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Sylvia Greenberg & Edgar Krapp & Wen-Sinn Yang Georg Friedrich Händel: Crudel Tiranno Amor OC 599 CD
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FormatAudio CD
Ordering NumberOC 599
Release date06.09.2006
Players/ContributorsMusicians Composer
  • Händel, Georg Friedrich

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      Crudel Tiranno Amor (Cantata con stromenti)
      Suite No. 7 in G minor HWV 432 for Harpsichord
      Fugue No. 1 HWV 605 · Fugue No. 5 HWV 609 · Excerpts from 18 Pieces for a Musical Clock
      Sylvia Greenberg, soprano · Edgar Krapp, harpsichord and organ · Wen-Sinn Yang, cello

      The Bavarian State Library was the sponsor of an event held in May 2006 during which a virtual Handel premiere took place. Sylvia Greenberg, Edgar Krapp and Wenn-Sinn Yang interpreted the cantata “Crudel Tiranno Amor” in the previously unknown arrangement for soprano, harpsichord and violoncello. Identification of the Handel manuscript in the Bavarian State Library holdings by musicologist Dr. Bertold Over was a brilliant stroke of genius, because the manuscript in question is a fair copy – something extremely rare, in contrast to the number of Handel’s extant working copies. The fact that this is the only source in which Handel wrote out the continuo part to his recitatives is also of great value to practitioners of historical performance practice. Additional works by Handel for harpsichord and organ supplemented the recital in Munich’s Allerheiligenhofkirche, presented here as a live recording.


      According to reports by his contemporaries, Handel was one of the greatest virtuosos of the organ and harpsichord. This recording unites a selection of works which form the focal point of his own works for these instruments: One of the so-called Eight Great Suites for Harpsichord (London 1720. HWV 426-433) and two of Six Grand Fugues for Organ or Harpsichord (London 1735. HWV 605-610).

      From the Eight Great Suites for Harpsichord: Suite no. 7 in G minor HWV 432

      The original edition of the Great Suites appeared in November 1720 in London as the first publication by virtue of the newly granted privilege of the English King published by the composer. In the Seventh Suite in G minor, Handel united movements from various periods of his creative work revising them significantly. He composed the second movement (Andante) and the third movement (Allegro) around 1717/18. On the other hand, all the other movements show stylistic attributes which point to Handel’s early years around 1705/06 in Hamburg. The seventh suite is opened by a solemn French Overture similar to those which Handel had used in his operas and oratorios. It is therefore not surprising that he took this overture in 1734 for his pasticcio Oreste in a new adaptation (HWV, A 11). – The four movements, which follow the overture, correspond in their character to the German suite tradition although only two of them bear the corresponding suite headings: Sarabande and Gigue. According to this, the Andante represents the Allemande while the Allegro stands for the Courante. Handel retains the key of G minor for all movements of this suite. – The concluding Passacaille is composed, against all rules, not in 3/4 but in 4/4 time and demands, apart from this, a quick instead of a quiet tempo: an example for Handel’s freedom in form. The Passacaglia shows exemplarily Handel’s technique in variations on a theme of four bars with its repeats. The 15 following variations are structured in Italian style on a constant harmonic skeleton (apart from the chromatic variations 11 and 12) and lead in constantly increasing movement to a soaring finale.

      From “Six Fugues or Voluntaries
      for the Organ or Harpsichord”
      Fugue no. 1 in G minor HWV 605
      and Fugue no. 5 in A minor HWV 609

      Handel’s Six Grand Fugues are without doubt a top work in his art of the fugue. They combine technical mastery of composition with a marked individualisation and a strong will for expression. The Six Fugues appeared in print in 1735 with John Walsh in London. It emerges from the autograph, however, that the time of their composition presumably goes back to the years 1717/1718 and also to an even earlier time.

      The first fugue in G minor was composed according to the condition of the autograph between 1711 and 1716. Handle took the core of the first fugue theme from the Toccata prima in the well-known work for organ Apparatus musico-organisticus by Georg Muffat which had been printed in Salzburg in 1690. Handel thus structured – as also in this third fugue – a double fugue in which the second, contrary theme is combined firmly, right at the beginning, with the first one. Handel developed the choir no. 20 Israel in Egypt in 1738 from this composition: He smote all the firstborn of Egypt (the Tenth Plague which God sent to the Egyptians), a stormy four-voice fugue in A minor, denoted A tempo giusto e staccato.

      The fugue no. 5 in A minor is with its highly expressive chromatic passages, its rich harmony and with the contrapuntal tension certainly the highlight of the collection. It emerged in 1717/1718. In his History of Piano Music, Max Seiffert showed already in 1899 that, in the fugue theme, a model is used which can be verified in the organ and piano music of the 17th century first of all from the Nuremberg organist and composer Johann Pachelbel (1653–1706). In the period thereafter, it appears with many other masters. We mention here, of these, just Dietrich Buxtehude, Vincent Lübeck and Johann Kuhnau. – With its extreme intervals, this theme creates strong tensions and a dark atmospheric content. At the beginning, a major seventh, an octave and a diminished seventh follow each other directly; in the third bar, chromatic progressions come to the fore. In the further course of the fugue, these elements are significantly compressed and increased in strettos and sequences. – In Israel in Egypt, Handel used the fugue for the four-voice Choir no. 15 in G minor captioned Largo assai about the First Plague which God sent to the Egyptians: They loathed to drink of the river. With this, Handel describes how the water is turned into blood.

      From the 18 pieces for a musical clock

      In the first half of the 18th century, mechanical music instruments were widely developed and spread in England. Handel composed a number of short one to two-voice pieces for such “musical clocks” between 1730 and 1740. With these mechanical music instruments, clockwork drives a drum around on which the musical pieces are recorded with pins. The pins of these drums control a glockenspiel or a small flute clock with labial pipes. Handel’s pieces for a musical clock appeared in 1988 within the framework of the Hallische Händel-Ausgabe (series IV, vol. 19). They form an entertaining, light-weight antithesis to his two demanding fugue compositions.

      ‘Crudel tiranno Amor. Cantata con stromenti.’
      Later version for soprano, harpsichord
      and violoncello HWV 97 b

      A music autograph by George Handel was recently discovered in the Bavarian State Library in 2004. The complete Italian solo cantata Crudel tiranno Amor in the version unknown up to now for soprano and harpsichord. The autograph of eleven pages is apparently the only known source in which Handel himself wrote out the basso continuo in his recitatives. The hand-writing therefore possesses high value also for the performance practice for Handel’s music.

      Music autographs from Handel belong at international manuscript auctions to the rarest of treasures. New discoveries of his autographs in libraries are also an outstanding occurrence; this applies all the more when – as in this case – it concerns the up to now unknown version of a masterwork.

      The musicologist Dr. Berthold Over was successful in making this sensational find in the music department of the Bavarian State Library. With the aid of the scientific instruments of this research library he could identify the manuscript of the Italian solo cantata Crudel tiranno Amor, anonymously handed down as a work of Handel in his own handwriting. This verification was not at all easy as it is one of the rare, difficult to recognise clean copies by the composer and not one of his numerous, characteristic working transcripts as they have been published in several facsimiles. In the Händel-Jahrbuch 2005, Berthold Over has described the whole manuscript in detail.

      The music autograph of the solo cantata Crudel tiranno Amor is to be found amongst the well over three hundred inheritances in the music department of the Bavarian State Library. It is contained in an anthology with 18 manuscripts which belongs to the inheritance of the well-known cultural historian, musical author and novelist, Wilhelm Heinrich von Riehl (1823-1897).

      The Bavarian State Library has, directly after the discovery of the Handel autograph, pursued the wish to publish a high-quality facsimile edition and the first print, and to initiate a first performance of the work in the up to now unknown version. It is indeed very pleasing that the Bärenreiter Publishing House, as the publishers of the Hallische Händel-Ausgabe, has taken over the publication of the facsimile in the four-colour print and the edition of the cantata. It is intended now already to take over the edition for the Hallische Händel-Ausgabe. The facsimile and the first print appeared at the point of time of the first performance of the cantata on 17th May 2006, published by Berthold Over and the Bavarian State Library in co-operation with the editing staff of the Hallische Händel-Ausgabe.

      Starting from the new findings about the Handel autograph, Dr. Hartmut Schaefer, the head of the music department, also made contact with a number of renowned Handel specialists. Soon after the discovery, Prof. Dr. Hans Joachim Marx and Dr. Michael Pacholke, member of the editing staff of the Hallische Händel-Ausgabe, confirmed the genuineness of the autograph and drew attention to its outstanding significance. Prof. Christopher Hogwood and Prof. Edgar Krapp examined in particular the questions which the manuscript poses for performance practice. Prof. Dr. Donald Burrows, who, in 1994, published the basic catalogue of the Handel autographs, undertook detailed comparing examinations of the autograph with regard to the Handel legacy. He has published his research results 2006 in volume 11 of the Göttinger Händel- Beiträge. The following characterisation of the Handel find can be given today as the result of all the studies mentioned above:

      In the Munich autograph, the whole cantata Crudel tiranno Amor is handed down completely as a very meticulous fair copy of the composer (mus.ms. 4468, fol. 49r – 54r). It does, however, not include an orchestra but is arranged in an up to now unknown version for solo soprano and keyboard instrument (harpsichord) which deviates in many details from the versions handed down up to now. A violoncello is added to strengthen the bass line in this recording. The cantata is put together from three single da capo arias for soprano with an anonymous Italian text, which are connected by two recitatives.

      The original version, as it is published in the Hallische Händel-Ausgabe (series V, volume 3) and is known in several recordings on CD, is written for soprano, two oboes, strings and a general bass. This version was probably performed for the first time in London on 5th July 1721 at the King’s Theatre (Haymarket) in London with Handel’s opera orchestra. On the other hand, this autograph was written significantly later, presumably in the period around 1738.

      The soloist was, in 1721, the famous singer Margherita Durastanti, and the benefit concert was held in her favour. During his stay in Dresden in 1719, Handel had engaged her for the opera company, the Royal Academy of Music, directed by him and opened in 1720. Durastanti also took part in the reproduction of Handel’s opera Floridante in London on 4th December 1722. Handel had taken over all three arias from the solo cantata Crudel tiranno Amor for this performance.

      That shows that Handel was convinced of the high quality of his cantata. This consideration is confirmed by the fact that he adapted and modified it about sixteen years later. Also the first performance of the work in its chamber music version makes it clear that any of the three arias possesses its own unmistakable, individual affection character. The text of the cantata describes an inner development: The beginning is formed by the lament to God Amor about the painful separation from the loved one; in the middle there is the anxious hope, in the third aria joyful confidence prevails.

      The recently discovered autograph has its significance, however, not alone as Handel’s autograph and due to the up to now unknown performance version, but due to three additional circumstances:

      • On the one hand, no autographic manuscript of Handel is handed down of the version known up to now of the cantata Crudel tiranno Amor with the accompaniment of two oboes, strings and basso continuo; it exists only in manuscripts which are written by foreign hand. This means that the new Munich source is as yet the only version of the work in Handel’s own hand.

      • On the other hand, the version of the Munich manuscript contains significant deviations in the melody, the rhythm and in the very rich ornamentation.

      • The third circumstance is particularly spectacular:

      In the estimation of the editing staff of the Hallische Händel-Ausgabe, the newly discovered autograph is the only known source in which Handel himself wrote out the basso continuo in his recitatives. This means that this manuscript is of high value for the knowledge of the performance practice of Handel´s music. It documents that the thorough-bass accompanied the recitatives as a full voice and very imaginatively, as is demonstrated by the leading teaching works of this period on playing the basso continuo. The autograph at the Bavarian State Library is – as already emphasised – a meticulously executed fair copy. Prof. Dr. Hans Joachim Marx assumes that Handel wrote it down in connection with a performance unknown to us for a high-ranking personality. Prof. Dr. Donald Burrows, the author of the standard work about Handel’s music autographs, has established in his examination of the anthology that Handel probably wrote his autograph as the music teacher for the princesses at the English court. That would also explain the very meticulous fair copy. We could therefore speak with some certainty in connection with a concert on 17th May 2006 of a first public performance as it can be assumed that performances during Handel’s lifetime only took place in a small internal circle.

      Handel prepared such fair copies primarily if they were to be used directly for performance purposes. On the other hand, he prepared the scores of his very big works (for example the operas or oratorios) always in a quick working style which is conspicuous through its strong forward-leaning tendency. After finishing these written scores, professional copyists then prepared a copy for performance purposes and, with the aid of this copy, the voice material was drawn up for the orchestra, choir and soloists.

      The Handel autograph is contained in an inconspicuous anthology from the period around 1800. It comprises a total of 18 manuscripts with solo cantatas and chamber duets by various composers from the first half of the 18th century. The name of the composer is stated on the first eleven manuscripts. George Frideric Handel (with the additionally included chamber duet, A mirarvi son intento HWV 178), Nicola Porpora, Agostino Steffani, Emanuele d’Astorga, Francesco Corradini, Francesco Webber and Annibale Pio Fabri (called Balino) are stated. The manuscripts 12 to 18 are, on the other hand, handed down anonymously in the anthology. The first of them, the twelfth manuscript, is Handel’s Crudel tiranno Amor.

      A further special feature has emerged, in the examination of the written find, that of the 18 manuscripts of the anthology, eight manuscripts were written by John Christopher Smith senior, Handel’s closest member of staff. It can therefore be assumed that the manuscripts originate from Handel’s closest environment.

      The anthology described belongs to the inheritance of the well-known cultural historian, musical author and novelist, Wilhelm Heinrich von Riehl (1823–1897). Riehl worked since 1854 as a professor for state economics at the University of Munich, since 1859 in the subject History of Culture. Since 1885 he had also been the director of the Bayerisches National-Museum and the General Curator of the artistic monuments and antiquities of Bavaria. Apart from this, he held lectures from 1876 to 1892 about the history of music at the Royal Music School in Munich. Riehl belongs to the founders of scientific ethnology in Germany. He was convinced of the high importance of the music for the cultural life of a people. His writings on music history were also widely spread. Apart from this, he had great influence on the historical novel and the historical novella in the 2nd half of the 19th century.

      In 1899, the Bavarian State Library acquired a total of 15 units with music manuscripts und 33 partly very valuable music prints from the 18th and 19th centuries for the stocks of its music department from the estate of Wilhelm Heinrich von Riehl. The Handel manuscripts originate from the music library of Riehl’s father and his son concerned himself closely with them in his younger years. Quite certainly, he would have counted himself to be lucky if he had seen the now identified autograph of Handel which he had in his possession. This source find of the highest ranking thus shows how important the thorough care of less known estates is. With the aid of the recording of the first performance of the cantata in Munich, the listener will certainly comprehend Handel’s appreciation and be able to gain the impression that Crudel tiranno Amor belongs to his most appealing and concise works which emerged at the height of his mastery.

      Translation: ar-pege translations

      Hartmut Schaefer
      Translation: ar-pege translations

      Next pictures:
      Georg Friedrich Händel: „Crudel tiranno Amor. Cantata con stromenti.” Autograph of the up to now unknown version for solo soprano and harpsichord HWV 97b.
      Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Mus.ms. 4468, Fol. 49r–54v.


      Sylvia Greenberg – soprano
      The singer, who was born in Bucharest and emigrated to Israel, débuted in a concert of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta. The interpretations of the big coloratura parts such as Königin der Nacht and Zerbinetta were the basis of her sharp rise at the international opera houses since her first engagement at the Opera House in Zurich. Sylvia Greenberg’s wide repertoire comprises not only coloratura parts of the 18th to 20th century; through a change in direction, she has, in recent years, prepared numerous lyrical opera roles such as Konstanze, Gilda and Donna Anna. In addition, she maintains a broad concert repertoire always in co-operation with leading conductors and composers. Sylvia Greenberg has established herself also as an interpreter in the area of the New Music and has taken part in world premieres of important contemporary stage works (Berio: Un ré in ascolto, Manzoni: Doctor Faustus). She is a professor for singing at the Hochschule “Konservatorium Wien Privatuniversität” and at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater, München.

      Edgar Krapp – harpsichord and organ
      The organist, born in Bamberg, studied with Franz Lehrndorfer in Munich and with Marie-Claire Alain in Paris. Edgar Krapp has won prizes at numerous music competitions and gained many awards starting with the Felix Mottl Organ Competition in 1970, the 1st prize at the ARD competition 1971 up to the Friedrich Baur prize in 2000. He has a broad concert repertoire: He has performed Johann Sebastian Bach’s organ work cyclically in several cities. The fact that Krapp estimates George Frideric Handel’s works particularly is documented by a complete recording of the organ concertos and the music for harpsichord. He gained international acclaim equally for his commitment to contemporary organ works e.g. in the world premieres of Harald Genzmer’s Symphonisches Konzert, Günter Bialas’ Introitus Exodus, Rafael Kubelik’s Symphonische Peripetie and Hans-Jürgen von Bose’s Symbolum, as well as for numerous radio and disc recordings. As a college teacher, Edgar Krapp worked at the Frankfurter Musikhoch-schule and at the Salzburger Mozarteum. As the successor to his own teacher, Franz Lehrndorfer, he is the professor for Catholic Church Music and Organ at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater, München, and holds the office there of prorector. He is also a member of the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste (Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts).

      Wen-Sinn Yang – violoncello
      The Swiss cellist of Taiwanese origin studied with Claude Starck and Wolfgang Boettcher; he also attended master classes with Janos Starker and David Geringas. He is one of the most accomplished cellists of the present time and has won prizes at international competitions. Already in 1989, Wen-Sinn Yang became the fist solo-cellist of the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavaria Radio and remained with the orchestra, with which he performed also as soloist under the direction of Lorin Maazel, for over 16 years. His repertoire, portrayed in many concerts on the international stage and documented by recordings, comprises not only the complete canon of “classical” cello works by Bach to Shostakovich, but also world premieres such as that of the concerto by Kevin Volans within the framework of the “Musica Viva” (1997). Since 2005, Wen-Sinn Yang is professor for violoncello at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater, München.

      Tracklist hide

      CD 1
      • GEORG FRIEDRICH HÄNDEL (1685–1759)

        • 1.Ouverture. Largo – Presto03:17
        • 2.Andante03:48
        • 3.Allegro02:11
        • 4.Sarabande03:21
        • 5.Gigue01:21
        • 6.Passacaille03:57
        • 7.Fugue No. 1 HWV 60502:55
        • 8.Fugue No. 5 HWV 60904:53
        • 9.A Voluntary or a flight of Angels, in C major, HWV 60000:57
        • 10.Sonata in C major, HWV 59800:42
        • 11.Air in C major, HWV 60100:34
        • 12.Menuet in A minor, HWV 60200:40
        • 13.Menuet in A minor, HWV 60300:46
        • 14.Air in F major, HWV 58700:51
        • 15.Air in A minor, HWV 60401:01
        • 16.Allegro in C major, HWV 47301:05
        • 17.Gigue in C major, HWV 59901:02
        Cantata con stromenti
        • 18.Aria. Allegro04:31
        • 19.Recitativo00:32
        • 20.Aria. Largo06:48
        • 21.Recitativo00:44
        • 22.Aria. Allegro03:59
      • Total:49:55