BMC 49

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Trio Sonatas
Lute & Harp Concerto
Violin & Harpsichord Sonatas

1: TRIO SONATA in F Major, Op. 5, No. 6 for 2 Oboes and Continuo
Largo-Adagio / Allegro-Adagio / Adagio / Allegro / Menuet (Allegro moderato)
The London Baroque Ensemble

2: VIOLIN & HARPSICHORD SONATA in g minor, Op. 1, No. 10
Andante / Allegro / Adagio / Allegro
Josef Suk, Violin & Zuzana Ruzickova, Harpsichord

3: TRIO SONATA in G Major, Op. 5, No. 4 for Two Violins and Continuo
Allegro / A tempo ordinario - Allegro, non presto - Adagio / Passacaille / Gigue (presto) / Menuet (Allegro moderato)
The London Baroque Ensemble

4: LUTE & HARP CONCERTO in B-flat Major, Op. 4, No. 6
Andante-Allegro / Larghetto / Allegro moderato
Desmond Dupré, Lute / Osian Ellis, Harp
PHILOMUSICA of LONDON Directed by Granville Jones
Leader: Carl Pini / Thurston Dart, Organ Continuo

5: VIOLIN & HARPSICHORD SONATA in D Major, Op. 1, No. 13
Affetuoso / Allegro / Larghetto / Allegro
Josef Suk, Violin & Zuzana Ruzickova, Harpsichord

6: TRIO SONATA in g minor, Op. 5, No. 5 for Two Violins and Continuo
Largo - Adagio (come alla breve) - Adagio / Larghetto - Adagio / A tempo giusto - Adagio / Air (Andante allegro ) / Bourrée
The London Baroque Ensemble

Total time: 77 minutes

Apart from his well-known connections with the German-English royal family, which he retained throughout his life, two major influences were at work in Handel's career: opera, and publishing. Invented during Handel's time was the process of engraving music onto copper plates, developed in London by John Walsh.

Newly arrived in London, Handel entrusted Walsh with the publication of Rinaldo in 1711, establishing a connection which would survive until Handel's death. Walsh was succeeded in the business by his son, John jr (1709-1766), who published all of Handel's later works, having astutely secured the exclusive rights for a period of 14 years beginning in 1739. Handel's Opus 5 Trio Sonatas were published by Walsh in that year. These are largely re-workings of earlier compositions, and several themes will no doubt sound familiar. The last Trio Sonata on our disc has two splendid fugues which go back to organ and harpsichord compositions.

Though operatic works dominated Handel's career, an important by-product was his organ concertos. Beginning life as interludes between acts, performed flamboyantly by Mr Handel himself, the organ concertos became highly popular in their own right - an opportunity of which Mr Walsh took full advantage.

Of the set of six organ concertos published by Walsh in 1738 as Handel's Opus 4, at least two - numbers 5 and 6 - were not originally composed for organ. While the 5th was originally scored for harp and orchestra, no.6 was composed as a 'Concerto per il Liuto e l'Arpa', to be played during the first act of Alexander's Feast (first performed on 19th February, 1736). In all the printed editions of this work from Handel's time down to our own, the music has appeared in a mutilated form, lacking the whole of the lute part. The missing lute part has not yet come to light, but the existing text of the concerto enabled Thurston Dart to reconstruct it with some confidence. His notes on the reconstruction are quoted as follows.

"The harp part works in canon (or quasi-canon) with itself remarkably often - too often, in fact, for this to be mere coincidence. It is a safe assumption that the lutenist must have conversed for much of the time in close-knit dialogue with the harpist, just as do the two soloists in Bach's concertos for two harpsichords or two violins, or in Handel's own incomplete concerto for two organs and double orchestra.

"The exquisite scoring of the accompaniment, for muted and pizzicato strings with treble recorders and organ continuo adding additional touches of colour, is the perfect foil to the delicacy of the two solo instruments. Once again Handel's consummate skill as an orchestrator is confirmed. By analogy, the woodwind parts in the second concerto for harp alone have been transferred from oboes (well-suited to the timbre of an organ, but out of keeping with Handel's other uses of the harp) to treble recorders."

We offer here the only recording of this enchanting, and beautifully reconstructed work.

Baroque Music Library