George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel (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.
Handel’s three anthems (My song shall be alway HWV 252,
O come let us sing HWV 253, O praise the Lord HWV 254)
were composed in 1717 and 1718 for Cannons, a country
estate near to London. They take their nickname, the “
Chandos Anthems”, from the owner of the estate, the
First Duke of Chandos .
The three pieces are noteworthy for their festive
character and their varied orchestral accompaniment.
Handel borrows older material from his Italian period
and his earlier works for the Chapel Royal in London –
a standard procedure for this composer, who reused
particularly successful pieces as starting points for
his later works. The scoring for solo voices, chorus,
oboe, strings, and continuo was tailored to the musical
resources of the small country estate. Two additional
recorders are needed for “O come let us sing unto the
The anthems present the Urtext from the “Halle Handel
Edition” and include uncomplicated and easy-to-play
piano reductions. In addition to the original English
words, the full scores and vocal scores also include a
singing translation in German.
Although originally written for Accompanied Voice, I
created this Interpretation of the Sonata in A Major
from Chandos Anthem No. 8 (HWV 253 Mvt. 1) for Oboe &
Strings (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).