Suite No.4

George Frideric Handel

Suite No.4 in E minor


About this work

Handel self-published the first volume of his Suites for keyboard in 1720. Although this was outside his usual activities as a composer, he did so because the suites had been published the previous year in Amsterdam by Jeanne Rogers, who, given the absence of international copyright laws, paid Handel not a penny for his work. The full title of the volume was Suites de pièces pour le Clavecin and the suites are most often sets of stylized dances with the occasional addition of other movements. The Suite in E minor consists of six movements: Fuga, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Presto, and Gigue. Marked Allegro, the opening four-voice Fuga has a hammering subject pounding through the whole movement until the final, massive Adagio cadence. The Allemande, marked Allegro moderato, is a sweet and supple movement with delicately intertwining voices. The Courante, marked Allegretto tranquillo, is an easily flowing movement in three voices that expand to four and then five voices at the cadences. The Sarabande, marked Allegretto con moto, is a quietly contemplative movement with an inward melody. The closing Gigue, in 12/8 and marked Vivace, is a hoot and a holler with a quick rush to the final cadence.