Handel: his 10 best pieces of music - as chosen by Classic FM presenters
22 February 2016, 12:06
Tuesday 23 February is the anniversary of the birth of George Frideric Handel. To celebrate his 331st birthday, here are 10 of his best pieces.
Anne-Marie Minhall: Zadok the Priest
Classic FM's weekday afternoon presenter did not hesitate to name her favourite piece by Handel: the most famous of his coronation anthems. "It makes the hair on my neck stand up every time I hear it," says Anne-Marie."A spine-tingling, choral belter." Find out more, here.
Aled Jones: 'Waft her angels' from Jephtha
The first aria Aled sang as a professional was from Handel's final oratorio, Jephtha. "The tenor aria from that oratorio 'Waft her angels' is so beautiful," says Aled.
Charlotte Green: 'The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba' from Solomon
The presenter of the Culture Club on Sunday afternoons on Classic FM, Charlotte says: "I love the liveliness and verve of 'The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba'. It’s one of the very first pieces of classical music that I heard when I was little; it's remained a favourite all my life."
Tim Lihoreau: 'Lascia ch'io pianga' from Rinaldo
Classic FM's More Music Breakfast presenter loves this soprano aria. Often heard in advertisements and films, it started life as an Asian dance in Handel's 1705 opera Almira. He later recycled it for an oratorio, and then most famously for his 1711 opera Rinaldo. It was an instant hit.
John Suchet: Concerto Grosso Op.6 No.6
John can't resist this work, especially the gravely beautiful, elegiac Musette movement. It's one of Handel's masterpieces - he would often perform it as a separate piece during oratorios. It was brilliantly featured on the soundtrack to The Madness of King George.
Nick Bailey: 'Will the sun forget to streak' from Solomon
"Rather appropriate for the time of the year!" says Classic FM's night-time presenter. This one's sung by the Queen of Sheba towards the end of Handel's 1748 oratorio (and after her famous arrival - see Charlotte Green's choice above).
Margherita Taylor: Water Music Suite, Air
Smooth Classics presenter Margherita voted for Zadok the Priest as one of her Hall of Fame choices this year. But Anne-Marie Minhall had already nabbed that one for this feature, so Margherita's gone for her second favourite Handel piece - which was coincidentally another royal commission.
Catherine Bott: Chaconne Variations in G
This is one of Handel's most inventive keyboard compositions, drawing on French influences from the likes of Rameau and Couperin. "Murray Perahia's recording of this is fabulous," says the presenter of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Classical Music, and she should know.