Handel’s ability to balance and fuse French and Italian taste and idiom is as masterful – albeit applied markedly differently – as Bach. Bach adopts French manners and provenances according to his own developing keyboard invention from the early English Suites (very French) to the French Suites (quite French) to the mature Partitas (sui generis). With Handel, the gallic accent in his ‘eight great suites’, published in 1720 but written years before, draws on earlier ‘claveciniste’ practices – as in the exquisitely conceived Allemande from the substantial seven-movement Suite in D minor, HWV 428. Timothy Jones’s compressed tableau uses a portion of the original Prelude as a preamble to the languid Allemande and culminating in a fugue with a subject of exceptional character. It is in this movement, especially, that one draws on an observation of Handel’s contemporary and first biographer, John Mainwaring: ‘What distinguishes him from all other players was that amazing fullness, force and energy which he joined with uncommon brilliancy and command of finger’.

Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

Parts included:

  • Trumpets in C
  • Piano

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