George Frederick Handel

Concerto Grosso in G major, Op.3/3, HWV 314

    Description by Rovi Staff

    The concerto grosso was one of two forms of concerto developed during the latter part of the seventeenth century. Credit for its invention is usually given to the immensely influential set of 12 works published by Arcangelo Corelli as his Opus 6 in 1712, but composed some years earlier. While the solo concerto, which evolved at much the same time, rapidly gained precedence in Italy, the concerto grosso soon became established as the favored form in England. There its combination of three (or four) fairly demanding solo parts (the concertino) with easier parts for the body of strings (the ripieno) made it an ideal vehicle for the rapid spread of professional and amateur music making that burgeoned during the eighteenth century.

    Handel's contribution to this repertoire consists of two sets, one of six concertos (HWV 312-317), published in London by John Walsh in 1734 as Opus 3, the other consisting of 12 concertos (HWV 319-330), and also issued by John Walsh as Opus 6 in 1740. In addition, there is a further Concerto Grosso in C, composed by Handel to preface the second part of his Cecilian choral work, Alexander's Feast (HWV 318). All these works are scored for the standard concerto grosso forces of two solo violins and solo cello, with ripieno parts for the normal orchestral string disposition of two violins, violas, and bass continuo. The concertos of Op. 3 and HWV 318 also have parts for pairs of oboes and bassoons, while five of the concertos of Op. 6 (Nos. 1, 2, 5 and 6) also include oboe parts, although the printed parts were considered complete without them. The Opus 3 set appears to have been issued by Walsh with only the tacit authorization of Handel, who appears to have played little or no part in assembling the concertos from previously composed material. With these works, which vary from two to five movements, the publisher was no doubt looking to extend the success he had enjoyed with the issue of similar works by Corelli and Francesco Geminiani. The Opus 6 concertos are a very different matter, at once Handel's most grandly conceived set of orchestral works, and unquestionably the finest of all sets of concerti grossi. All 12 were composed within the astonishingly short period of a month between September and October 1739 and issued by Walsh, who had just signed a new copyright privilege with Handel, as "Twelve Grand Concertos" on April 21, 1740. Handel's purpose in composing the concertos was to serve as interval music during his choral concert season of the winter of 1739 - 1740, a function previously also served by the organ concertos of Opp. 4 and 7, which the composer had himself played with enormous success between the acts of his oratorio performances. As with Opus 3, the number of movements varies, although most consist of five or six, opening with an imposing slowish section succeeded by an alternation of quick or moderate tempo sections.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Largo e staccato - Allegro
    2. Adagio
    3. Allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2015 Brilliant Classics 95050BR
    2013 Erato
    2012 Sony Classical 88697963342
    2012 CPO 7774882
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94214
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099909490123
    2011 Aliud ACDHJ 0392
    2011 Haenssler / Hänssler / Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler CD 94601
    2010 Apex 2564681623
    2010 Decca
    2010 Decca
    2009 Warner Classics / Wcj 2564 69551-7
    2009 Decca 4781190
    2009 Virgin Classics 699472
    2008 Vendee 605004
    2008 Teldec 256469765
    2008 Maestro Music 4697201
    2007 Brilliant 93179
    2007 Harmonia Mundi 907415
    2007 Harmonia Mundi 807415
    2007 Erato 4698385
    2007 Decca 4758359
    2006 Callisto Records 102
    2006 Avie 2065
    2006 Arte Nova 304980
    2005 Challenge Records CC 72140
    2004 Brilliant 92390
    2004 Delta Distribution 16377
    2003 Delta Distribution 40100
    2003 Delta Distribution 40036
    2003 ASV 6024
    2003 Brilliant 99986
    2003 Arte Nova 30498
    2003 Laserlight / Delta Distribution 40043
    2002 Multimedia Classic 7036
    2001 Hyperion 55075
    2001 Naxos 8 553457
    2000 Philips 426082
    2000 Angel Records 61656
    1999 Philips 442263
    1999 London 458 333-2LC8
    1999 DG Archiv 463094
    1998 Seraphim UK 569540-2
    1998 Teldec 3984 24243-2
    1998 6w 11546
    1997 Philips 454363
    1997 Point Classics 2688382
    1997 Naxos 8 556665
    1997 EMI Music Distribution CD-CFP6022
    1995 Art of Classics 885904
    1994 Virgin 561162-2
    1994 Naxos 550157
    1994 Elektra 95500
    1993 Erato 45981
    1993 Hyperion 66633
    1992 Erato 45831
    1991 CBS Masterworks 45824
    1990 Laserlight 15860
    1990 Laserlight 35880
    1990 Laserlight 15658
    1987 DG Archiv 423149
    Meridian Records 84106
    Sony Music Distribution 23975
    Sony Classical 52553
    Brilliant 93179/17
    Brilliant 92390/27
    EMI Music Distribution 89475
    Teldec
    Multimedia Classics 10020
    Teldec 242599
    DG Archiv 413727
    Meridian Records 84303
    Teldec
    Naxos 551115