Unpublished until 1930, the Suite (Partita) in C minor, HWV444, dates from around 1705–6, when the young Handel was earning his living as composer-cum-harpsichordist at the Hamburg Opera. Shortly afterwards Handel revised the Allemande second movement for the incomplete Suite HWV445, in the process enriching its textures. In Handel’s manuscript the C minor Suite’s brooding, improvisatory Prelude is notated in block chords with the superscription arpeggio. After the Allemande comes an Italianate Courante, like a fast minuet, followed by a Gavotte of sober grace and a Minuet whose faint gawkiness is typical of the works the young Handel wrote before his Italian sojourn.
from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2014