The concepts of intellectual property, of copyright and of authorship with which we are presently acquainted were at avery embryonic stage in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century; or, rather, if one prefers not to consider history in the light of the progressive myth, they were markedly different at that time. And there are probably few composers of classical music who embody this difficulty in a clearer fashion than George Friedric Handel: he did not hesitate to repeatedly borrow from his own works and also from those of his contemporaries, at times intervening creatively and realizing absolutely masterful adaptations, at times simply absorbing fragments of earlier works into new pieces. In turn, what goes around comes around; and the problem so f attribution surrounding Handel’s works are among the most debated, discussed and complex in the history of classical music. To further complicate the situation, we must take into account the unscrupulous attitude of editors and publishers, who frequently were motivated by matters quite unrelated to philology, both at Handel’s time and later; this is, of course, bot an evidence and a consequence of the extreme and well-deserved popularity of this composer and of his music. With a daring comparison, we may say that Handel’s music underwent a process not entirely unlike that of the “covers” of successful pop music songs, which are endlessly reworked, represented and recreated, thus proving their role as stimuli of artistic creativity and the influence they exert on the contemporaneous culture. Ironically enough, these problems are perfectly embodied by the so-called “opus 1”, thus symbolically putting the very first number of Handel’s officially published catalogue under the shadow of doubt und under the spotlight of musicological debates. The reception history of this collection of Sonatas has in fact been marked by a long series of circumstances, and has been the object of countless studies aiming at establishing whether the paternity of certain Sonatas can be ascribed to Handel at all, and, on other occasions, whether the form in which they have been published corresponds to Handel’s original idea or not. As concerns the first issue, one might wonder whether the Sonatas lack “originality” of style and personality, which would allow an undebatable identification. However, the very concept of “originality” as a landmark of creativity is relatively recent; and, at Handel’s time, the criterion of “imitation” was in fact much more appreciated than originality for its own sake. As a young man, Handel was extremely interested in the great music of his time, and also in what was fashionable among his contemporaries; thus, many of his youthful works purposefully reveal a deliberate imitation of the most famous models, such as those found in the Italian school of instrumental music. As concerns the second issue, it may be the case that Handel did in fact write a Sonata with a compositional structure similar to that which has been preserved, but – for example – with another solo melodic instrument, or in another key, or with one or more movements which differ from those known nowadays. In these cases, the conflicting views on attribution are even more pronounced and the scholarly debate is even more complex. The traditional narrative was that Handel’s “original” op. 1 had been published in 1722 by Roger in Amsterdam and later by John Walsh in London, in a version “more correct than the former edition”. The two publications did not contain the same set of Sonatas, though most pieces were found in both. In the 1970s, however, research conducted by Terence Best, David Lasocki and others revealed that the “Roger” edition was not by Roger, and had not been authorized by Handel: in fact, the “Roger” edition had probably been published by that same Walsh who would later issue the “more correct” edition. Thus, the authenticity of the individual works began to be discussed, through stylistic and philological considerations. Of this all, however, Friedrich Chrysander could not be aware in the late nineteenth century. This German musicologist deserves the utmost admiration for having been among the initiators of musicology as an academic discipline, in fact establishing the first philological criteria to which we owe the present discoveries (including the undermining of his own work!). Chrysander realized a masterful critical edition of Handel’s works, shaped in a fashion similar to the equally pioneering work of the Bach-Gesellschaft in the case of Bach’s oeuvre. However, given the insufficient information at his disposal, he could not be aware of the complicated and somewhat adventurous publication history of Handel’s “op. 1”, and thus he conflated the two published versions (the “Roger” and the “more correct” Walsh), creating a fictional collection which did not mirror any of the existing sources, let alone Handel’s unfathomable “composer’s intentions”. One could be tempted, therefore, to simply discard volume 27 of the Handel-Gesellschaft-Ausgabe thus created by Chrysander as an outdated and unreliable collection. However, the matter may be seen from a plurality of viewpoints. First of all, to raise doubts about the authenticity of a piece is not automatically to deny it; and particularly when the music is as fine as that of the Sonatas recorded here, it is perfectly legitimate to privilege artistic considerations over still-disputed philological matters.
Secondly, Chrysander’s edition was, is and remains a milestone of historical musicology and also of the reception history of Handel’s works. While the musical community should and does welcome recordings based on the most recent musicological studies, the possibility of preserving in performance (i.e. in the particular “authenticity” of living music) the undeniable roots of today’s “historically informed practice” and critical editing is an equally worthy undertaking, which stands scrutiny from both the academic and the artistic/creative viewpoint.
Album Notes by Chiara Bertoglio
The seven Sonatas for violin and continuo by G. F. Handel (1685-1759), collected in this album, belong in a series of twelve “Sonates pour traversière, un violin ou hautbois con basso continuo” (sic), which is listed as op. 1 and was first published in 1722, allegedly by Roger in Amsterdam; this publication was followed by other versions, culminating in a collection issued by Walsh in London, bearing the title of “Solos for a german flute or oboy or violin with a thorough bass for the harpsicord, op. 1” (sic). These seven Sonatas may be considered as relatively youthful works; they are traditionally performed on the violin but, as was customary at the time, it is possible to perform them also with other expressive instruments, provided that the range and key are compatible. The formal scheme is the traditional one of the Church Sonatas in four movements, with the typical alternation of slow/fast/slow/fast.
Handel puts into practice the knowledge he had acquired as regards the European musical styles of his time. The first movements, which always proceed with a slow pace, possess the noble gait typical for the German school, but also influences from the style of Corelli, whom Handel had known in Rome. Some Allegros are certainly influenced by the new Italian style; this is the case with the second movement of op. 1 no. 14, where an incisive and jerky phrase by the violin is imitated by the line of the bass. Again consistently with the adopted form, in some cases the slow movement is reduced to a short cadenza which introduces the following Allegro (second movement of op. 1 no. 3, third movement of op. 1 no. 12 and op. 1 no. 6); or else, in the case of the third movement (Larghetto) of op. 1 no. 13, it allows the soloist to ornament the melodic line as if it were an improvisation. Even though they are not explicitly indicated as such as a movement’s beginning, references to dance forms are not missing, as happens for example in the last movements of op. 1 no. 12 and of op. 1 no. 6, with a typical tempo of Gigue, which is brilliant and enthralling in the former case, and almost a perpetuum mobile in the latter. Handel’s compositional mastery is evident also in the impeccable concept of the bass line, which allows the harpsichordist to realize the harmonies in an always adequate fashion, both as regards thee enhancement of the refined harmonic ideas, and in order to exalt and highlight the rhythmical beats which support the melodic phrases. The timbral blend of the violin, harpsichord and cello allows the performers to bring out the beauty and timeless freshness of these Sonatas, which are authentic reference points in the repertoire of that time.
Album Notes by Piero Barbareschi
Liliana Kehayova. Bulgarian cellist, a forth generation musician, Kehayova is currently a Cello Professor at New Bulgarian University and since 2014 the general secretary on International Music Acamdemy Orpheus in Vienna. Graduated from the National School of Music "Lyubomir Pipkov" (Sofia) in 2008 in the cello class of Anna Atanasova and 2018 received her Master degree in cello performance in the Vienna Conservatory studying with Lilia Schulz-Bayrova. As a passionate solo and chamber music performer, Ms. Kehayova has participated in numerous music festivals and recitals throughout Europe such as "International Sommer Academy Prag-Wien-Budapest" ISA, and "International Music Academy Orpheus" in Vienna, where Lilyana is a regular participant with full scholarship since 2010. Ms. Kehayova performed as a soloist with orchestras as Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, Mitteleuropa Orchestra Udine, North Checz Philharmonic Teplice, Varna Philhamonic Orchestra, “New Symphony Orchestra”, Sinfonietta Vratza, “Camerata Orphica”, Chamber Orchestra “Orpheus”(Bulgaria) etc. Liliana has had the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with cellist such as Anton Niculescu, Dominique De Williencourt, Joseph Luitz, Vladimir Perlin, Martina Shucan, Wolfgang Panhofer, etc. She has performed in venues such as Musikverein (Vienna), Athenaeum (Bucharest), Rudolfinum- Dvorak Hall and Smetana Hall (Prague), Palau de la Musica Catalana (Barcelona), Bulgaria Hall (Sofia). Ms. Kehayova has won numerous solo and chamber music competitions throughout Europe. During her studies in Bulgaria, Lilyana was awarded by the Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria for her great achievements in the field of arts. In addition, in 2007, she was one of a few chosen to represent her native Bulgaria on several concerts throughout Europe celebrating the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union. is a recipient of scholarships of "Thomastik - Infeld Vienna" (2010) and "Bank Austria" (2012). In 2012, she was honored with the grand scholarship of the Austrian foundation "Alban Berg".
Mario Hossen. Hossen received his musical education in Sofia, Vienna and Paris. He made his debut as a soloist with an orchestra at the age of eight. His teachers included great pedagogues such as Michael Frischenschlager and Gérard Poulet. Mario Hossen is the artistic director of the Camerata Orphica and founder of the International Music Academy Orpheus in Vienna. Hailed for his incredible virtuosity and charismatic stage presence, Hossen plays a repertoire that ranges all the way from Renaissance to Classic music to contemporary works and Jazz. As a concert soloist of international acclaim, Mario Hossen has performed with renowned orchestras such as the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, the Orchestra della Scala di Milano, the Royal Philharmonic, the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Sofia Philharmonic and the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie. Hossen has performed with outstanding musicians like Bruno Canino, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Philippe Bernold, Nayden Todorov, Borislav Ivanov, Leslie Howard, Adrian Oetiker, Gérard Causse, Roy Goodman, Vladimir Mendelssohn, Boris Mersson, Leon Bosch, Dominique de Williencourt, Georges Pludermacher and Jean-Bernard Pommier - among others. Several contemporary composers have dedicated works to him and he has commissioned works to Tomas Marco, Rainer Bischof, Walter Baer, Gheorghi Arnaoudov, Francois-Oierre Descamps and Alessandro Solbiati. Hossen’s musicological and artistic endeavors are focused among other things on source research on Niccolo Paganini. The complete oeuvre of Paganini for solo violin and for violin and orchestra will be released as a historical-critical edition by Doblinger Music Publisher Vienna.
Piero Barbareschi. Born in La Spezia, Barbareschi studied piano with Martha Del Vecchio and harpsichord with Anna Maria Pernafelli, having a diploma from the “Cherubini” conservatory in Firenze with the highest votes. Interested to different forms of expression and artistic collaboration, both with piano and harpsichord, he performs as a soloist but also in different chamber orchestras. He worked with prestigious soloists such as the violin players Felix Ayo, Cristiano Rossi, Franco Mezzena, Thomas Christian, Thomas Schrott, the flautists Mario Ancillotti and Mario Carbotta, the mezzo soprano Susanne Kelling, in the most important italian and foreign countries (France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and USA), as guest of important institutions and Festivals. His repertory goes from the '600 to the authors of the '900 and contemporaries, including first absolute performances. Founder member with Marcello Defant of the barocco ensemble “Officina de li Affetti”, he worked with a great number of orchestras such as Sammartini Orchestra of Milan, the Filarmonici of Torin, the chamber orchestra of Fiesole, the Virtuosi of Pargue. Salzburg Chamber Soloists, Orchester Konservatorium Bern, Jugendsinfonieorchester of Potsdam, the Filarmonici of Verona, Vox Aurae, International Orchestra of Italy, italian interpreters etc. with different directors: Rudolf Barshai, Giuseppe Garbarino, Lonnie Klein, Federico Maria Sardelli, Diego Fasolis. Member of the board for the ECYO selections, he also made recordings for the RAITV and for companies such as Brilliant Classics, Nuova Era, Dynamic and Musikstrasse, publishing, for this last company, a double CD with the six Quintetti op. 56 of Luigi Boccherini, together with Quartetto Elisa ( first recording in Italy). He also made for the Tactus the first modern recording of two concerts for piano and strings orchestra of Simon Mayr. Registered to the list of journalists as a publicist, he works for the musical divulgation with guided audiences, conferences, articles and is a member of the editorial staff of www.gothicnetwork.org, italian artistic review portal.
George Frideric Handel (b Halle, 23 Feb 1685; d London, 14 April 1759). English composer of German birth. Though consistently acknowledged as one of the greatest composers of his age, his reputation from his death to the early 20th century rested largely on the knowledge of a small number of orchestral works and oratorios, Messiah in particular. In fact, he contributed to every musical genre current in his time, both vocal and instrumental. The composition of operas, mainly on Italian librettos, dominated the earlier part of his career, and are the finest (though not the most typical) of their kind. In his later years his commitment to large-scale vocal works, usually with a strong dramatic element, found a more individual outlet in English oratorio, a genre that he invented and established.