Charles Hazlewood


Charles Hazlewood outlines the plans for Handel broadcasts during the Composers of the Year celebrations. Charles was filmed specially for the website in the Church of St Martin-within-Ludgate in the City of London. There has been a church on the site since 1174; the current building was completed in 1680 after the previous church was gutted in the Great Fire of London (1666).


Composers of the Year (Radio 3) and The Birth of British Music (BBC Two) is a celebration of the lives of four magnificent composers throughout 2009. The year marks the 350th anniversary of Purcell's birth, the 250th anniversary of Handel's death, the 200th anniversary of Haydn's death and 200th anniversary of Mendelssohn's birth.

German born, but hard-wired into Britain's musical culture: George Frideric Handel gave us Messiah, Zadok the Priest, the Water Music, Music for the Royal Fireworks, countless oratorios and more than 40 operas. It's 250 years since Handel's death: no figure looms larger in our national musical history than the ambitious, determined and hard-working composer who came to these shores and carved a living for himself without any patronage from royalty. During 2009, Radio 3 will tell the story of how Handel came to be well-known and popular with the public, but managed to remain an enigma in his personal life. Handel highlights on Radio 3 include Messiah, staged specially at Westminster Abbey on the anniversary of his death; and for the first time ever, you can hear all of Handel's operas in one broadcast series.

BBC Music Composer Profile



Visit the Handel picture gallery for a fascinating visual guide to Handel's life and times.

Click to enter the Gallery


Suzanne Aspden

Join Suzanne Aspden as she presents her Handel Calling Cards from London locations associated with Handel and his music.

Click to find the map and audio files


Scene from a Handel opera

You can find full details of the 2009 Handel Opera Cycle schedule, including links to cast lists, synopses and programme notes here.

Click for the Handel opera schedule


You can watch extra video footage and interviews, shot specially for this website, from the Birth of British Music Episode 2 - Handel.

Click here for the Handel video extras page


We've been canvassing listeners to Breakfast for their favourite HandelBars, and these are the results! Top 10 HandelBars is actually a Top 14, because of ties. Here is the full list, together with our suggested recordings for each piece.

1. As Steals The Morn from L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato
With Ian Bostridge (tenor), Kate Royal (soprano), and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conducted by Harry Bicket.
EMI 3822432

2. Waft her angels, from Jephtha
With Mark Padmore (tenor) and the English Concert conducted by Andrew Manze. Harmonia Mundi HMU907422

3. Dixit Dominus
With the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner
Warner Apex 0927486832

=4. Where ere you walk
With Mark Padmore (tenor) and the English Concert conducted by Andrew Manze.
Harmonia Mundi HMU907422

=4. The Harmonious Blacksmith
Laurence Cummings's harpsichord disc will be released soon.
Piano choice: Murray Perahia
Sony SK 62785

=6. Silent Worship, aka Non lo dirò col labbro, from Tolomeo
With Ann Hallenberg (mezzo-soprano) and Il Complesso Barocco conducted by Alan Curtis
DG Archiv 4777106

=6. Eternal Source of light devine, from Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne
With James Bowman (countertenor), Crispin Steele-Perkins (trumpet) and the King's Consort, directed by Robert King
Hyperion CDA66315

=6. As with rosy steps the morn,  from Theodora
With Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (mezzo-soprano), and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment conducted by Harry Bicket
Avie AV0030

9. Va Tacito (How silently, how slyly), from Giulio Cesare
With Dame Janet Baker (mezzo soprano) and the English National Opera Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras
Chandos CHAN 3019

=10. Water Music
With Le Concert Spirituel, directed by Herve Niquet
Glossa GCDSA921616

=10. Ombra Mai Fu, from Xerxes
With Kathleen Ferrier (contralto), and the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent
Pearl GEM0229

=10. The trumpet shall sound, from Messiah
With David Thomas (bass), and the Taverner Choir & Players, conducted by Andrew Parrott
Virgin Veritas 5620042

=10. I know my redeemer liveth, from Messiah
With Emma Kirkby (soprano) and the Academy of Ancient Music, directed by Christopher Hogwood
Decca 4304882

=10. Ode for St Ceclia's Day
With Felicity Lott (soprano), Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor), and the English Concert conducted by Trevor Pinnock
DG Archiv Blue 4745492


Composers of the Year offers you the chance to receive text alerts giving details of forthcoming broadcasts and events. It's simple to sign up and once you've done so, your text alerts will be free. Click on the link below for full details.

Become a fan of Handel


Composer of the Week: George Frideric Handel
Donald Macleod introduces one of Radio 3's Composers of the Year - Handel. Episode 1 offers a complete survey of Handel's career as documented by the composer's first biographer, John Mainwaring, in 1760. Episode 2 is an exploration of Handel's oratorios.These episodes are edited compilations of an entire week of programmes, broadcast earlier this year, and are only available within the UK.

Download Composer of the Week - Handel Episode 1
Download Composer of the Week - Handel Episode 2
Help with downloading


BBC TWO logo

The Composers of the Year feature in a BBC 2 series, in May 2009 - Charles Hazlewood introduces the programmes.

More about the series

Radio Programmes

Thursday afternoons throughout 2009

Afternoon on 3 - Handel Opera Cycle

On Thursdays at 2pm, throughout 2009, Afternoon on 3 presents a performance in the complete cycle of Handel’s operas. The cycle resumes after the 2009 Proms season,  with Orlando on 17 September.



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