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Track(s) taken from CDA68041/2

Suite No 6 in F sharp minor, HWV431

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: 9 minutes 56 seconds

Cover artwork: Statue of Lord Macaulay (1868, detail) by Thomas Woolner (1825-1892)
Chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge
 
1
Prelude  [2'12]
2
Largo  [1'57]
3
Allegro: Fugue  [2'47]
4
Gigue  [3'00]

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 6 in F sharp minor takes us into a key problematical in Baroque tuning. As the dominant of tragic and suffering B minor, F sharp minor became for Bach a key appropriate to states of ecstasy or pain, while for Couperin it tended to imply sensuous exploration or mystical aspiration. Characteristically, Handel is more down-to-earth, though this suite is among the grandest in the cycle, with a prelude in French dotted rhythm, in four real parts, followed by a massive largo, also in double-dotted rhythm and thick in harmonic texture. The third movement is a spacious fugue making poignant use of suspensions and of sustained cadential pedal notes, while the final gigue, though conventionally frisky in a cross between Italian and French style, preserves a certain grittiness.

from notes by Wilfrid Mellers © 1995

La Suite no6 en fa dièse mineur, en accords baroques, nous conduit à une problématique se rapportant à la clé. Fa dièse mineur, la dominante du ton tragique et douloureux de si mineur, était pour Bach la clé appropriée aux sentiments d’extase ou de douleur, alors que pour Couperin, elle semblait signifier une exploration sensuelle ou une aspiration mystique. De façon caractéristique, Hændel est plus terre-à-terre, et malgré cela cette œuvre est l’une des Suites les plus grandioses du cycle, avec un Prélude de rythme français pointé à quatre voix, suivi d’un immense largo de texture harmonique dense au rythme aussi doublement pointé. Le troisième mouvement, une longue Fugue, utilise de façon dramatique les suspensions et les notes de pédale de cadence soutenues, alors que la Gigue finale est, de façon conventionnelle, vive et animée, un mélange de styles italien et français qui préserve toutefois une certaine rugosité.

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

Die Suite Nr. 6 in fis-moll entführt uns in eine für die barocke Instrumentenstimmung problematische Tonart. Als die Dominante des tragischen und leidenden h-moll wurde fis-moll für Bach eine den Stadien der Ekstase oder des Schmerzes gemäße Tonart, während sie bei Couperin sinnliche Erkundung oder mystisches Streben andeutete. Es ist bezeichnend für Händel, daß er nüchterner ist, doch trotzdem gehört diese Suite zu den größten im Zyklus. Sie besitzt ein Präludium in französischen punktierten Rhythmen und vier richtige Teile, auf die ein gewaltiges Largo folgt, welches gleichfalls doppelt punktierte Rhythmen und eine üppige harmonische Struktur besitzt. Der dritte Satz ist eine weiträumige Fuge, in der scharfsinniger Gebrauch von verzögerten Einsätzen und von angehaltenen Vorhaltspedalnoten gemacht wird. Die Gigue zum Schluß, eine Kreuzung des italienischen und französischen Stils, wirkt dagegen auf konventionelle Art verspielt, wenn ihr auch eine gewisse Forschheit zu eigen ist.

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

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