Who is Greater, J.S Bach or G.F Handel

Essay by howardfuA-, April 2004

download word file, 4 pages 4.1

According to my research on both the great Baroque composers, I feel that Johann Sebastian Bach has contributed more to the Baroque period then George Frederic Handel. Johann Sebastian Bach may not be well known to the public until the Baroque Revival by Mendelssohn in the Romantic period, but his works now are a lot more famous then Handel's works as his works are generally more influential to composers and it is far more interesting then George Frederic Handel's oratorios. (Example: Johann Sebastian Bach and use his name for the motif of this last fugue.) (From an unofficial survey by http://www.classicalarchives.com, I see that about 18.30% preferred Bach Then Handel as a more favourable composer. Refer to figure 1)

1. BEETHOVEN 18.42%

2. J.S BACH 18.38%

3. MOZART 17.20%

4. CHOPIN 9.86%




8. VIVALDI 1.50%

9. OCKEGHEM 1.16%

10. LISZT 1.04%

11. BRAHMS 1.01%

12. HANDEL 0.95%

Figure 1. Popularity of the composers' top 12

Although not as great as Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederic Handel (otherwise known as Georg Frederich Handël) has also contributed very massively to the Baroque period. His Oratorios is as famous as Bach's Preludes and Fugues, Concertos etc. George Frederic Handel mostly concentrate on entertainment of the public, thus more well known to the people of the middle classes unlike Johann Sebastian Bach where he works in either the courts of the royalties or in the churches. As his duty is to entertain the public, therefore George Frederic Handel does not necessary need such a rich harmonious and complex chords like Johann Sebastian Bach. He has contributed to mostly of the opera part of the Baroque period but not really in the orchestral side. As reference from http://home.att.net/~dorak/music/jsbgfh.html, I can see that Handel uses...