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8.572382 - Takako Nishizaki Plays Suzuki Evergreens, Vol. 5

Takako Nishizaki plays
Suzuki Evergreens • Volume 5


The fifth volume of the Takako Nishizaki Plays Suzuki Evergreens starts with an arrangement by Shinichi Suzuki of Arcangelo Corelli’s variations based on the popular dance, La Folia. Corelli, with his twelve sonatas for violin and keyboard, his trio sonatas and his dozen concerti grossi, exercised a strong influence on his successors, with many of his works familiar before his death in Rome in 1713 and their final publication. His Op. 5, No. 12 is a set of variations on La Folia, a dance that was to form the basis of various compositions by his contemporaries and successors.

There is something paradoxical about Handel’s career. German by birth, he was invited to England as a composer of Italian opera and in the later years of his life created the English oratorio. George Frideric Handel was born in Halle in 1685, the son of a well-to-do barber-surgeon by his second wife. His early interest in music was discouraged by his father, but after the latter’s death and a short period at Halle University, he left to devote himself fully to music, at first as harpsichordist and then as a composer at the Hamburg Opera. From there he moved in 1706 to Italy, the source from which his musical style derived, and remained there for some five years, winning success with patrons and in the opera-house. A meeting in Venice with Baron Kielmansegge, Master of Horse to the Elector of Hanover, led to Handel’s appointment as Kapellmeister to the Elector, from whom he sought immediate leave to visit London for the staging of his opera Rinaldo. Although he returned to Hanover in due course, by 1713 he was again in London, his home for the rest of his life.

The violin sonatas attributed to Handel were published in London in about 1730 with the false imprint of Roger of Amsterdam, but in fact by Thomas Walsh, who soon went on to publish the sonatas under his own imprint. They are described as Opus 1 and include twelve sonatas for treble instrument and continuo, with the Sonata in F major as Op. 1 No. 12. The authenticity of this sonata has been doubted. There is, however, no doubt about the authenticity of the famous Sonata in D major, with the later numbering Op. 1, No. 13, HWV 371, which is dated to about 1750. The sonatas, authentic or not, are in four movements, generally in the form of sonate da chiesa, a slow movement followed by a fast movement, a second slow movement and a final movement, but containing dance movements. The Sonata in F major has a second slow movement in D minor and ends with an Allegro in compound time, the equivalent of the gigue that often ended a dance suite. The Sonata in D major has a second movement of contrapuntal interest, followed by a B minor Larghetto and a final movement of varied rhythms.

The son of the Venetian musician Pietro Antonio Fiocco, who had settled in Brussels where he held important positions in the musical establishment, Joseph-Hector Fiocco was born in 1703. He served as sous-maître in the court chapel in 1729 or 1730, under his half-brother Jean-Joseph, resigning his post in Brussels in 1731 to succeed Willem De Fesch as sangmeester at Antwerp Cathedral. In 1737 he returned to Brussels to become master at the collegiate church of St Michael and St Gudule, holding this position until his death in 1741. His style as a composer combines Italian, French and Flemish influences. The name of Fiocco is known to all violinists as the composer of an Allegro, arranged by others for violin and piano, taken from his Pièces de clavecin, Op. 1, a collection of pieces suggesting the influence of Couperin and the French clavecinistes.

Jean-Philippe Rameau was the leading French composer of his time, in particular after the death of Couperin in 1733. He made a significant and lasting contribution to musical theory. Born in Dijon, two years before the year of birth of Handel, Bach and Domenico Scarlatti, Rameau spent the earlier part of his career principally as organist at Clermont Cathedral. In 1722 or 1723, however, he settled in Paris, publishing further collections of harpsichord pieces and his important Treatise on Harmony, written before his removal to Paris. From 1733 he devoted himself largely to the composition of opera and to his work as a theorist, the first under the patronage of a rich amateur, in whose house he had an apartment. The transcribed Gavottes represent a characteristic French dance.

Keith Anderson

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