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