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Handel: Suites for Keyboard
Daria van den Bercken (piano)
Multiple award-winning Dutch pianist, Daria van den Bercken, displays her exceptional talent and passion for Handel’s keyboard music with her debut album on Sony Classical.
Her project, ‘Handel at the Piano’ is aimed at familiarising a worldwide audience with the keyboard works of George Frideric Handel. Daria recently addressed the TEDx Conference in Amsterdam on the subject of first reactions to music, particularly Handel, where she argued that creating opportunities is part of the musician’s work.
Daria is known for her innovative and unusual performance spaces, which include impromptu concerts in her home, performing in South America suspended from a crane above the audience, and being towed through the cobbled streets of Amsterdam while seated at a piano.
She has appeared as a guest on ‘Pauw & Witteman’, a Dutch late-night talkshow, to perform and discuss ‘Handel at the Piano’ to a 1.3 million viewers.
Daria has performed with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Christoph Poppet, JoAnn Falletta, Ivan Meylemans and Shi-Yeon Shung and has studied with Murray Perahia and Leon Fleisher among many notable pianists.
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The Secret Handel: Works for Clavichord
Keyboard Suite, HWV 428 in D minor
Version by Gottlieb Muffat
Chaconne in G major, HWV 430/Anh.
Fugue in C minor, HWV610
Suite for Two Keyboards in C minor, HWV 446
Minuet in A, HWV545
Minuet in A, HWV547
Minuet in A, HWV546
Water Music: Air
Suite from F major: Hornpipe from Water Music
Suite from F major: Bourrée from Water Music
Air in B-flat major, HWV469
Harpsichord Concerto in G major, HWV 487: Allegro
Air in G minor, HWV467
Harpsichord Concerto in G major, HWV 487: Andante
Allemande in B minor, HWV479
Courante in B minor, HWV489
Jesu meine Freude, HWV480
Keyboard Suite, HWV 435 (Chaconne) in G major
Suite in B minor: Sarabande & Gigue
The second in the Secret series of clavichord recitals by Christopher Hogwood is devoted to Georg Frederic Handel who began his musical life as a young boy by spiriting a clavichord up to his room unbeknownst to his father who pooh-poohed music as a career! This 2-CD set in a slimline case again uses three contemporary instruments and Hogwood in a wonderful performance reveals the secret musical world which Handel created.
“Performing on three distinguished 18th-century German clavichords, all magnificently recorded, Hogwood is throughout an eloquent advocate…” BBC Music Magazine, April 2006 ****
“Alas, 'The Secret Handel' does not unveil any salacious facts about the composer's sexual orientation or hitherto unsuspected illegitimate offspring.
However, Christopher Hogwood's illuminating booklet essay hints that the inclusion of a few short pieces by the Hallé organist Zachow and an aria and 24 variations by Krieger illustrate the kind of music that the young Handel might have copied in his long-lost manuscript keyboard book.
Also, Hogwood's use of clavichord reflects the famous story that the boy Handel, forbidden to learn music by his disapproving father, smuggled a clavichord into his attic in order to practice secretly during the night.
On the first disc, which includes a version of Handel's third keyboard suite ornamented by Gottlieb Muffat, Hogwood plays an instrument built by the Hamburg keyboard builder Johann Albrecht Hass in 1761. Its plangent yet warm textures produce a fascinating sound, utterly different from the familiar hard brilliance of harpsichords.
A fastidiously stylish performance of Aria and Variations in G ('The Harmonious Blacksmith') is a fine advocacy for the clavichord's virtues.
On disc two, Hogwood plays two other keyboards, including a magical-sounding Gräbner instrument (Dresden, 1761) that is similar to a small Italian clavichord now in Maidstone Museum that reputedly belonged to Handel. A few movements from the Water Music show how Handel's music might have been conceived before the compositional skeleton was garbed in orchestral flesh. Hogwood's thoughtfully prepared programme and articulate playing is a laudable fusion of scholarly detail and artistic insight.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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