Because George Frideric Handel meticulously dated the manuscripts of his concertos, we know that they were completed in September and October of 1739, as shown in the list below. HWV refers to the thematicsystematic catalogue of Handel’s work, the Händel-Werke-Verzeichnis, and Walsh to the first edition, of 1740. The often very close dates of completion give rise to astonishment at how quickly Handel composed the respective concertos. In some cases, however, the proximity of the dates is misleading because Handel borrowed from his own (and others’) work. In today’s terminology, we might speak of “recycling” – a practice Johann Sebastian Bach also employed throughout his life.
This borrowing was applied with varying degrees of exactitude. In some cases, the music is identical: the first movement (a tempo giusto) of Concerto No. 1 to the third movement of the Sinfonia from the Occasional Oratorio, HWV 62; the fourth (Allegro) and fifth (Menuet) movements of Concerto No. 9 to the second and third parts of the Overture for the opera Imeneo, HWV 41, composed a year earlier. Elsewhere, it varies from showing only slight changes (such as the second movement of Concerto No. 5 and the second part of the overture of the Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day, HWV 76) to being radically altered, such as the sixth movement (Menuet) of Concerto No. 5 and the third part of the previously named overture. Other times there is not much similarity except for the beginning of a given theme, after which the pieces simply go their own way: the second movement (a tempo giusto) of Concerto No. 6 equals the chorus “They Are Brought Down” from the Chandos Anthem, no. 10, HWV 255. But the typical, chromatically descending beginning (incidentally, marvellously suited for fugal treatment), remaining with this thematic material, could already be heard in the much earlier arioso “Alla Salma in fedel” from the solo cantata La Lucrezia: Oh Numi eterni, HWV 145.
Total time: 02:33:46
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Bert van der Wolf
Bert van der Wolf
Muziekcentrum Enschede Holland
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|Release Date||October 10, 2014|
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