Händel, one of the two greatest baroque composers, and one of the greatest composers of all time, seems to have lived a very discreet personal life. All biographies I've read never mention anything about a love life. My curiosity grew out of a comment made by a classical music critic on the radio that "Händel never married and led a very private personal life. His closest friends, however, were known to be gay."

Note: I'm not sure whether this question is on topic here. Feel free to closevote it if it isn't.

  • 2
    What would be an "evidence" of someone's homosexuality ?
    – Bebs
    Jun 26, 2017 at 7:11
  • @Bebs There's a difference between "signs of someone's homosexuality" and "evidence of being a homosexual". Signs of homosexuality are subjective (feelings, urgings, attractions, thoughts, fantasies) As for evidence of being gay, one or several male lovers would be enough. Frederick the Great is said to have been gay. At the age of seventeen his lover was decapitated in front of him, by his father's orders. He had had sexual encounters before. His father forced him to get married and he wrote to his sister about his affliction and how he was considering suicide. These are all evidence.
    – Centaurus
    Jun 26, 2017 at 14:03
  • See this: jstor.org/stable/41300166
    – xhienne
    Jul 28, 2017 at 2:16
  • @xhienne If you write an answer based on what you've found, I will certainly accept it.
    – Centaurus
    Jul 28, 2017 at 16:22
  • 1
    @Centaurus. Unfortunately, I have no access to this article and the first page as well as the abstract can hardly serve as a ground for an answer. So, I have no evidence for you. I just wanted to stress that, according to the abstract, there seems to be a consensus that he was gay, and the author asserts there is no basis for such a claim.
    – xhienne
    Jul 28, 2017 at 16:33

1 Answer 1


In the Journal of the Royal Musical Association Vol. 136, No. 1 (2011), pp. 33-71 there is an article "Handel and Homosexuality: Burlington House and Cannons Revisited" by Thomas McGeary. I can't find the full text of the article, but the abstract probably contains enough information:

It has been claimed that Burlington House and Cannons, the homes of the Earl of Burlington and the Duke of Chandos, were homosexual or homoerotic settings and that Handel's presence in these environments suggests that he was ‘gay’ or influenced the secular works he composed there. Examining in detail biographical information about John Gay, Alexander Pope and William Kent, eighteenth-century biographical accounts of Handel and insights from the history of sexuality, this article argues that there is no basis for these claims about the homosexual milieux at Burlington House and Cannons or for Handel's sexuality.

  • "...this article argues that there is no basis for these claims about the homosexual milieux at Burlington House and Cannons or for Handel's sexuality." Is this "enough information"?
    – Centaurus
    Aug 2, 2019 at 17:45
  • Please, provide a link to any references.
    – Centaurus
    Aug 2, 2019 at 17:50
  • @Centaurus I've provided a link to the journa/abstractl. As for whether this is enough information: it's up to you to decide whether the abstract is convincing or if you need to read the whole article.
    – PiedPiper
    Aug 2, 2019 at 21:20
  • I don't have to read the whole article since the conclusion says "there is no basis for claims about...". It's like a yes/no/maybe conclusion and wouldn't answer my question. Thanks for trying anyway.
    – Centaurus
    Aug 3, 2019 at 0:04
  • @Centaurus "There is no basis for claims..." means effectively the same as "there is no evidence...", so the author has answered your question with "no". That assumes he's done his job properly, which you won't know unless you pay for the whole article.
    – PiedPiper
    Aug 3, 2019 at 8:18

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