The Flute sonata in G major (HWV 363b) was composed
(circa 1711-16) by George Frideric Handel for flute and
keyboard (harpsichord). The work is also referred to as
Opus 1 No. 5, and was first published in 1732 by Walsh.
Other catalogues of Handel's music have referred to the
work as HG xxvii,19; and HHA iv/3,28. The sonata was
originally composed as an oboe sonata in F major (HWV
Both the Walsh edition and the Chrysander edition
indicate that the work is for recorder ("Flauto"), and
published it as Sonata V.
The sonata begins with an Adagio that is derived from
an aria in Handel's opera Rinaldo. Over a stately
harpsichord accompaniment, the flute delivers a
long-lined melody punctuated by brief sighing phrases.
This leads with an unresolved cadence to the Allegro,
which launches itself with the aforementioned
stuttering trumpet call. The motif reappears
frequently, and provides the basis of much of the
harpsichord accompaniment, while the flute spins out
highly florid melodic lines.
A second Adagio begins with a falling, stepwise figure
in the continuo, whereupon the flute develops a
broader, pensive melody that allows for generous
ornamentation. The concluding Minuet (Handel uses the
Italian spelling, Menuetto) is a lively, truly dancing
piece that wouldn't be out of place in Water Music. Its
duration is less a matter of tempo than how many
repeats the performers choose to observe.