George Frederick Handel

Suite for keyboard (Suite de piece), Vol.1, No.5 in E major ("The Harmonious Blacksmith"), HWV 430

    Description by James Leonard

    If there is an archetypal Handel keyboard suite, it is the E major. Like most of the other suites, it is in four movements. And, like most of the other suites, those four movements are predominantly stylized dance movements preceded by a prelude. And, like most of the suites, it is a beautiful and beguiling work fully at the level of Bach's best keyboard suites. Unlike Handel's other suites, this work (published by the composer himself, in London, in 1720) is frequently performed. Or, more specifically, its last movement is still frequently performed: as lovely as the graceful opening prelude, the fine-boned Andantino Allemande, and the porcelain-skinned Allegro Courante, the closing Air con variazioni is what guarantees the Suite in E major immortality. Obliquely based on the English folk song "Four Days Drunk," but far better known by its title The Harmonious Blacksmith, the air and five variations is quintessential Handel: sturdy and supple, elegant and powerful, lyrical but virtuosic. It also features the only movement in Handel with the compound time signature 24/16 against common time.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Prelude
    2. Allemande
    3. Courante
    4. Air con Variazioni ("The Harmonious Blacksmith")
    5. Chaconne [supplement, 2 versions]

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2017
    Musica Ficta
    MF 8025
    2017
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    PH 16010
    2016
    Brilliant Classics
    95235BR
    2016
    Warner Classics
    557828
    2015
    Orchid Classics
    ORC 100049
    2015
    Various Artists
    Brilliant Classics
    95050BR
    2015
    Naxos
    8573397
    2014
    Harmonia Mundi
    HMU 907581
    2014
    Hyperion
    CDA 680412
    2014
    Alto
    MCSCD 1293
    2014
    Divine Art
    DDA 25122
    2012
    ECM / Universal Music Group
    2012
    Sony Classical
    88691912562
    2012
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099962174
    2011
    Various Artists
    Brilliant Classics
    94214
    2011
    Regis Records
    RRC 1332
    2011
    ECM / ECM New Series
    4764107
    2011
    SOMM
    95
    2011
    Divine Art
    dda 21219
    2010
    Warner Classics
    2010
    Air Note
    12009
    2010
    AVI (REISSUES) / Avi-Music
    8553184
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2009
    MDG
    3411537
    2009
    Delos
    3394
    2009
    Warner Classics
    2564 69550-0
    2009
    Sony Music Distribution
    68260
    2009
    Berlin Classics
    0149482BC
    2009
    Berlin Classics
    0016452
    2009
    Various Artists
    Sony Classical Essential Classics
    742563
    2008
    Various Artists
    EMI Classics
    3385212
    2008
    Brilliant Classics
    93713
    2008
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099921741
    2007
    Fleur de Son
    57966/2
    2006
    Deutsche Grammophon
    658402
    2006
    Various Artists
    Decca
    000752812
    2006
    Mirare
    010
    2006
    Various Artists
    Sony Music Distribution
    82876 85242-2
    2005
    Various Artists
    EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics
    0946370886
    2005
    Various Artists
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    0946338522
    2005
    EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics
    586540-2
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2005
    Palexa
    512
    2005
    Fleur de Son Classics
    FDS 579662
    2004
    Sony Classical
    93083
    2004
    Linn Records
    223
    2004
    Arts Music
    47698
    2003
    CPO
    999940
    2003
    The Gift of Music
    010
    2002
    The Gift of Music
    009
    2002
    Analekta
    23161
    2002
    Hyperion
    22045
    2002
    Disques Pierre Verany
    730065
    2001
    Chandos
    669
    2000
    Platinum Disc / Platinum Entertainment
    1733
    2000
    Nuova Era
    7338
    2000
    CRD Records
    3307
    1999
    Philips
    456886
    1999
    Philips
    454987
    1999
    Platinum Disc / Platinum Entertainment
    1980
    1999
    Astree
    8655
    1999
    VAI Audio
    1185
    1998
    Carlton Classics
    02272
    1997
    Sony Music Distribution
    62834
    1997
    Biddulph Recordings
    LHW009
    1997
    Sony Classical
    62785
    1997
    Helicon Records
    1007
    1997
    Grammofono 2000
    78715/16
    1996
    Decca
    448718
    1996
    EMI Classics
    569337-2
    1996
    Chandos
    598
    1996
    Harmonia Mundi
    390873
    1996
    Walsingham
    8001
    1995
    Harmonia Mundi
    190447
    1995
    Centaur Records
    2436
    1995
    Hyperion
    66931
    1994
    Naxos
    550415
    1993
    Harmonia Mundi
    390804
    1993
    Pearl
    9490
    1992
    Erato
    45452
    1990
    CBS Records
    39441
    The Piano Library
    219
    Testament
    1380
    Harmonia Mundi
    290804
    Pro-Arte Records
    911
    Thymallus
    102
    Protone Records
    1112
    Archiv Produktion
    427170
    IMP Classics
    850
    Cassiopee
    969192
    London
    417372
    Various Artists
    So Smart!
    41262
    Gar Music
    1
    Newport Classic
    60047
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4776210