Georg Friedrich Händel (1685 1759) was a German,
later British, baroque composer who spent the bulk of
his career in London, becoming well known for his
operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos. Handel
received important training in Halle and worked as a
composer in Hamburg and Italy before settling in London
in 1712; he became a naturalised British subject in
1727. He was strongly influenced both by the great
composers of the Italian Baroque and by the
middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.
Born the same year as Johann Sebastian Bach and
Domenico Scarlatti, Handel is regarded as one of the
greatest composers of the Baroque era, with works such
as Water Music, Music for the Royal Fireworks and
Messiah remaining steadfastly popular. One of his four
Coronation Anthems, Zadok the Priest (1727), composed
for the coronation of George II, has been performed at
every subsequent British coronation, traditionally
during the sovereign's anointing. Another of his
English oratorios, Solomon (1748), has also remained
popular, with the Sinfonia that opens act 3 (known more
commonly as "The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba")
featuring at the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony.
Handel composed more than forty operas in over thirty
years, and since the late 1960s, with the revival of
baroque music and historically informed musical
performance, interest in Handel's operas has grown.
Handel wrote a set of nine songs in 1724-26 to the
German-language texts of Barthold Heinrich Brockes from
his collection Irdisches Vergnuegen in Gott
(Contentment on Earth through God). The tone of the
text is religious in an easygoing manner. All of these
songs are in ABA form with vocal declamation that is
lyrical, sometimes melismatic, and never virtuosic. The
instrumentation of the accompaniment is flexible, and
the performers are allowed to choose whichever
instruments are appropriate and available for the
continuo and instrumental obbligato.
1. (00:00) Künft'ger Zeiten eitler Kummer (HWV 202),
whose title translates as "Idle Concerns for the
Future, " moves forward in an easy going triple meter
with the obbligato instrument holding forth on its own
and accompanying the voice harmonically.
2. (03:20) Das zitternde Glänzen der spielenden Wellen
(HWV 203), whose title translates as "The Shimmering
Sparkle, " proceeds in a joyous, pleasantly assertive
duple meter. The obbligato instrument contrasts
contrapuntally with the voice when the two are heard
3. (08:10) Süßer Blumen Ambraflocken (HWV 204), whose
title translates as "Sweet Blooms of the Amber Tree, "
features a light minor-mode setting and triple meter.
The obbligato instrument answers and contrasts with the
4. (12:37) Süße Stille, sanfte Quelle (HWV 205), whose
title translates as "Sweet Quiet, Gentle Source, "
carries on in a pleasant, contented triple meter. The
obbligato instrument answers the voice and occasionally
harmonizes with it. There is no instrumental
introduction, and there is an extended instrumental
interlude along the way.
5. (16:43) Singe Seele, Gott zum Preise (HWV 206),
whose title translates as "Sing, Soul, in Praise of
God, " gives us an intense, fervent minor-mode setting
in triple meter. Tbe obbligato instrument, whose line
is saturated with dotted rhythms, contrasts with the
6. (18:30) Meine Seele hört im Sehen (HWV 207), whose
title translates as "My Soul Hears through Seeing, "
holds forth in a pleasant duple meter over a "walking"
bass line in the continuo. The text deals with the
synesthesia of hearing things usually thought of as
visual. The obbligato instrument sometimes answers the
singer and sometimes harmonizes with him. The dotted
rhythms of the obbligato instrument sometimes show up
in the vocal part.
7. (22:57) Die ihr aus dunklen Grüften (HWV 208), whose
title translates as "You from Dark Shafts, " flows in a
smooth duple meter. The obbligato sometimes contrasts
with and sometimes harmonizes with the vocalist.
8. (27:14) In den angenehmen Büschen (HWV 209), whose
title translates as "In the Pleasant Grove, " is cast
in an easygoing minor-mode setting in a sprightly duple
meter. The obbligato instrument contrasts with the
9. (30:08) Flammende Rose, Zierde der Erden (HWV 210),
whose title translates as "Flaming Roses, Adornment of
the Earth, " is marked by prominent sequences in the
obbligato line that contrasts with the voice throughout
the main section. The middle section is a minor-key
excursion without obbligato.
Although originally written for Voice and Continuo, I
created this Arrangement of the 9 German Arias (HWVs
202-210) for Flute, Violin & Cello.