Music Monday: Händel Solo Sonatas 1732

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George Frideric Handel Wikipedia Image
Artist: Balthasar Denner
Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Date: Between 1726 & 1728

George Frideric Händel was a German-British Baroque composer well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, concerti grossi and organ concertos. Händel received his training in Halle and worked as a composer in Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712, where he spent the bulk of his career and became a naturalised British subject in 1727. He was strongly influenced both by the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition and by composers of the Italian Baroque. In turn, Händel’s music forms one of the peaks of the “high baroque” style, bringing Italian opera to its highest development, creating the genres of English oratorio and organ concerto and introducing a new style into English church music. He is consistently recognized as one of the greatest composers of his age. Händel started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera. In 1737, he had a physical breakdown, changed direction creatively, addressed the middle class and made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742), he never composed an Italian opera again. Almost blind, he died in 1759, a respected and rich man, and was given a state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

Händel Summary

Walsh Handel Sonatas Wikipedia Image Two
Date: Published by Walsh in 1732
Source: IMSLP
Author: Händel

Two hundred, ninety years ago, Händel Solo Sonatas was published by John Walsh in 1732. It contains a set of twelve sonatas, for various instruments, composed by George Frideric Händel. The 63 page publication includes the sonatas that are generally known as Händel’s Opus 1. The 1732 edition was mostly reprinted from the plates of an earlier 1730 publication […]. Each sonata displays the melody and bass lines […]. By modern-day standards, the music in the publication has a primitive appearance, with squashed notes and irregular spacings, stems and bar widths […]. Despite the titles in both editions, four of the sonatas in each are for a fourth instrument: the Recorder.

John Walsh Summary

Table List of the 12 Händel Sonatas

List of Händel Solo Sonatas

George Frideric Händel Britannica Biography

George Frideric Händel ~ Biography Channel

I can’t seem to find one video with all of the twelve sonatas, combined, so I will post the first three. ~Vic

Flute Sonata E Minor (HWV 359b)

Recorder Sonata G Minor (HWV 360)

Violin Sonata A Major (HWV 361)

Music Monday: Partitas For Solo Violin 1696

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Westhoff Suite One Wikipedia Image
First bars of the Gigue
from Suite #1
Source: IMSLP
Image Credit: Wikipedia & Wikimedia

The six partitas for solo violin by Johann Paul von Westhoff are the earliest known published music for solo violin. Although Westhoff’s compositions were rediscovered by scholars […] in the mid-19th century, this work was not found until the late 20th century.

The collection […] was discovered […] by musicologist Peter P. Várnai. He announced his discovery in a 1971 article […] published in Die Musikforschung, volume 24. The extant copy is dated 1696 (three hundred & twenty-five years, ago) but, it may be a reprint (partial or full) of a much earlier publication by Westhoff…the Erstes Dutzend Allemanden, Couranten, Sarabanden und Giguen Violino Solo sonder Passo Continuo. [That] collection was published in Dresden in 1682 and is considered lost. The first modern edition of the partitas appeared in 1974.

Nothing is known about how or when the partitas were composed. One other work for solo violin by Westhoff survives, a 1683 suite published in an issue of Dresden’s Mercure galant. [It] is entirely possible that the composer had more solo violin works. The […] surviving partitas are historically important works […] and were most probably the inspiration for Johann Sebastian Bach‘s sonatas and partitas for solo violin.

The partitas all consist of four dances, arranged in the standard late Baroque order… an Allemande, the Courante, the Sarabande and the Gigue. The music is technically demanding. [It is] fully polyphonic with frequent instances of tricky double stopping.

Johann Paul von Westhoff was a German Baroque composer and violinist. One of the most important exponents of the Dresden violin school, he was among the highest ranked violinists of his day […].

Johann Paul von Westhoff 1656-1705 (On Baroque)
List of Known Works