Five Great Suites

Album cover art for upc 0608917292329
Label: CHALLENGE CLASSICS
Catalog: CC 72923
Format: COMPACT DISC

Ton Koopman

George Frideric Handel made a name for himself as a brilliant organist and harpsichordist early on in his career. As a young man, he travelled from Germany to Italy in 1707. We do not know exactly how much or what Handel composed for harpsichord while in Italy, but we know more starting from the time he settled in England. Handel composed all sorts of works for harpsichord in England, In November 1720, he published the Suites de Piecespour le Clavecin, now known as the Eight Great Suites, his most important work for harpsichord. The spectacular Eight Great Suites show Handel the harpsichordist at his best. The suites are made up not only of newly composed movements, but also of improved versions of pieces he had written before and of harpsichord arrangements of his own compositions for other instruments. One theme central to interpreting Handel’s works for harpsichord (and the rest of his œuvre, for that matter) is what to do with the dotted rhythms. In Handel’s music, we regularly see a theme appearing in different rhythmic variants – sometimes dotted, sometimes not, or only partially, dotted. The question, therefore, is whether to perform these rhythms uniformly throughout the piece or to play them as they were written out in each instance by the composer. I have in large part chosen the latter.

Price: $26.98