Suite No.8

George Frideric Handel

Suite No.8 in G major

HWV441

About this work

The Suite in G major from Handel's Suites for keyboard, Vol. 2, is the longest and largest of his keyboard suites. In seven movements, it is the suite that most closely resembles Bach's suites in its formal dimensions. The content, however, is pure Handel: predominantly melodic with minimal imitative counterpoint. The opening Allegro Allemande is essentially a cheerful dotted melody in the right hand above a muscular accompaniment in the left hand. The Allegro has its melody in the third, fourth, and fifth fingers of the right hand above a cunningly deployed descending accompaniment spread between the first finger and thumb of the right hand and the left hand. The Allegro vivace Courante opens with the melody in the right hand with an almost chordal accompaniment in the left hand and only touches of counterpoint in the left hand. It closes with the melody descending into the lowest register of the keyboard. The Presto Aria has a cheeky melody in the right hand above scales and chords in the left hand. The Vivace Menuetto, then a brand-new dance, starts out with imitative counterpoint between both hands, but quickly turns to an accompanied melody. The Allegro Gavotte is a set of five variations with its theme and first three variations written in two-part imitative counterpoint, but it changes in its fourth and fifth variations into something closer to accompanied melody. The closing Presto Gigue is almost wholly written as a dancing melody over a rhythmic accompaniment.

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