Georg Friedrich Händel (1685 – 1759) was a true
European. He had a German work ethic, Italian passion
and a Dutch head for business. And after training in
Germany and Italy, from 1711 he went on to win the
hearts of the British. He wooed them with his many
operas and oratorios, and with instrumental works like
his Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks.
Yet during his lifetime, he was renowned not only as an
organist, but also as one of the greatest
harpsichordists of his day. The public couldn’t get
enough of him on the harpsichord, either as a composer
or a musician. Evidently times change. However, if we
take a closer look at the period during which Handel
settled in London, we soon see that people were
occupied with the same issues then as they are
The signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 finally
brought peace after a long period of war, and with it a
lasting balance of power in Europe. It was a historic
moment, comparable to the foundation of the European
Union. Historic, partly because it was the first time a
treaty had been signed not on the battle field but at
the negotiating table. For Handel it was a fortunate
development as it allowed him to move much more freely
around Europe. At the same time, England had not done
badly out of the peace deal it had struck in Utrecht.
Welfare in the country increased, certainly in
Handel brought together new and old material, but just
what was old and what was new we do not know. Probably
some of the work dated from his student days in
Germany, some from his years in Italy, and the new
material from his time in London. The German folksongs
in the Air of the Suite in D Minor and the Passacaille
from the Suite in G Major could well have been composed
in his German years, as could some of the Fugues.
According to Grove Music, Handel's keyboard pieces were
"all probably for harpsichord and written before 1720,
unless otherwise stated"; specifically for HWV 485,
Grove says "for 2-manual hpd".
Although originally written for Keyboard, I created
this Arrangement of the Suite in D Minor (HWV 449 No.
24) for String Trio (Violin, Viola & Cello).