Yesterday was the 250th anniversary of Handel's death. I was too busy to think of it but I'll play some of his organ concertos today.
Here is an interesting article called "How Misery Inspired Handel's Messiah":
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227021.500-how-misery-inspired-handels-messiah.html?full=truey The article notes that Handel's health was one factor in his change from operas to oratorios, but his poor health also gave him a new sense of his own mortality. (He was overweight and loved wine, but at the time wine contained some lead.) That sense of mortality, in turn, affected his music as he wrote the biblical oratorios, especially Messiah, that have become such a major part of the British tradition.