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George Frideric Handel

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Georg Händel (1622–97) was the son of a coppersmith, Valentin Händel, who had emigrated from Eisleben in 1608 with his first wife Anna Belching, the daughter of a master coppersmith. They were Protestants and chose reliably Protestant Saxony over Silesia, a Habsburg possession, as religious tensions mounted in the years before the Thirty Years War. Halle was a relatively prosperous city, home of a salt-mining industry and center of trade (and member of the Hanseatic League). The Margrave of Brandenburg became the administrator of the archiepiscopal territories of Mainz, including Magdeburg when they converted, and by the early 17th century held his court in Halle, which attracted renowned musicians. [d] Even the smaller churches all had "able organists and fair choirs",[e] and humanities and the letters thrived (Shakespeare was performed in the theaters early in the 17th century). The Thirty Years War brought extensive destruction to Halle, and by the 1680s it was impoverished. However, since the middle of the war the city had been under the administration of the Duke of Saxony, and soon after the end of the war he would bring musicians trained in Dresden to his court in Weissenfels.

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