Suite No.8

George Frideric Handel

Suite No.8 in F minor


About this work

One of the subtitles for Handel's keyboard suites published in 1720 was "Lessons." Supposedly, Handel used the suites as education works intended to guide his pupils along the path to keyboard mastery. In that case, those students who undertook to learn the Suite in F minor must already be far along the path because the F minor is a tough and powerful work requiring both fluency and strength in each of its five movements. The opening Adagio Prelude begins simply, but becomes increasingly intense as voices are added and the textures grows thick with chromatic lines and embellishments. The Allegro Fuga that follows starts with a rising subject, quickly adds two more voices, then adds massive three- and four-voice chords to close with a monumental seven-voice cadence. The Allemande and Courante that follow roil and rock through densely contrapuntal textures. The suite closes with a Gigue whose octave-and-a-half theme hastens to an oblique but nonetheless conclusive final cadence.