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.
The Concerti Grossi, Op. 3, HWV 312–317, are six
concerti grossi by George Frideric Handel compiled into
a set and published by John Walsh in 1734.
Musicologists now agree that Handel had no initial
knowledge of the publishing. Instead, Walsh, seeking to
take advantage of the commercial success of Corelli's
Opus 6 Concerti Grossi, simply combined several of
Handel's already existing works and grouped them into
The structure of Op. 3 is somewhat unusual. The six
concertos have anything between two and five movements,
but only one of them contains the usual four movements.
Only occasionally are the instrumental forces set in
the traditional concerto grosso manner, i.e. a tutti
group and a contrasting, soloistic concertino group.
However, the concertos are filled with virtuoso solo
passages for both the strings and the woodwinds, thus
maintaining the form of the concerto grosso despite the
lack of traditional contrasting forces.
The second concerto contains four movements in B flat
major and one (the second) in G minor. The opening
movement of the five-movement concerto bears a close
relationship to Handel's Brockes Passion of 1716.
Unusually, two dance movements, a minuet, and a gavotte
complete the concerto. The final gavotte bears a close
resemblance to "The King Shall Rejoice" from Handel's
Coronation Anthems. The concerto is scored for two
oboes, one bassoon, strings, and continuo.
Although originally written for Baroque Orchestra, I
created this Interpretation of the Concerto Grosso in
Bb Major (HWV 313 Opus 3 No. 2) for Winds (2 Flutes & 2
Oboes) & Strings (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).