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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDD22045
Recording details: May 1994
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: February 1995
Total duration: 12 minutes 15 seconds

'Superbly recorded. Highly recommended and unlikely to be surpassed in the near future' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'The commanding nature of these performances, captured in sound of tremendous presence, cannot be denied. Nicholson captures a Handelian dignity and grandeur often forgotten, in the frenzy that informs many interpretations aspiring to authenticity… Magisterial performances of majestic music' (Classic CD)

Suite No 5 in E major, HWV430
composer
circa 1710; published in London in 1720 as part of a set of Suites de pièces pour le clavecin

Prelude  [2'03]
Allemande  [3'28]
Courante  [2'09]

Other recordings available for download
Danny Driver (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Suite No 5 in E major is a step further up the cycle of fifths from ‘youthful’ A major and E is the sharpest (and ‘highest’) key in general use. It was traditionally associated with heaven, but in the works of Handel it would seem that paradise is firmly terrestrial. True, the free-flowing prelude, the allemande and the courante are all lucidly gracious, but Handel dispenses with a sarabande and as his finale offers a variation-set on a tune so earthy in metrical symmetry and diatonic in harmonization that it quickly won the popular title of ‘The Harmonious Blacksmith’. Again, Handel steers aristocratic finesse towards a rawly demotic future. Though Handel’s blacksmith, benign in harmony, may attempt celestial levitation in the shooting scales of his final variation, the effect is more comic than transcendent.

from notes by Wilfrid Mellers © 1995


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