Sakura Salon 5/25/14 – Handel Sonatas

George Frideric Handel (German: Georg Friedrich Händel (1685 – 1759) was a German-born British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music. He received critical musical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712) and becoming a naturalised British subject in 1727. By then he was strongly influenced by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.

These sonatas are unlike those we discussed in our Salon on Sonata form, as at this time in western musical development, the term sonata was used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in a very general way for almost any kind of ensemble instrumental composition, and implied nothing about form. The word Sonata appears regularly on the title pages of Italian musical publications throughout the seventeenth century.

Most of tonight’s sonatas are reminiscent of Bach’s Brandenburg concertos, but the instrumentation is smaller; generally a solo instrument with harpsichord accompaniment.  The ones we will listen to are all in four movements; slow/fast/slow/fast.  All are quite short – seven to eight minutes each.

Handel instrumental sonatas are in many ways a bit nebulous.  In some there is some discussion about what solo instrument they were originally written for; and some of the sonatas thought for years to be Handel’s are not.  The first is not really a problem; Handel himself happily rewrote items for the instruments on hand; and reused his own melodies in many different pieces.   The second, research is still ongoing.

Tonight’s playlist:

Flute Sonata In E Minor, Op. 1/1, HWV 359 (c.1727-1728)

1. Grave (2:22)

2. Allegro (1:53)

3. Adagio (1:02)

4. Allegro (3:16)


Recorder Sonata In G Minor, Op. 1/2, HWV 360 (c.1712)

1. Larghetto (2:16)

2. Andante (3:56)

3. Adagio (0:52)

4. Presto (1:51)


Violin Sonata In A, Op. 1/3, HWV 361(c.1725-1726)

1. Andante (2:19)

2. Allegro (2:01)

3. Adagio (0:45)

4. Allegro (2:45)


Oboe Sonata In C Minor, Op. 1/8, HWV 366 (c.1711-1712)

1. Larghetto (2:00)

2. Allegro (2:02)

3. Adagio (1:49)

4. Allegro (1:04)


Recorder Sonata In F, Op. 111, HWV 369 (prior 1712)

1. Larghetto (2:13)

2. Allegro (2:21)

3. Siciliana (1:16)

4. Allegro (1:52)



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