Suite No.3

George Frideric Handel

Suite No.3 in D minor


About this work

Handel's Suite for keyboard were first published in Amsterdam in 1719 by Jeanne Roger. But because Handel received no royalties from Roger, he understandably decided to publish them himself in London the following year. Also called Suites de pieces pour le Clavecin, the suites are most often sets of stylized dances, occasionally including further additional movements. The Suite in D minor consists of six movements: Prelude, Fuga, Allemande, Courante, Air, and Presto. The opening Prelude, marked Presto, is a fast-touch piece in common time with rapid scales and huge arpeggios concluding on a cadence marked Adagio. The following Fuga, marked Allegro, is a fast and furious movement with a thrusting chromatic subject. The Allemande, marked Andantino quasi Allegretto, is a gently flowing movement with a sighing melody. The Courante, marked Allegretto, is a gracefully gnarly movement in triple time. The Air, marked Lento non troppo, begins with a long, pensive theme with extravagant embellishments followed by a set of five variations ranging from the dramatic to the tragic to the virtuostic. The suite concludes with an enormous Presto in triple time that alternates between a huge chordal theme and brilliant passagework.