The Magnificent Handel

1 day, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm


Handel is the greatest, ablest composer that ever lived.” Thus said Beethoven of the composer best-known for his choral music, particularly Messiah. But in his own time Handel was known as a German who wrote Italian operas for English audiences. This study day examines the whole range of Handel’s music, as well as the highs and lows of his life and career.

Course Outline

Session 1

  • What do we think of when we think of Handel?
  • Handel’s Place in History
  • Social and Historical Background: The Baroque Period
  • Handel’s Musical Style
  • Zadok the Priest
  • The Harmonious Blacksmith

Session 2

  • The Early Years
  • Germany and Opera
  • Italy and travelling
  • Dixit Dominus

Session 3

  • Handel in London: operas and the Royal Academy of Music
  • Rinaldo
  • Julius Caesar
  • The Water Music

Session 4

  • Handel in London continued: oratorios
  • Messiah
  • The Royal Fireworks Music
  • Handel's final years
Book cover The Magnificent Handel

Buy the course notes for this class

In hard copy book form, through Lulu Press
$18 + postage


“Very enjoyable as well as insightful and interesting”

“Appreciate the explanations especially pointing out what to listen for and the piano demonstrations. Also the time/piece explanations (analysis) of the music with the descriptions and words. Very well prepared”

“The preparation for this course was very thorough and informative. Thank you, Susan, for a very pleasant day spent listening to pleasant music”

“This is a terrific course. The lecturer is so well informed and is passionate about her subject. I will look forward to her future courses”

“I always find Susan’s talks excellent and most interesting – her subject knowledge brings alive the composers she talks about”

“Very good indeed”

About Susan Deas

Susan Deas is a professional musician, lecturer and teacher. She has been teaching music appreciation courses for more than twenty years, through Sydney University's Centre for Continuing Education, WEA Sydney and at other venues. Her training includes a Bachelor of Music with a major in Performance (Piano) and Musicology, a Master of Music Studies (Studio Pedagogy), a Bachelor of Arts (Communications), and an A.Mus.A in Musicianship. Susan teaches piano and music theory to adults and children, and plays piano and organ at various venues around Sydney. Susan is an accredited piano teacher and musicianship teacher, and is on the Council of the Music Teachers’ Association of NSW.

More about Susan's qualifications

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Susan's other music courses