Recorded on 10/21/2009, uploaded on 02/02/2010
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
The twelve sonatas of Handel’s opus 1 were composed between
1711 and 1726. They were published in 1732 by John Walsh with the title Solos for a German Flute a Hoboy or Violin
with a Thorough Bass for the Harpsichord or Bass Violin Compos'd by Mr. Handel.
Later in 1872, Friedrich Chrysander republished the works and appended three of
Handel’s other sonatas not included in Walsh’s edition.
The sixth sonata in G minor is designated for the oboe both
in the Walsh and Chrysander editions. It is unlikely, however, Handel intended
the sonata to be performed on the oboe, or even approved the change of
instrument, since the solo part exceeds the oboe’s lower compass. It is far
more probable that it was intended to be performed on the violin. Handel’s
original manuscript also indicates that the sonata would be suitable for the
viola da gamba, a fretted string instrument similar to the violin still in use
during the Baroque period, and a version of the sonata for that instrument is
labeled as HWV 364b.
The sonata is in four movements according to the sonata di chiesa (slow-fast-slow-fast)
form. The first movement is a larghetto
of only seventeen measures. It features a moderately ornamented melody against
a steady bass of mostly eighth notes. Closing on a half cadence in G minor, the
first movement prepares for the ensuing allegro.
The second movement begins with a lively melody that soon unfurls into passages
of continuous sixteenth notes. Soloist and accompanist unite in a contrapuntal
interplay, imitating each other’s melodic figures. The third movement, an adagio a mere eleven measures in length,
begins in E flat and makes its way to G minor, via C minor, to close on another
half cadence to prepare the following movement. The last movement is a gigue in
12/8 meter with a melody almost entirely consisting of eighth notes over a
steady bass. Joseph DuBose
sonata comes from a collection of twelve which make up Handel's opus 1. The twelve sonatas are for a variety of
instruments with continuo accompaniment. Handel wrote these for the professional
musicians of his London opera orchestra. Prominent bass parts give the sonatas
a contrapuntal strength and vitality, and Handel keeps the virtuosic demands in
balance with the melodic ideas. For this reason, they are among the most
attractive Baroque solo sonatas and deserve their lasting popularity. Callipygian Players
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
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