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Chill with Handel

Born in the German town of Halle in 1685, Handel studiedbriefly at the University of Halle before moving to Hamburg in 1703, where heserved as a violinist in the opera orchestra and subsequently as harpsichordistand composer. He spent from 1706 until 1710 in Italy, where he furtherdeveloped his mastery of Italian musical style. Appointed Kapellmeister to thefuture George I of England, he visited London, where he composed the firstLondon opera Rinaldo in 1710 and settled there two years later. He enjoyedaristocratic and later royal patronage, and was occupied largely with thecomposition of Italian opera with varying financial success until the 1740s. Hewas successful in developing a new form, English oratorio, which combined the musicalfelicities of the Italian operatic style with an increased role for the chorus,relative economy of production and the satisfaction of a  religious text in English, elementsthat appealed to the English Protestant sensibilities of the time. In London hewon the greatest esteem and exercised an influence that tended to overshadowthe achievements of his contemporaries and immediate successors. He died inLondon in 1759 and was buried in Westminster Abbey in the presence of some 3000mourners.

Track 1          

Apollo e Dafne: Felicissima quest'alma (Most blest is thissoul)

Apollo e Dafne was completed after Handel's arrival inHanover in 1710, to take up his appointment as Kapellmeister to the Elector.The instrumentation is more colourful than usual with a flute, a pair of oboesand a bassoon added to the usual strings. The plot opens with the god Apollobasking in the limelight having just released Greece from the menaces of afearful python. He boasts that even Cupid's archery is no match for his bow andarrow. He is soon proved wrong when he spies the lovely Dafne and is instantlysmitten with her - she however very sensibly rejects him and eventually she isonly able to resist his clutches by turning herself into a laurel tree. Thearia Felicissima quest'alma appears near the beginning of the work, as Apollofirst sees Dafne while she praises the joys of freedom.

            Ifyou enjoyed this aria, you may wish to explore the whole work:

            8.555712       Apollo eDafne

                        OlgaPasichnyk, Robert Pomakov, European Union Baroque                                               Orchestra,Roy Goodman

Tracks 2, 10 & 16   

The Messiah: Pifa; I know that my Redeemer liveth; He shallfeed his flock

The Messiah is by far the best known of all Englishoratorios. Its three parts deal with the birth, passion and resurrection ofChrist, using text in part derived from the Bible and from the version of thePsalm familiar from the Church of England Book of Common Prayer. The work wascompleted and first performed in 1742 and and at the time failed to please.This was in part because of reservations held by some about the suitability ofsuch a sacred subject for a theatre. The work only achieved its lasting successafter performances in 1750 in aid of the Foundling Hospital, an institutionthat continued to benefit from an annual performance of the work.


            Listento the complete work:                    

            8.550667-68 Messiah (2 CDs)

                        TheScholars Baroque Ensemble

Track 3          

Water Music: Air

Handel's Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks marktwo chronological extremes of Handel's career in London. The first was writtenin his early years in England to entertain a royal party sailing up the Thames,while the second was commissioned to celebrate the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in1749. While the Thames water-party was successful enough, the Royal Fireworks,despite achieving musical distinction, were a pyrotechnic disaster. Thefireworks themselves proved rather disappointing, but even worse was thatduring the evening the pavilion just next to the main structure caught fire!


            Handel'scomplete Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks are available on:

            8.550109       Music forthe Royal Fireworks and Water Music

                        CapellaIstropolitana, Bohdan Warchal

Track 4          

Oboe Concerto No. 3: Sarabande                      

Handel's Oboe Concerto No. 3 in G minor was first publishedin Leipzig in 1863. In four movements, the concerto opens with a slow movementof characteristically dotted rhythm, a touch of the French style that theageing Corelli, working with Handel in Rome, had claimed to be beyond hiscomprehension. The second movement Allegro is followed by the Sarabande (heardhere) and a final dance derived from the theme of the first movement.

            Moreof Handel's oboe concertos can be heard on:

            8.553430       OboeConcertos Nos. 1-3

                        AnthonyCamden, Julia Girdwood (oboes), City of London Sinfonia,                                            NicholasWard

Track 5          

Recorder Sonata in F Major, Op. 1, No. 11 HV369: Siciliana

Music for smaller groups of performers by Handel includes anumber of trio sonatas, the majority for two violins and basso continuo, sixfor recorder and six for violin. The D minor Siciliana, a traditional shepherddance, is the third movement of the Sonata in F Major.

Disc: 1
1 Aria: Felicissima quest'alma
2 Messiah: Pifa
3 Mr Handel's Celebrated Water Piece: III. Air (Minu
4 III. Sarabande: Largo
5 Recorder Sonata in F major: Siciliana
6 First Movement (Pirates of the Caribbean
7 Beauty and Pleasure, HWV 46b
8 Concerto Grosso in A minor, Op. 6, No. 4, HWV 322:
9 Organ Concerto in G minor, Op. 4, No. 1: Andante
10 Messiah: I know that my redeemer liveth
11 Concerto Grosso in A minor, Op. 6, No. 4: Larghett
12 Coronation Anthems: My heart is inditing, HWV 261
13 Overture to Atalanta: Andante
14 Athalia: Joys, in gentle trains
15 Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 6, No. 5: Largo
16 Messiah: He shall feed his flock
17 Organ Concerto in F major, Op. 4, No. 4: Allegro
18 Lascia ch’io pianga
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