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Track(s) taken from CDA68041/2

Suite No 1 in A major, HWV426

composer
published in London in 1720 as part of a set of Suites de pièces pour le clavecin

Danny Driver (piano)
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Recording details: April 2013
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: May 2014
Total duration: 11 minutes 56 seconds

Cover artwork: Statue of Lord Macaulay (1868, detail) by Thomas Woolner (1825-1892)
Chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge
 
1
Prelude  [2'22]
2
Allemande  [3'50]
3
Courante  [2'31]
4
Gigue  [3'13]

Other recordings available for download

Paul Nicholson (harpsichord/virginals)

Reviews

'The scalic flourishes of the First Suite’s Prelude instantly reveal Driver’s nimble fingerwork, meticulous control over dynamic accentuation on key harmonic features and judicious use of the sustain pedal. The rippling D minor arpeggios of the Prelude to Suite No 3 transfer to the piano thrillingly … most of Handel’s French-style intricate dance movements are played with dignified tenderness: the consecutive allemandes and courantes always have a delicate balance between cantabile warmth in the elegant upper melody, softly precise inner details and a lightly flowing bass-line. The quick Fugue that launches Suite No 4 in E minor has a sparkling clarity that any eminent Baroque specialist keyboardist would be pleased with … an engagingly post-historical approach' (Gramophone)» More

'Handel the organist and improviser features just as strongly in these suites as Handel the exquisite miniaturist and inspired master of counterpoint. Driver brings to it all a winning sense of style, crisply ornamented, sensitively drawing on the piano’s tonal potential for shadings of colour and alert to the rhythmic energy that Handel can generate.To hear in succession the tiny contemplative adagio of the Second Suite followed by its bright fugal allegro and then the quasi-improvisatory organ-like prelude of the Third Suite is to appreciate just how compellingly Driver intuits the music’s rich diversity' (The Daily Telegraph)» More

'When performed with such commitment and expressive vitality, Handel’s suites are worthy to be placed alongside the finest, and these performances by Danny Driver are a welcome addition to the discography … Driver's impeccable technique, which is in abundant display here, with immaculate clarity of texture, neat and unfussy ornamentation, and with voice-leading all brought out to fine effect … what is so remarkable about these performances is the combination of textural clarity with the richness of tone afforded by Driver’s Steinway … I feel sure that Handel would have been only too delighted with these results … for those who prefer the piano, Driver provides the ideal alternative. It comes with fabulously eloquent notes from Richard Wigmore (in which every movement comes alive in his prose, a remarkable feat in itself) and a recording quality that captures every finest detail' (International Record Review)» More
Suite No 1 in A major begins with a partially written-out version of an improvised French prelude with cascades of scales and arpeggios which exploit the instrument’s resonance as an amplified, mechanically-plucked lute. The key of A major was traditionally associated with youth and spring, and potentially with energy; Charpentier called it ‘joyeux et champêtre’. The allemande is grand, opening with scales imitated in inversion. After the modulation to the dominant and the double bar, the dotted figuration is inverted. Textures are characteristically stable and sturdy, as are those of the courante, which seems to revel in the harmonic richness which accrues from the moving inner parts. In this buoyant A major suite Handel dispenses with a sarabande and moves direct to a consummatory gigue in Italian style.

from notes by Wilfrid Mellers © 1995

La Suite no1 en la majeur débute avec une version partiellement écrite d’un Prélude français improvisé, avec une cascade de gammes et d’arpèges qui exploitent la résonance de l’instrument, comme si celui-ci était un luth amplifié dont les cordes sont pincées mécaniquement. Le ton de la majeur était traditionnellement associé à la jeunesse et au printemps, et potentiellement à l’énergie; Charpentier l’intitula joyeux et champêtre. L’Allemande est majestueuse, débutant avec des gammes imitées en inversion. Après la modulation en dominante et la double barre, l’embellissement en notes pointées est inversé. Les textures sont, de façon caractéristique, stables et solides, comme celles de la Courante, qui semble se réjouir dans la richesse harmonique provenant des parties médianes mouvantes de l’œuvre. Dans cette Suite énergique en la majeur, Hændel supprime la Sarabande et fait suivre directement une Gigue complète de simple style italien.

extrait des notes rédigées par Wilfrid Mellers © 1995
Français: Isabelle Dubois

Die Suite Nr. 1 in A-Dur beginnt mit einer fast ausgeschriebenen Fassung eines improvisierten französischen Präludiums, die Kaskaden von Läufen und Arpeggios enthält. Diese nutzen die Resonanz des Instruments, als sei es eine verstärkte, mechanisch gezupfte Laute. Die Tonart A-Dur wurde traditionell mit der Jugend und dem Frühling assoziiert, und potentiell auch mit Energie; Charpentier nannte sie joyeux et champêtre. Die Allemande ist großartig angelegt und beginnt mit Läufen, die in ihrer Umkehrung imitiert werden. Nach der Modulation zur Dominanten und dem Doppelstrich findet eine Umkehrung der punktierten Figurierung statt. Die Strukturen sind typisch stabil und robust, und dies trifft auch auf die Courante zu, die ihre wahre Freude an der harmonischen Fülle zu haben scheint, welche aus ihrem beweglichen inneren Teil erwächst. In dieser heiteren Suite in A-Dur verzichtet Händel auf eine Sarabande und geht unmittelbar zu einer vollendeten Gigue im schlichten italienischen Stil über.

aus dem Begleittext von Wilfrid Mellers © 1995
Deutsch: Angelika Malbert

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