Suites de pièces pour le clavecin
A fount of inexhaustible creativity, Handel more than any of his contemporaries embodies the spirit of his century. This native of Halle in Saxony, the son of a surgeon, ranged over the whole of Europe during the course of his life, bringing about a synthesis of musical cultures and styles unparalleled in the history of music. He was a prolific composer who left an indelible mark on his contemporaries’ memory, and over the centuries became synonymous with the musical genres on which he brought his genius to bear. By the time he published his eight Great Suites he had already travelled a good deal and learned from every country in which he had stayed; as a result he was able to write a suite in which an adagio of Italian inspiration suggests the colours of dawn over the Thames, or in which a courante of French character is constructed with the solidity of a German cathedral.
Whatever he wrote, though, Handel sang and made the harpsichord sing: whether in the moving airs and ornamented adagios in the style of Corelli, in the French-style dances, in the severe German fugues, or in the Purcellian “lessons” in which he conjures an ineffably English vividness.