About this Recording
2.110541 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - SWITZERLAND: A Musical Tour of the Graubunden (NTSC)
English 

A Musical Tour of the Graubünden, Switzerland
With music by George Frideric Handel

 

CHAPTERS 1–2

Corvatsch

Piz Corvatsch is the highest accessible point in Graubünden, its snow-covered peak ascending to a height of 10,387 feet. From it higher neighbouring peaks can be seen.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in G major, Op. 3, No. 3
I. Largo e staccato – II. Allegro

The Concerto grosso was among the most popular baroque instrumental forms, with a small group, the concertino, often of two violins, cello and keyboard, contrasted with a full string orchestra, the ripieno. Handel’s six Concerti grossi, Op. 3, were published in London in 1734 and vary in the instrumentation of the concertino. The third of the set, the Concerto Grosso in G major, Op. 3, No. 3, draws on two earlier compositions, the so-called Chandos Anthems, written for Handel’s patron, the Duke of Chandos, in 1717–1718, and a keyboard fugue, the whole concerto perhaps compiled by the publisher Thomas Walsh. The concertino is here a flute or oboe and a solo violin, with basso continuo, contrasted with the strings of the orchestra. The work starts with a short slow introduction followed by a fugal movement.

CHAPTERS 3–4

Guarda

The village of Guarda, situated high in the Lower Engadine, retains much of its traditional character.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in G major, Op. 3, No. 3
III. Adagio – IV. Allegro

A short E minor Adagio, with an ornamented solo melody for flute or oboe, leads to a second fugal movement that re-appears as the second of Handel’s Six Fugues or Voluntarys, published by Walsh in 1735 and possibly, like the Op. 3 Concertos pirated.

CHAPTER 5

Sils and Landscape

Lake Sils is the largest in Switzerland and forms one of a group of lakes in the Upper Engadine.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in A minor, Op. 6, No. 4
I. Larghetto affettuoso

The twelve Concerti grossi published by Walsh in 1740 as Op. 6 form a coherent and unified group of works, written more or less in the order in which they appeared in the published version and scored for strings and continuo, with a concertino solo group of two violins, cello and keyboard. The Concerto Grosso in A minor, Op. 6, No. 4, starts with a slow introductory movement, its melody entrusted to the first violins.

CHAPTER 6

Bernina Railway

Finally completed in 1910, the Bernina Railway joins St Moritz with the Italian town of Tirano, by way of the Bernina Pass. It provides spectacular views of mountain scenery.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in A minor, Op. 6, No. 4
II. Allegro

The second movement of the Concerto Grosso in A minor, Op. 4, No. 4, follows the convention of the sonata da chiesa (church sonata) and is fugal, with brief moments of contrast between the solo instruments and the full string orchestra.

CHAPTER 7

Landscape

Village houses and the mountains of Graubünden offer an equally impressive sight silhouetted against the dark night sky.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in A minor, Op. 6, No. 4
III. Largo e piano

The gently moving third movement of the Concerto Grosso in A minor, Op. 6, No. 4, modulates from F major to a final C major, in preparation for the last movement.

CHAPTER 8

St Moritz : Snow Sculpture

St Moritz owes its popularity as a resort to its consistently cold and clear climate, an element that helps the creation of imaginative snow sculptures.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in A minor, Op. 6, No. 4
IV. Allegro

The last movement of the Concerto Grosso in A minor, Op. 6, No. 4, allows due contrast of texture between the orchestra and the solo concertino.

CHAPTER 9

Soglio

The village of Soglio lies high in the mountains, surrounded by towering peaks. It was once of some political importance and was dominated by the von Salis family, some of whose family residences are preserved. It is near the border with Italy.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 6, No. 5
I. (Adagio) – Allegro

The Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 6, No. 5, starts with a French overture, the repeated slow introduction, with its dotted rhythms, followed by a fugal movement.

CHAPTER 10

Bergell

The valley of Bergell (Bregaglia) is set among mountains. The valley itself has the sources of three great rivers, the Rhine, the Inn and the Po. Remains survive from the period of Roman occupation.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 6, No. 5
II. Presto

The second movement of the Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 6, No. 5, is a rapid Presto, with contrast between the solo and ripieno instruments.

CHAPTER 11

Lavin: Church of St Güerg

The Church of St Güerg at Lavin contains wall-paintings, the work of a North Italian artist, dating from about 1480.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 6, No. 5
III. Largo

The short third movement of the Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 6, No. 5, a Largo, serves as a brief interlude.

CHAPTER 12

Coltura: Palazzo Castelmur

The Neo-Gothic Palazzo Castelmur was originally a residence of the Redolfi family, built in the 18th century. It was restored between 1850 and 1855 by Baron Giovanni de Castelmur.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 6, No. 5
IV. Allegro

Concertino and ripieno join together in the rapid fourth movement of the Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 6, No. 5.

CHAPTER 13

Bergell Patrician Houses

Many of the grander houses in Bergell (Bregaglia) have been put to other use. The buildings remain as tokens of former grandeur.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 6, No. 5
V. Menuet

The Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 6, No. 5, ends with a stately Menuet, marked Un poco larghetto.

CHAPTER 14

Sils

The sun slowly sets over the picturesque village of Sils in the Upper Engadine.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6
I. Larghetto e affettuoso

The Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6, starts with a slow introductory movement.

CHAPTER 15

St Moritz
a. A cable car makes its slow ascent at St Moritz, now one of the most popular of Swiss ski resorts.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6
II. Allegro ma non troppo

The second movement of the Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6, is fugal, the subject announced by the first violins, answered by the seconds, followed by viola and cello.

b. Mountain peaks tower over St Moritz, including the Piz Albana, Piz Olaschin, Piz Julier and Piz Corvatsch. Skiers enjoy their sport, helped in their initial ascent by ski lifts.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6
III. Musette

The third movement of the Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6, marked Larghetto has the title Musette, suggesting a movement based on the French bagpipe, with its drone bass. Here Handel soon diverges from the pattern of the dance. The contrasting Trio section here accompanies skiers at their sport.

CHAPTER 16

Sils

Sils, seen here in tranquillity, also has its place as a ski resort for visitors.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6
IV. Allegro

The fourth movement of Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6 is an Allegro, based on a wide-spaced theme.

CHAPTER 17

Fextal

Val Fex (Fextal), part of the municipality of Sils, provides visitors with the chance of excursions in horse-drawn sleighs.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6
V. Allegro

Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6 ends with a further Allegro, a final dance movement.


Keith Anderson

 

Recording (all works):

Capella Istropolitana conducted by Jozef Kopelman [Naxos 8.550157]


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