is silenced (72)

  • 8 February : Lord Shaftesbury writes in a letter to James Harris that GFH

      "is better than he has been for some years and finds he can compose Chorus's as well as other music to his own...satisfaction. His memory is strengthened of late to an astonishing degree."

  • Possibly collaborates with Thomas Morell over the adaption of Il trionfo del Tempo e della Verità (HWV 46b) into The Triumph of Time and Truth (HWV 71).
  • 25 February :
    • A new series of Lenten concerts opens with a revival of Esther (HWV 50b). [CG]
    • According to Thomas Morrell, the new addition, Sion now her head shall rise, is the last chorus composed by GFH.
  • 7 March : Israel in Egypt (HWV 54) is revived. [CG]
  • 9 March : Joseph and his Brethren (HWV 59) is revived. [CG]
  • 11 March : The Triumph of Time and Truth (HWV 71) premieres. [CG]
  • 22 March : GFH modifies his Will for the second time.
  • 25 March : Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) is revived. [CG]
  • 30 March : Messiah (HWV 56) is revived. [CG]
  • 1 April : Oratrio concert series closes with revival of Messiah (HWV 56). [CG]
  • 5 May : Messiah (HWV 56) is performed to benefit the Foundling Hospital charity. [FHC]
  • 23 July : Domenico Scarlatti (71) dies.
  • 4 August : GFH modifies his Will for the third time, bequeathing his theater organ at CG to John Rich, paintings to Jennens and Bernard Granville, and a "fair copy of the Score and all Parts" of Messiah (HWV 56) to the Foundling Hospital.
  • 31 December : Lord Shaftesbury writes in a letter to James Harris that GFH is

      "pretty well and has just finished the composing of several new songs for his new singer" (referring to Cassandra Frederick).

1758 -- New attempts at regaining sight...unsuccessful (73)

  • 10 February : A a new series of Lenten concerts opens with a revival ofThe Triumph of Time and Truth (HWV 71). [CG]
  • 22 February : Belshazzar (HWV 61) is revived. [CG]
  • 24 February : Israel in Egypt (HWV 54) is revived. [CG]
  • 1 March : Jephtha (HWV 70) is revived. [CG]
  • 3 March : Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) is revived. [CG]
  • 10 March : Messiah (HWV 56) is revived. [CG]
  • 17 March : The oratorio concert series closes with a revival of Messiah (HWV 56). [CG]
  • 11 April : Second Treaty of Westminster: Prussia and Britain pledge not to make a seperate peace.
  • 27 April : Messiah (HWV 56) is performed to benefit the Foundling Hospital charity. [FHC]
  • August : Travels to Tunbridge Wells (possibly with Thomas Morell) where he is treated unsuccessfully -- by the oculist John Taylor.

1759 -- "...now done with this world" (74)

  • 12 January : Princess Anne dies. [The Hague]
  • 2 March : A Lenten concert series opens with a revival of Solomon (HWV 67); it is greatly revised by the younger Smith. [CG]
  • 9 March : Susanna (HWV 66) is revived. [CG]
  • 14 March : Samson (HWV 57) is revived. [CG]
  • 23 March : Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) is revived. [CG]
  • 30 March : Messiah (HWV 56) is revived. [CG]
  • 6 Apirl : The oratorio concert series closes with a revival of Messiah (HWV 56). GFH attends the performance. [CG]
  • 7 April : GFH intends to travel to Bath but is too ill to do so.
  • 11 April : Modifies his Will for the fourth time, bequeathing £1000 to the Society for the Support of Decayed Musicians and desiring burial in Westminster Abbey and for a monument of him to be erected there. He bequeaths £600 for the monument.

      "I hope to have the permission of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster to be buried in Westminster Abbey in a private manner at the discretion of my Executor, Mr. Amyand, and I desire that my Executor, may have leave to erect a monument for me there."

  • 13 April: A friend, James Smyth, visits GFH and reports:

      "He took leave of all his friends on Friday morning, and desired to see nobody but the Doctor and Apothecary and myself. At 7 o'clock in the evening he took leave of me, and told me we "should meet again"; as soon as I was gone he told his servant 'not to let me come to him any more, for that he had now done with this world'. He died as he lived -- a good Christian, with true sense of his duty to God and man, and in perfect charity with all the world."

  • 14 April; approx. 8 am : Dies at his home on Brook Street.
  • 20 April :
    • Buried in the South Transept to the accompaniment of a funeral anthem by William Croft. [WA]
    • The London Evening Post reports:

      "It is computed there were no fewer than 3000 Persons present on this Occasion."

  • 21 April : The Universal Chronicle prints, "An Attempt towards an Epitaph":

      Beneath this Place
      Are reposited the Remains of
      GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL.
      The most Excellent Musician
      Any Age ever produced:
      Whose Compositions were a
      Sentimental Language
      Rather than mere Sounds;
      And surpassed the Power of Words
      In expressing the various Passions
      Of the Human Heart.

  • 3 May : The younger Smith directs a performance of Messiah (HWV 56) to benefit the Foundling Hospital charity. [FHC]
  • 24 May : A memorial concert of GFH's sacred music is given under the direction of the younger Smith: The Foundling Hospital Anthem (HWV 268) and the Coronation Anthems (HWV 258-61).
  • 27 August : By order of his GFH's executors, the contents of his house are sold to his servant John Duburk.
  • 10 October : One of the executors, George Amyand, pays the residue of the estate to GFH's niece, Johanna Floerken.

Forward to 1760 and Beyond


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