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Organ Recital

  • St George's, Hanover Square United Kingdom (map)

This recital is part of the London Handel Festival

Jean Baptiste Lullytrans. Ben Horden  Ouverture from Ballet Royal de la Nuit

Johann Sebastian Bach  Concerto a-Moll BWV 593
nach dem Concerto a-Moll Op.3 Nr.8 (RV 522) für zwei Violinen, Streicher und Basso continuo von Antonio Vivaldi

Henry Purcell  Voluntary in G

John Stanley  Voluntary in D minor, Op.5 No. 8

George Frederic Handel, trans. John Walsh (1738)  Organ Concerto in F major, Op.4 No.5

This programme traces Handel’s life and work across the turn of the 18th century. Although Handel only contributed a small number of works to the keyboard repertory, in this recital his journey is represented by music from his contemporaries and those who influenced him and whom he influenced. 

Born in Halle, Handel’s roots lie in the North German tradition, although the early formation of his style is less native and perhaps owes more to his European contemporaries; from Lully, the master of the French Overture to Scarlatti and the other masters of the Italian style and form. Capitalising on the loss of enthusiasm for Purcell’s stage music following his death, Handel cultivated the already growing interest for the Italian style in London, particularly Italian opera. An eventual wain of interest by London’s fickle audiences provided the catalyst for Handel’s oratorios and their performances at Covent Garden. His celebrated organ concertos, around one of which this programme is centred, were written as interludes and were the first of their kind for the combination of instruments. By this point in his life Handel was fully integrated into the musical life of London and fully endorsed by his Royal patrons and adoring audiences.

Although direct contemporaries and admirers of each other’s work from afar, Handel was outside of Bach’s sphere of influence. Surprisingly, the only thing shared by these two giants of the Baroque was the fatal incompetence of their eye surgeon. Following Handel’s death in 1789, the baton was picked up by John Stanley, a faithful advocate of Handel and admired hugely by him. Stanley strived to maintain Handel’s legacy at Covent Garden, although like so many, was eclipsed by the work of the Baroque Master.