Handel: Julius Caesar Arias And Duets & Telemann: Horn Concerto
Saturday 23rd June, 8pm, St Mary's Church
Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Julius Caesar in Egypt) was composed for the Royal Academy of Music in 1724. It was a huge success, being revived by Handel several times during his lifetime, and is now one of the best-known Baroque operas in existence.
Loosely following the events of the Roman Civil War of 49-45 BC, the opera charts the development of the love affair between Caesar and Cleopatra; the power struggles between the Queen and her brother Ptolemy; and the fate of Cornelia, the widow of Pompeii- Julius Caesar’s rival and main defender of the Republic.
Giulio Cesare contains some of Handel’s most famous and exquisite music, including the famous hunting aria with horn obligato, Va tacito nascosto.
Our talented young soloists are joined by the Choir of St Mary’s in the opening and closing choruses.
Jonathan Farey not only plays the obligato horn but also appears as soloist in Telemann’s Horn Concerto.
The highly prolific Georg Philipp Telemann composed only this one work for horn among his many concertos for one or more instruments and orchestra.
The dates given for its composition are from the period when he was working either as court composer for Eisenach (beginning around 1708) or as city music director in Frankfurt-am-Main, after 1712. The lack of hard information about its composition means that there also are no clues as to which horn player Telemann had in mind when he wrote the concerto, but it can be inferred from the difficult writing that the performer was an advanced master of the instrument.
The writing in the opening movement suggests the instrument’s origin as a means of giving signals during the hunt or on the arrival of post-carriages. Although the main theme is full of figurations with that suggestion, it is a fluent and melodic work, well advanced in musical imagination over simple horn calls. The second movement uses the horn in a slow, song-form piece with qualities of vocal music of the time, not excluding decorative touches in the melody. The finale is a minuet in the slowish regal tempo that was still standard for that courtly dance at the time.