Improvisations & Allegro on a Theme by Handel
for String Orchestra
duration: c. 7 minutes
First performed by Welsh Sinfonia conducted by Mark Eager on 6 October 2016 at Aberystwyth Arts Centre
These two movements, inspired by the works of G. F. Handel, were composed in summer 2015.
‘Improvisations’ is based on two bars from the first movement of Handel’s Sonata in G minor, HWV 356a. Transposed through a cycle of fifths, the musical phrase is developed in miniature concertante form: soli viola and cello alternating with full strings.
The ‘Allegro’ section, derived from Handel’s Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord (1705), is in binary form: two related sections both repeated. With a slight nod to the 18th century affinity with the land of Egypt, the music gains extra energy with a vigorous, driving 13/8 rhythm of Middle Eastern origin.