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The Consort

Sarah MacDonald

Summer 2008, Vol 64

George Frideric Handel
No, di voi non vo’fidarmi (HWV189)
2 sopranos and continuo

Edition HH. HH040.FSP, Bicester, 2007
(pbk £10.95)
ISMN M 708024 16 3;
ISBN 1 904229 38 7
available from Schott & Co

This edition presents a duetto da camera in the Italian tradition, for two sopranos and continuo. The outer movements are most familiar to us from two four-part choruses in the Messiah, namely ‘For us a child is born’, and ‘All we like sheep’. Here they appear in their original manifestations, completed in July 1741, a few months before Handel began work on the celebrated oratorio. The inner movement, a short Larghetto, provides a splendid lesson in the baroque treatment of the Neapolitan and implied augmented 6th chords. The secular text employed is a short 18th-century Italian poem, railing against the due tiranni (two tyrants) of love and beauty - a sense of humour is perhaps evident in Handel’s choice of two sopranos to convey this text!

The edition is based on the composer’s autograph manuscript, preserved in the Royal Music Collection in the British Library. Detailed notes on the source, the transcription, the editorial policy, and performance practice introduce the edition, in both English and German. The package includes a full score, with an editorial realisation of the figured bass, as well as three sets of parts.

The parts consist of three identical booklets, with the bass part plus its figures (unrealised), and both soprano parts, conveniently eliminating the need for buying more than one copy (or, heaven forbid, photocopying parts for the singers). Slightly surprisingly, there is no separate bass part, so a cellist would require a page-turner (or would need to read over the shoulder of the keyboard player). This is a delightful work that well deserves this excellent, clean, and user-friendly edition.

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