The Full Works Concert - Friday 23 August: Handel

Tonight's Full Works Concert is all-Handel with most of his major works to be enjoyed.

Most music lovers have encountered George Frideric Handel through Christmas-time performances of the Hallelujah Chorus but there's much more to the great man's music than just the Messiah.

Tonight's concert kicks off with the Arrival of the Queen of Sheba which opens Act III of Handel's oratorio, Solomon. Its first performance took place on 17 March 1749 at the Theatre Royal in London.

The Organ Concerto in F major HWV.295, known as ‘The Cuckoo and the Nightingale’, was premiered as part of Israel in Egypt at the Kings Theatre in London. Its famous second movement features the distinctive cuckoo song that gives the whole piece its nickname.

The aria, Dopo Note from Handel's Ariodante is played tonight in an oboe arrangement by Albrecht Mayer with the Sinfonia Varsovia.

The music Handel composed for a lavish fireworks display in 1749 was perhaps his greatest public success in London. Its rehearsal run-through alone - without the pyrotechnics - drew a crowd of 12,000 and caused one of the city's first traffic jams.

Handel's Water Music is made up of three orchestral suites, written for an outdoor performance for King George I on the Thames. We're hearing the second tonight. It was first performed on 17 July 1717 after George I requested a concert on the River Thames. The king watched from the royal barge with various dukes and duchesses as the 50 musicians played nearby. The king enjoyed the music so much, he asked the musicians to play the suites three times over the course of the trip down the river.

The Laudate Pueri Dominum HWV.237 is a setting by Handel of Psalm 112. It was composed in Rome in July 1707. This was Handel’s second setting of the psalm. Judging by the demands made by the score, Handel and his patron Colonna must have had the services of an exceptionally talented soprano, probably a castrato, and an almost equally gifted oboe virtuoso. 


Handel: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Paul McCreesh conducts the Gabrieli Consort and Players

Handel: Organ Concerto in F major HWV.295 (‘The Cuckoo and the Nightingale’)
Organ: Simon Preston
Trevor Pinnock conducts the English Concert

Handel: Ariodante – Dopo Note
Oboe: Albrecht Mayer
Sinfonia Varsovia

Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks
Nicholas McGegan conducts the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Handel: Sarabande
Piano: Gabriela Montero

Handel: Oboe Concerto No.1 in B flat major
Oboe: Sarah Francis
London Harpsichord Ensemble

Handel: Water Music Suite No.2 in D major
Marc Minkowski conducts Les Musiciens du Louvre

Handel: Suite in G minor HWV.432
Piano: Dara van den Bercken

Handel: Laudate Pueri Dominum HWV.237
Soprano: Emma Kirkby
Antony Walker conducts the Orchestra of the Antipodes and Cantillation