The Chaconne in G major with twenty-one variations was published as ‘Suite No 2’ in the 1733 collection. This magnificent piece is Handel at his most Gallic, with shades of the clavecinistes—Rameau, Couperin—in the elaborately ornamented Sarabande theme and several of the variations. In time-honoured fashion, the figuration grows increasingly animated during the early variations. Variations 9 to 16 are in G minor, beginning with a tender contrapuntal meditation on the theme—one of Handel’s most poetic keyboard inventions. By the time the major key re-emerges in variation 17, Handelian virtuosity is again in full spate. We can imagine the composer playing this Chaconne on his colourful two-manual Ruckers harpsichord at home in Brook Street, to the astonished delight of privileged visitors.
from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2014