'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Track 5: 'Arrival of the Queen of Sheba' - Handel and Cecilia Bartoli's 'Maria'

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) began composing at the age of 9 having already shown considerable musical talent on the harpsichord and pipe organ.

He had a turbulent relationship with his father who insisted he studied law in 1702. However, after his father's death, Handel abandoned law for music.

He lived for some time in London, at 25 Brook Street, which is currently the 'Handel House Museum'.
I know that this is well worth a visit, as Robin went a few years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed a personal tour by a very knowledgeable guide. He came home inspired by his visit and full of numerous anecdotes. He was doubly delighted to find that Jimi Hendrix had lived in the house next door!

Handel was a composer that was, and is, held in high esteem by fellow composers.
In 1824 Beethoven is quoted as saying:

"Handel is the greatest composer who ever lived. I would bare my head and kneel at his grave."


"Handel is the only person I would wish to see before I die, and the only person I would wish to be, were I not Bach."


"Handel understands effect better than any of us. When he chooses, he strikes like a thunder bolt."

Really you can let the music speak for itself.

Robin originally recorded his own arrangement of 'Arrival of the Queen of Sheba' with Peter Wiltschinsky on their album, 'Virtuoso Music for Two Guitars' on the Hyperion label.
I was interested to find that details of this album are held in the 'International Guitar Research Archive', in the Oviatt Library on the campus of California State University.

Today's version of the 'Arrival of the Queen of Sheba', which comes from the oratario, 'Solomon', is a solo guitar and orchestra arrangement. The piece is eminently suited to performance on the guitar with its rapid scales and arpeggios, the original dialogue between two oboes being replaced by guitar and recorder.

When you have finished downloading this piece, I strongly recommend you go over to iTunes and download Cecilia Bartoli's new album, 'Maria'.
It's fantastic, and you can read all about Cecilia's passion for the Spanish mezzo-soprano, Maria Malibran, here, in an article by Rupert Christiansen.

No comments: