Where to Shop
As one develops an interest in Handel beyond his ubiquitous Messiah, one might benefit from information on where to find this other music. You have a few options that you might try, depending on your preferred format and price range.
Classical Music Stores
One obvious choice is music stores that specialize in the Classical. The online store arkivmusic.com has just about everything you would want. In Portland I recommend Classical Millennium (the annex of Music Millennium on about 35th and Burnside). They have a great selection, and can order CDs for you that they do not carry. They have been very useful for me.
Disadvantage: Buying retail can be very costly.
Many Handel fans out there have uploaded wonderful videos onto Youtube. One can spend a great deal of time exploring them, and I encourage this wholeheartedly. But I have also made a few playlists of some of my own favorites, to help guide anyone who is new to the composer.
Playlist of Handel Oratorio Highlights
Playlist of Handel Opera Arias
Playlist of early Handel pieces from Italy
Playlist of Handel's Vocal Music
Playlist of Handel's Instrumental Music
Playlist of Handel's Real Water Music
Disadvantage: While Youtube is excellent for hearing excerpts, it is nothing like owning the full works.
Ebay.com or Amazon.com
At any given time there are hundreds of Handel auctions going on. Many are for CDs that are not worth bidding on, but others are incredible bargains on hard-to-find recordings. The vast majority of my collection has been built by keeping a vigilant eye on Ebay, or Amazon when that fails.
Disadvantage: Bidding on music one has not heard can give mixed results.
Check your local ones to see if they have a cache of Handel’s works. If you are a student in college, check if your school library has a music selection. You may find you can preview some great works without spending any money at all. And you can perhaps make yourself a copy if you have the technology.
Disadvantage: The music may already be checked out, and you may be reluctant to give it back.
Old Record Stores
I have found that most LP stores out there have at least a few boxes of old classical music tucked away in a corner. They are frequently eager to get rid of it, and discount it greatly. If you have a turntable and like the way vinyl sounds, check around at these stores for Handel. An oratorio that costs 30+ dollars on CD might be a steal on LP.
Disadvantage: Again, you have to know what is worth buying, especially since performance styles have changed considerably in the last decades. But there is quite a bit that is worth owning - conductors such as John Eliot Gardiner, Charles Mackerras, Trevor Pinnock, and Christopher Hogwood all produced great recordings.
No doubt there are places to share and download Handel online. This is actually one method I have never tried, but for anyone acquainted with the normal channels, I expect there is a great deal available. But don't forget to buy the occasional CD if you do find yourself a fan. Always good to support the musicians of the world, especially those who perform Handel.