HANDEL: 16 CONCERTOS FOR ORGAN AND ORCHESTRA – GUY BOVET – ORCHESTRE DES JARDINS MUSICAUX
George Frideric HANDEL : CD 1 : Organ Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 4, HWV 289: I. Larghetto e staccato – II. Allegro – III. Adagio – IV. Andante – Organ Concerto No. 2 in B-Flat Major, Op. 4, HWV 290: I. A tempo ordinario e staccato – II. Allegro – III. Adagio e staccato – IV. Allegro, ma non presto – Organ Concerto No. 3 in G Minor, Op. 4, HWV 291: I. Adagio – II. Allegro – III. Adagio – IV. Allegro – Organ Concerto No. 4 in F Major, Op. 4, HWV 292: I. Allegro – II. Andante – III. Adagio – IV. Allegro – Organ Concerto No. 5 in F Major, Op. 4, HWV 293: I. Larghetto – II. Allegro – III. Alla Siciliana – IV. Presto – Organ Concerto No. 6 in B Major, Op. 4, HWV 294: I. Andante allegro – II. Larghetto – III. Allegro moderato – CD 2 : Organ Concerto No. 1 in B Major, Op. 7, HWV 306: I. Andante – II. Andante – III. Largo e piano – IV. Bourrée – Organ Concerto No. 2 in A Major, Op. 7, HWV 307: I. Ouverture – II. A tempo ordinario – III. Organo ad libitum – IV. Allegro – Organ Concerto No. 3 in B-Flat Major, Op. 7, HWV 308: I. Allegro – II. Organo ad libitum, Pt. 1 – II. Organo ad libitum, Pt. 2 – III. Spiritoso – IV. Menuetti 1 – IV. Menuetti 2 – Organ Concerto No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 7, HWV 309: I. Adagio – II. Allegro – III. Organo ad libitum – IV. Allegro – Organ Concerto No. 5 in G Minor, Op. 7, HWV 310: I. Allegro ma non troppo, e staccato – I. Organo ad libitum – II. Andante larghetto, e staccato – III. Menuet – IV. Gavotte – CD 3 : Organ Concerto No. 6 in F Major, Op. 7, HWV 311: I. Pomposo – II. Organo ad libitum – III. A tempo ordinario – Organ Concerto No. 13 in F Major, HWV 295 “The Cuckoo and the Nightingale”: I. Larghetto – II. Allegro – II. Organo ad libitum – III. Larghetto – IV. Allegro – Organ Concerto No. 14 in A Major, HWV 296a: I. Largo e staccato – II. Cadenza – III. Andante – IV. Grave – V. Allegro – Organ Concerto No. 15 in D Minor, HWV 304: I. Andante – II. Organo ad libitum, Pt. 1 – II. Organo ad libitum, Pt. 2 – III. Allegro – Organ Concerto No. 16 in F Major, HWV 305a: I. Ouverture – II. Allegro – III. Organo ad libitum – IV. Allegro ma non troppo – V. Adagio – VI. Andante – VII. Allegro – VIII. Marche.
Guy Bovet, Organ – Orchestre des Jardins Musicaux, Valentin Reymond, Direction.
3 CD BOX
George Frideric Handel, Organ Concerto
In Leipzig, poor Bach finds himself in a daily Struggle against an ignorant Municipal Council, a demanding parish, and a host of brats who couldn’t care less about music or Latin.
The labour is overwhelming, and survival difficult. Meanwhile his fellow German Handel has comfortably established himself in London and serves only one master : his public, who acclaims him, and only one duty : to provide London music lovers with enough new compositions to calm their appetite.
He’s famous, at the Opera as well as in the concert hall, where his oratorios are performed with luxury, by enormous ensembles for the time’s standards. He is surrounded by supporters. But Handel is also a virtuoso and needs to perform : his admirers complain that they don’t hear him often enough.
So, his friends suggest that he should fill the intermissions of his oratorios with some remarkable acrobacy : the players are already there, and there is also an organ to play the continuos. Concert halls are anyway more or less the only places where one could organize public performances on the organ : this instrument has been banished from the churches and the few remaining ones are little or not played.
Ingenious as always, Handel scribbles some tutti passages and improvises the solo part. The public is delighted : the first six Concertos are published almost immediately (1735). There is also a version for one keyboard instalment without orchestra, to be played by anyone at home.
John Walsh, Handel’s publisher friend, is delighted as well : business is brilliant. So, George Frideric writes more concertos and they are published five years later: a little more elaborate and precise, but there is still plenty of room for improvisation. Finally, four more, even more intricate.
Handel has invented the organ concerto. Many will imitate him ; no one will equal him, except perhaps Francis Poulenc, in the 20th century, and he only wrote one organ concerto. No other organ concerto has ever really made it into the great concert repertoire.
Guy Bovet has been organist of the Collegiate Church, Neuchâtel, and professor at the Basle Music Academy. He now continues a busy worldwide carreer as a concert organist, giving masterclasses, advice for restoration and building of organs and as a member of international competition juries. His catalogue of compositions counts over 260 opus numbers, an important part of which for theater and film, and he has recorded over 50 CD’s and LP’s. He has conducted research on historical organs in Latin America and in the Philippines.
Several of his former students are now on the international scene. He is honorary doctor of the universities of Neuchâtel and Warsaw and was awarded prizes and distinctions all over the world.