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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: 21 minutes 15 seconds

Suite No 7 in G minor, HWV432
composer
published in London in 1720 as part of a set of Suites de pièces pour le clavecin

Ouverture  [5'17]
Andante  [3'22]
Allegro  [2'27]
Sarabande  [3'41]
Gigue  [1'42]

Other recordings available for download
Danny Driver (piano)   May 2014 Release
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Suite No 7 in G minor owes its character to its key, which Charpentier had called ‘sévère et magnifique’ and which was shortly to become Mozart’s key of tragedy and consequence. But this suite is to a degree equivocal because although it starts with a pompous and circumstantial French overture, with a slow introduction complete with double dots and shooting scales which outdo Lully himself in rhetorical ostentation, the succeeding quick fugal section is not the conventional triple-rhythmed round-dance, but is in common time, and is indeed a bit ‘common’ in mood and manner – like the quick fugato from the overture to Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, which follows the royally tragic grandeur of the introduction with the chattering of demotic witches. Handel’s fugato has the same pounding rhythm, on the verge of chuckling risibility. The orthodox return to grandeur in the slow coda does not quite convince, and perhaps is not meant to.

After this highly theatrical overture, an Andante and Allegro (really a French allemande and Italian corrente) are discreet, consistently in two parts, one for each hand, with canonic imitations. The sarabande, more harmonic in texture, is heart-easingly lyrical, flowering into additional ornamentation in the repeats. The conventionally Italianate gigue is unpretentious, but Handel adds as finale a massive passacaille: not a series of melodic extensions over an unvarying linear ground, as in Dido’s ‘Lament’, but a set of variations over a chord sequence, beginning in diatonic homophony but increasingly chromaticized into diminished sevenths (the stock operatic ‘chord of horror’, since it consists of two interlinked and rootless tritones). Significantly, this piece is not in the triple rhythm typical of processional passacaglias (and of chaconnes and sarabandes) but is rather in a common time relating back to the fugato section of the overture. It marches remorselessly, generating increasingly virtuosic figuration. There is nothing like this in Bach, and its effect is remarkably similar to that of Handel’s monumentally public choruses in his oratorios. If this Handelian passacaille is ceremonial, it is a procession no longer of court dignitaries, but of affluent British burghers.

from notes by Wilfrid Mellers © 1995


Other albums featuring this work
'Handel: The Eight Great Suites' (CDA68041/2)
Handel: The Eight Great Suites
Pre-order CD by post £20.00 CDA68041/2  2CDs May 2014 Release  
'Hyperion monthly sampler – May 2014' (HYP201405)
Hyperion monthly sampler – May 2014
HYP201405  Download-only monthly sampler May 2014 Release  

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