George Frideric Handel
Concerto in B-Flat Major
Op. 4,  No. 6

Transcribed for Organ Solo by
Ennis Fruhauf


        George Frideric Handel’s Concerto in B-flat Major (Opus 4, Number 6) exists in two versions, one for organ and another for harp. His organ concerti evolved as entr’actes to be performed during the intermissions of his oratorios and staged works, and they were intended for the secular entertainment and diversion of the audiences in these intervals.

        The pipe organ of Handel’s practice and acquaintance in the first half of 18th Century London would typically have been a one-manual keyboard instrument of limited tonal resources, range, and scope. Thus, the interplay with the modest chamber orchestra of the era becomes one of the vital elements of the success and appeal of his concerti. The delicate textural dialogues between the soloist and ensemble are equivalent to the relationship between the concertino and ripieno of his concerti grossi.

        Handel’s Opus 4, Number 6 is an exemplar of the composer’s transparently charming compositional skills. In the present edition, extensive ornamentation has been added to the second movement to enhance the contrast between the alternating solo and accompanied passages. In both the first and second movements, a pedal part is present to underlie the ripieno sections. In the third movement, the use of a manual 16' pitch is recommended to accentuate the contrast between the two performing bodies; by doing so, it is possible to assign to the pedal line a brief but effective addition to the harmonizing contrapuntal textures in the second half of the movement. The use of varied contrasting touches is suggested to achieve the effects of alternating dynamics and echoes.

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