Vivace from Concerto Grosso (HWV 317) for Woodwind Quartet
Uploaded on Apr 20, 2013
Handel was born in the German city of Halle on February 23, 1685. His father noted but did not nurture his musical talent, and he had to sneak a small keyboard instrument into his attic to practice. As a child he studied music with Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow, organist at the Liebfrauenkirche, and for a time he seemed destined for a career as a church organist himself. After studying law briefly at the University of Halle, Handel began serving as organist on March 13, 1702, at the Domkirche there. Dissatisfied, he took a post as violinist in the Hamburg opera orchestra in 1703, and his frustration with musically provincial northern Germany was perhaps shown when he fought a duel the following year with the composer Matheson over the accompaniment to one of Matheson's operas. In 1706 Handel took off for Italy, then the font of operatic innovation, and mastered contemporary trends in Italian serious opera. He returned to Germany to become court composer in Hannover, whose rulers were linked by family ties with the British throne; his patron there, the Elector of Hannover, became King George I of England. English audiences took to his 1711 opera Rinaldo, and several years later Handel jumped at the chance to move to England permanently. He impressed King George early on with the Water Music of 1716, written as entertainment for a royal boat outing.
Sometimes mistakenly called an "oboe concerto," much of the music for this orchestral work in two movements dates from many years before -- the material had appeared in Handel's operas Amadigi di Gaula (1716) and Ottone, Rè di Germania (1723). Nevertheless, this material is treated to some interesting and innovative orchestration.
The first movement is scored for two oboes, two violin parts which perform in unison throughout, viola, and a continuo part specified for organ, bassoon, and string bass. The theme begins with two sharp marcato notes and then breaks into several joyously arching descents and ascents. Suddenly the key changes into the parallel minor (D minor) for three measures and then just as disturbingly back into quickly ascending scale runs in the major key.
Although originally written for Oboes(2) & Strings, I created this arrangement for Woodwind Quartet (Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet and Bassoon) and it is best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software (http://www.schristiancollins.com/generaluser.php).
|Key signature||1 flat|
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