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Track(s) taken from CDA68041/2

Chaconne in G major, HWV435

published as No 2 of a set of nine suites by John Walsh around 1733; with 21 variations

Danny Driver (piano)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: April 2013
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: May 2014
Total duration: 11 minutes 11 seconds

Cover artwork: Statue of Lord Macaulay (1868, detail) by Thomas Woolner (1825-1892)
Chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge

Other recordings available for download

Angela Hewitt (piano)
Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord)


'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)

'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

'Cembalo, Fortepiano, moderner Flügel? Die Diskussion ist sinnlos. Jeder soll es für sich entscheiden. Dem Rezensenten bleibt es, seine Meinung zum Spiel zu äussern. Und das ist in diesem Fall ein Spiel auf dem modernen Flügel. Danny Driver lässt keine artikulatorische Nuance der Suiten unausgespielt, die Verzierungen sind reich, jede Phrasierung ist gepflegt, das Spiel generell elegant, ohne jemals auch nur den Anschein erzwungener Bravour zu erwecken. Hoch alert ist das agogische Feinfühlen, vital und energisch die abwechslungsreiche Rhythmik. Auch klangfarblich lässt der Pianist keine Wünsche offen' (Pizzicato, Luxembourg)

'Flawlessly stylish performances with a great variety of dynamic nuances and colors as well as a constant rhythmic energy and vitality that allows you to listen to the entire program without a hint of fatigue' (Pizzicato, Luxembourg)

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

La magnifique Chaconne en sol majeur, avec vingt et une variations—la «Suite nº 2» du recueil paru en 1733—montre Haendel dans tout ce qu’il a de plus français: l’ombre des clavecinistes—Rameau, Couperin—plane sur le thème de la Sarabande, orné avec recherche, et sur plusieurs variations. Suivant une mode consacrée par l’usage, la figuration s’anime dans les premières variations. Les variations 9 à 16, en sol mineur, commencent par une tendre méditation contrapuntique sur le thème—l’une des inventions claviéristiques les plus poétiques de Haendel. Lorsque la tonalité majeure resurgit dans la variation 17, la virtuosité haendélienne redevient profuse. Et l’on imagine le compositeur chez lui, dans Brook Street, jouant cette Chaconne sur son pittoresque clavecin Ruckers à deux manuels, à la joie stupéfaite de visiteurs privilégiés.

extrait des notes rédigées par Richard Wigmore © 2014
Français: Hypérion

In der Chaconne in G-Dur mit 21 Variationen, der in der Ausgabe von 1733 als „Suite Nr. 2“ bezeichnet war, zeigt Händel sich von seiner französischsten Seite und verweist in dem reich verzierten Thema der Sarabande und mehreren Variationen mehrfach auf die berühmten clavecinistes Rameau und Couperin. Gemäß althergebrachter Tradition werden diese Figurationen in den frühen Variationen zunehmend lebhaft. Die Variationen 9 bis 16 stehen in g-Moll und beginnen mit einer zarten kontrapunktischen Meditation über das Thema—ein besonders poetisches Tastenwerk Händels. Wenn jedoch in Variation Nr. 17 das Dur wieder hervortritt, ist auch Händels Virtuosität wieder in vollem Gange. Man kann sich lebhaft vorstellen, wie der Komponist diese Chaconne an seinem farbenreichen, zweimanualigen Ruckers-Cembalo zuhause in der Brook Street spielte und privilegierte Besucher damit in begeistertes Erstaunen versetzte.

aus dem Begleittext von Richard Wigmore © 2014
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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