Classical Music | Ensemble Music

George Frideric Handel

Sonata in G minor  Play

Callipygian Players Ensemble

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

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Sonata in G minor op. 1 no. 6, HWV 364a        George Frideric Handel

Larghetto; Allegro; Adagio; Allegro

This 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

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