The German city of Halle & Georg Friedrich Händel

Halle is the largest city in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is also called Halle an der Saale (literally Halle on the Saale river, and in some historic references simply Saale after the river) in order to distinguish it from the town of Halle in North Rhine-Westphalia. Halle (Saale) is situated in the southern part of Saxony-Anhalt, along the river Saale which drains the surrounding plains and the greater part of the neighboring Free State of Thuringia located just to its south, and the Thuringian basin, northwards from the Thuringian Forest. Leipzig, one of the other major cities of eastern Germany, is only 40 km away.
Halle's early history is connected with harvesting of salt. In fact the name Halle may be derived from a Pre-Germanic word for salt ("hall"). The name of the river Saale also contains the Germanic root for salt, and salt-harvesting has taken place in Halle at least since the time of the Bronze Age (2300-600 BC). The town was first mentioned in 806. It became a part of the Archbishopric of Magdeburg in the 10th century and remained so until 1680, when Brandenburg-Prussia annexed it together with Magdeburg as the Duchy of Magdeburg, while it was also an important spot of Martin Luther's Reformation with Albert of Mainz as his ecclesiastic counterpart. The Battle of Halle was fought between French and Prussian forces on 17 October 1806. The fighting moved from the covered bridges on the west side of the city, through the streets and market place, to the eastern suburbs. In 1815 Halle became part of the Prussian Province of Saxony. After World War II Halle served as the capital of the short-lived administrative region of Saxony-Anhalt, this was until 1952 when the East German government abolished its "Länder" (States). As a part of East Germany (until 1990), it functioned as the capital of the administrative district ("Bezirk") of Halle. When Saxony-Anhalt was re-established as a Bundesland, Magdeburg became the capital. According to historic documents, the city of Halle has been a member of the Hanseatic League at least since 1281.

Georg Friedrich Händel was born in Halle on 23 February 1685. He was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, and concertos. Händel was born in the same year as Johann Sebastian Bach and Domenico Scarlatti. He received critical musical training in Italy before settling in London and becoming a naturalised British subject. His works include Messiah, Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks. He was strongly influenced by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition. Händel's music was well-known to composers including Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.
Händel was born in Halle to Georg and Dorothea Händel in 1685. His father, Georg Händel, 63 when his son was born, was an eminent barber-surgeon who served as surgeon to the court of Saxe-Weissenfels and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. He strictly forbade his son to meddle with any musical instrument but Händel found means to get a little clavichord privately convey'd to a room at the top of the house. At an early age Händel became a skillful performer on the harpsichord and pipe organ. In 1702, following his father's wishes, Händel started studying law at the University of Halle; and also earned an appointment as the organist at the local Protestant cathedral. After a year Händel seems to have been unsatisfied and in 1703, he accepted a position as violinist and harpsichordist in the orchestra of the Hamburg opera house. There he met Johann Mattheson, Christoph Graupner and Reinhard Keiser. His first two operas, Almira and Nero, were produced in 1705. He produced two other operas, Daphne and Florindo, in 1708. It is unclear whether Händel directed these performances.