Concerto Grosso No.7

George Frideric Handel

Concerto Grosso No.7 in Bb major

HWV325, Op. 6/7 • “Hornpipe”

About this work

This work is one of a series of twelve dashing and elegant concerti grossi in which Handel explores kaleidoscopically shifting relationships among the instruments of a string orchestra. This concerto is the only one in the collection that doesn't feature a concertino (small group of solo instruments) to contrast with the full orchestral complement.

The opening Largo proceeds tentatively with homophonically accompanied singing lines that progress through frequent pauses, and increasingly rapid repetitions of a single pitch impart a comically nervous feel to the allegro fugue that follows. The subsequent Largo e piano is a lyrical minor-mode excursion in which sections of the orchestra answer each other. It ends on a half-cadence that points to an Andante which regains the major mode in a stately slow march that proceeds over a punctuating accompaniment. The concerto concludes with a lively hornpipe that sets a syncopated melodic line over an accompaniment that squarely marks the meter.