Music Appreciation

《Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in D Major, Op. 1, No. 13》

George Friderick Handel (1685-1759)

Carlo Bergonzi, Vi (1732)、Matteo Gofriller,Vc (1700)

Even though Handel was born in Germany, he spent 50 years of his life in England. In the early years of the 18th century, he brought continental European opera, chamber music and religious music to England, exerting a substantial influence on the subsequent development of music in England. While living in England, he developed an English style of oratorio that proved immensely popular with English audiences. His greatest works, all of which are still well-known today, include the Messiah (a religious oratorio) , the Water Music (a collection of orchestral movements) , and the Music for the Royal Fireworks. In the early 1730s, Handel published a set of a dozen sonatas for solo instruments (violin, obo, and flute) and basso continuo. This collection was entitled Opus 1 by the publisher. With regard to the form, most of these sonatas consist of sonatas de chiesa with the movement of slow-quick-slow-quick. When Handel’s collected works, the Händel-Gesellschaft were published in 1879, the editors added a further three sonatas to the opus. The piece presented in this recording, No. 13, is one of these; it was composed in 1749, more than two decades after the earlier works. This sonata in D Major displays an impressive maturity of technique, and features an intensely moving melody. It is generally considered to be the finest violin sonata that Handel ever wrote. One unusual feature of the structure of this piece is that the movement for sonatas de chiesa is normally entitled according to its tempo, therefore the first movement of this sonata is designated “Affetuoso”. While this can be interpreted as meaning a speed somewhere between adagio and andante, the word also has the meaning of “emotive and soft”. In addition, Handel, the British leading composer of religious oratorios, also borrowed the material from religious oratorios, for example the fugue theme in the second movement was originally adopted from the choral score of Solomon (1749) . This piece is performed on a violin made by the leading Italian violin maker Carlo Bergonzi (1683-1747) in 1732. With this instrument by an Italian master together with the work by the English composer, the two complement one another to make a recording of this passionate Sonata in D Major a work of art that is worth repeated listening.