CHANDOS ANTHEMS de Georg Friedrich HAENDEL
It was in 1717, during his stay in London, that Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759) was hired by James Brydges, the wealthy Duke of Chandos, who gathered around him a real court including an orchestra and a vocal ensemble. During the two short years of Händel’s stay, he composed two dramatic works (« Acis and Galatea » and Esther») as well as a « Te Deum » and eleven anthems (or hymns) which are known as the «Chandos Anthems».
These magnificent works manifest a sublime force and dignity that perfectly reflect the confident and hedonistic spirit of the time, as well as the splendor and nobleness that reigned around the Duke of Chandos. They remain relatively forgotten however, and for unknown reasons are absent from concert programs. Genève Baroque is pleased to propose the integral Chandos Anthems in a series of four concerts, starting with anthems number 2, 3 and 4.
Anthem II. «In the Lord put I my trust», HWV 247
A compilation of psalm verses 9, 11, 12 and 13, carefully chosen to express confidence in God. Four choral movements alternate with three tenor and soloist interventions. The choirs, vigorous and magnificent, have an imposing counterpoint style, which expresses the psalmists’ confidence.
Excerpts from the concert recording made by Genève baroque October 4, 2015 at the Temple of St-Gervais in Geneva.
Anthem III. « Have mercy upon me », HWV 248
Based on verses of psalm 51; better known as «Miserere». An atmosphere of penitence and introspection dominates a good part of this hymn, even more marked in the soprano and tenor solos. But a ray of hope ends up penetrating the second choir («Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness»), built on a strong melismatic pattern, which is treated in the most extraverted haendalien style. The intimacy returns in the soprano’s air, which is sung in a lower register along with the oboe, in an atmosphere of prayer and imploration. In the final choir, a powerful and optimistic double fugue evokes the conversion of the sinners.
The last three movements of this anthem are sung by Genève Baroque and can be heard here.
Anthem IV. « O sing unto the Lord a new song », HWV 249
Anthem # 4 is a musical triumph of verses taken from Psalms 96 and 93; a brilliant praise to the divine glory.
Genève Baroque is delighted to share this marvelous music; little known, but how very noble, elegant and moving.