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Handel: Suites For Harpsichord, Vol. 1 / Gilbert Rowland


Release Date: 08/09/2011 
Label:  Divine Art   Catalog #: 21219  
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Gilbert Rowland
Number of Discs: 2 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"The two books of harpsichord suites published during Handel’s lifetime, in 1720 and 1733, appeared in London, from the pen of a German composer, with a French heading: Suites de pieces pour le clavecin. They are some of the composer’s most polyglot works, though if one inspiration informs them more than any other it’s that of Jean-Phillippe Rameau.

After an impressive cycle of the sonatas of Antonio Soler on Naxos, harpsichordist Gilbert Rowland offers a double-disc set of suites drawn from both books, as well as two from the Miscellaneous Suites which probably date from before the composer’s London years. Rowland’s Soler was robust and unapologetically virtuoso. His Handel is similarly scaled and brightly rendered,
Read more though stately and sometimes rhythmically inflexible. His tempi tend to be slow, as in the Allemande of the G major Suite from 1733. He compensates for the rather deliberate unfolding of the music by loading it, at times, with quite florid ornamentation. The effect is more Rococo than improvisatory.

The instrument is not listed in the booklet, but it has a lovely upper manual, with a sweet, nasal twang. The recording captures the sonic richness of this manual far more charismatically than the larger sounds Rowland’s harpsichord is capable of producing. If Rowland's repeat sections are filled with the characteristically crackling ornaments, they are also more likely than not played on this upper manual and the effect is appealingly more intimate."

-- Phillip Kennicott, Gramophone
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Works on This Recording

1. Suite for Harpsichord in G minor, HWV 439 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Gilbert Rowland (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; London, England 
2. Suite for Harpsichord in G major, HWV 441 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Gilbert Rowland (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; London, England 
3. Suite for Harpsichord in E minor, HWV 438 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Gilbert Rowland (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; London, England 
4. Suite for Harpsichord in E minor, HWV 429 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Gilbert Rowland (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
5. Suite for Harpsichord in E major, HWV 430 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Gilbert Rowland (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
6. Suite for Harpsichord in D minor, HWV 428 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Gilbert Rowland (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
7. Suite for Harpsichord in C major, HWV 443 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Gilbert Rowland (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
8. Suite for Harpsichord in A major, HWV 454 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Gilbert Rowland (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1705 

Sound Samples

Keyboard Suite No. 3 (Set I) in D minor, HWV 428: I. Prelude
Keyboard Suite No. 3 (Set I) in D minor, HWV 428: II. Allegro
Keyboard Suite No. 3 (Set I) in D minor, HWV 428: III. Allemande
Keyboard Suite No. 3 (Set I) in D minor, HWV 428: IV. Courante
Keyboard Suite No. 3 (Set I) in D minor, HWV 428: V. Air and 5 variations
Keyboard Suite No. 3 (Set I) in D minor, HWV 428: VI. Presto
Harpsichord Suite in A major, HWV 454: I. Allemande
Harpsichord Suite in A major, HWV 454: II. Courante
Harpsichord Suite in A major, HWV 454: III. Sarabande
Harpsichord Suite in A major, HWV 454: IV. Gigue
Keyboard Suite No. 5 (Set II) in E minor, HWV 438: I. Allmand
Keyboard Suite No. 5 (Set II) in E minor, HWV 438: II. Saraband
Keyboard Suite No. 5 (Set II) in E minor, HWV 438: III. Jigg
Keyboard Suite in C major, HWV 443: I. Prelude
Keyboard Suite in C major, HWV 443: II. Allemande
Keyboard Suite in C major, HWV 443: III. Courante
Keyboard Suite in C major, HWV 443: IV. Sarabande
Keyboard Suite in C major, HWV 443: V. Gigue
Keyboard Suite in C major, HWV 443: VI. Chaconne with 49 Variations
Keyboard Suite No. 6 (Set II) in G minor, HWV 439: I. Allemande
Keyboard Suite No. 6 (Set II) in G minor, HWV 439: II. Courante
Keyboard Suite No. 6 (Set II) in G minor, HWV 439: III. Sarabande
Keyboard Suite No. 6 (Set II) in G minor, HWV 439: IV. Gigue
Keyboard Suite No. 8 (Set II) in G major, HWV 441: I. Allemande
Keyboard Suite No. 8 (Set II) in G major, HWV 441: II. Allegro
Keyboard Suite No. 8 (Set II) in G major, HWV 441: III. Corante
Keyboard Suite No. 8 (Set II) in G major, HWV 441: IV. Aria: Presto
Keyboard Suite No. 8 (Set II) in G major, HWV 441: V. Menuetto
Keyboard Suite No. 8 (Set II) in G major, HWV 441: VI. Gavotta
Keyboard Suite No. 8 (Set II) in G major, HWV 441: VII. Gigue
Keyboard Suite No. 4 (Set I) in E minor, HWV 429: I. Allegro
Keyboard Suite No. 4 (Set I) in E minor, HWV 429: II. Allemande
Keyboard Suite No. 4 (Set I) in E minor, HWV 429: III. Courante
Keyboard Suite No. 4 (Set I) in E minor, HWV 429: IV. Sarabande
Keyboard Suite No. 4 (Set I) in E minor, HWV 429: V. Gigue
Keyboard Suite No. 5 in E major, HWV 430: I. Prelude
Keyboard Suite No. 5 in E major, HWV 430: II. Allemande
Keyboard Suite No. 5 in E major, HWV 430: III. Courante
Keyboard Suite No. 5 in E major, HWV 430: IV. Air, "Harmonious Blacksmith"

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