Handel: Six Concerti Grossi, Op. 3

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Handel’s Op. 3 from a Baroque band ‘down under’

Van Diemen’s Band, Martin Gester, conductor & organ soloist

‘Van Diemen’s Band strikes gold’, Gramophone Magazine, UK

‘An essential recording to see this music in a new light’, Diapason Magazine, France

What we know as ‘Handel’s Opus 3’ is most likely little more than a brazen attempt by the London publisher John Walsh to make some quick money. In 1715, Walsh had issued a pirated edition of Corelli’s 12 Concerti Grossi Opus6 which proved an instant success, and left him constantly looking for similar opportunities. Almost 20 years later, perhaps in the knowledge that the royal protection granted to Handel’s musical out put was about to expire, Walsh assembled a set of six orchestral pieces for a wide range of instruments. He prefaced them with a wholly misleading title-page–based on Corelli’s style-defining collection–and advertised themas Handel’s ‘Opera Terza’.

It is likely that Handel never took part in the selection and organisation of the individual movements, although he may have been involved in the revisions made when are print was necessary a few years later. Selected from various sources, the six concertos certainly don’t form an organic cycle – in complete contrast to the future Op.6 concerti grossi, which Handel carefully conceived as a set. The fact remains that Opus3 contains some of Handel’s best-loved music, in instrumental combinations that are colourful and often unexpected–aspects that Martin Gester and his musicians in the Tasmanian period band Van Diemen’s Band make the most of.

Van Diemen’s Band

Julia Fredersdorff, violin I principal
Lucinda Moon, violin II principal
Brendan Joyce, violin I principal ripieno
Simone Slattery, violin I / double recorder
Emily Sheppard, violin II
Susie Furphy, violin II
Jenny Owen, violin I
Deirdre Dowling, viola principal
Nicole Forsyth, viola
Catherine Jones, cello principal
Natasha Kraemer, cello
Kirsty McCahon, double bass
Simon Martyn-Ellis, theorbo
Aline Zylberajch, harpsichord
Jasu Moisio, oboe I
Ingo Mueller, oboe II
Georgia Browne, traverso / double recorder
Simone Walters, bassoon I
Brock Imison, bassoon II

Georg Friedrich Händel:

Six Concerti Grossi, Op. 3 (HWV 312–317)
No. 2 in B flat major, for 2 oboes, solo violin I & II, strings and continuo
No. 3 in G major, for flute, solo violin, strings and continuo
No. 5 in D minor, for 2 oboes, strings and continuo
No. 6 in D major, for organ, 2 oboes, strings and continuo
No. 4 in F major, for 2 oboes, strings and continuo
No. 1 in B flat major, for solo violin, 2 oboes, 2 recorders, 2 bassoons, strings and continuo