Performance Wednesday, November 19, 2014 | 7:30 PM

London Handel Players

Handel at Home

Weill Recital Hall
Handel’s chamber music is featured alongside delightful arrangements for flute and strings of favorite passages from his stage works. Handel’s publisher recognized a demand for play-at-home instrumental versions of hit tunes from the composer’s operas and oratorios, so he arranged some of the most popular music. These arrangements, as well as versions by London Handel Players’ flutist Rachel Brown, anchor this spirited look at 18th-century music making.

Part of Salon Encores.


  • London Handel Players
    ·· Rachel Brown, Flute
    ·· Adrian Butterfield, Violin
    ·· Laurence Cummings, Harpsichord


  • HANDEL Trio Sonata in A Major, HWV 396
  • HANDEL Violin Sonata in D Major, HWV 371
  • HANDEL Opera Arias (arr. John Walsh)
    ·· "O sleep, why dost thou leave me?" from Semele
    ·· "No, no! I'll take no less" from Semele
    ·· "Tornami a vagheggiar" from Alcina
  • HANDEL Flute Sonata in B Minor, HWV 367b
  • HANDEL Harpsichord Suite in E Major, HWV 430
  • HANDEL Trio Sonata in F Major, HWV 389

  • Encore:
  • HANDEL "Verdi prati" from Alcina

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Rachel Brown

    Best known for her moving and virtuosic performances on a wide range of flutes and recorders, Rachel Brown is an acknowledged authority on historical performance practice, an inspirational teacher, and an entertaining and illuminating speaker.

    Ms. Brown's recital recordings of French Baroque music and the flute sonatas of Johann Joachim Quantz established her reputation, and her recording of virtuosic works by Franz Schubert and Theobald Boehm on simple-system, ring-keyed, and alto flutes has been described as a revelation. Ms. Brown has recorded extensively as a soloist and has toured in Europe, Japan, and North America with a comprehensive concerto repertoire, including music by Bach, Vivaldi, Telemann, and Mozart. She has given many performances of the newly discovered Handel Flute Concerto, and her championing of the works of the Berlin School has reawakened interest in largely unknown masterpieces by Quantz. Her dazzling recordings of the concertos by Quantz and C. P. E. Bach have won international acclaim.

    A dedicated teacher, Ms. Brown has given master classes in the US, Canada, Sweden, Poland, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and New Zealand. She is currently professor of Baroque flute at the Royal College of Music and is the author of the Cambridge University Press handbook to the early flute.

    Ms. Brown has launched her own recording label and publishing house, Uppernote, with a tour-de-force recording of the complete Telemann fantasias and a new facsimile edition of Quantz sonatas. She is currently working on a Baroque flute practice book, and her recording of Bach flute sonatas and arias with Laurence Cummings and the London Handel Players is soon to be released.

    Adrian Butterfield

    Adrian Butterfield is a violinist, director, and conductor who specializes in performing music from 1600 to 1900 on period instruments. He is music director of the Tilford Bach Society and associate director of the London Handel Festival, and regularly directs the London Handel Orchestra and the London Handel Players. Mr. Butterfield also works as a guest soloist and director in Europe and North America.

    In addition to the London Handel Players, Mr. Butterfield is also a member of the Revolutionary Drawing Room, which specializes in playing Classical- and Romantic-era music on period instruments. A new recording of quartets by Haydn, Mozart, Johann Baptist Vanhal, and Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf will be released this fall, and the group will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2015. Other recent CD releases include Mozart's Clarinet Quintet with Colin Lawson on Clarinet Classics and Francesco Geminiani's Op. 1 violin sonatas on SOMM Recordings in 2012. Mr. Butterfield's world-premiere recordings of Jean-Marie Leclair's violin sonatas, books I and II, were released in 2009 and 2013 on Naxos Records.

    Mr. Butterfield works annually with the Southbank Sinfonia, is professor of Baroque violin at the Royal College of Music in London, gives master classes in Europe and North America, and teaches at the Aestas Musica International Summer School of Baroque Music and Dance in Croatia.

    Recent highlights have included conducting the London Handel Orchestra in Bach's B-Minor Mass, St. John Passion, and Magnificat at the Tilford Bach Festival; Handel's Israel in Egypt at St. George's, Hanover Square; and Handel's Oratorio per la Resurrezione di Nostro Signor Gesù Cristo at London's Wigmore Hall. He has also directed the London Mozart Players and appeared on Croatian television with the London Handel Players. Additionally, Mr. Butterfield has made appearances at the Brighton, Gregynog, Kings Lynn, and Buxton festivals.

    Plans for the 2014-2015 season include a number of projects in Canada and the Handel Festival in Halle, Germany, as well as a return to London's Wigmore Hall. Mr. Butterfield will also appear with the Croatian Baroque Ensemble in Zagreb and direct a program of works by Jean-Marie Leclair and Pietro Locatelli at the Greenwich International Early Music Festival. The Revolutionary Drawing Room's 25th anniversary celebrations will open with concerts for the Tilford Bach Society and at St. John's, Smith Square. Mr. Butterfield will also direct performances of Bach's St. Matthew Passion at the Tilford Bach Festival and at St. John's, Smith Square, next June with the London Handel Orchestra.

    Laurence Cummings

    Laurence Cummings is one of Britain's most exciting and versatile exponents of historical performance, both as a conductor and as a harpsichord player. He has been artistic director of the London Handel Festival since 1999 and artistic director of the Internationalen Händel-Festspielen Göttingen since 2012, as well as the music director for Orquestra Barroca Casa da Música in Porto, Portugal, and a trustee of Handel House London.

    Mr. Cummings has conducted productions for the English National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Göteborg Opera, Zurich Opera House, Opéra National de Lyon, Buckinghamshire's Garsington Opera, English Touring Opera, and at the Linbury Studio Theatre and Foyer at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He regularly conducts The English Concert and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and has worked with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Northern Sinfonia, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and Basel Chamber Orchestra.

    His numerous recordings include the first recording of Handel's newly discovered Gloria with Dame Emma Kirkby, and Handel arias with Angelika Kirchschlager and the Basel Chamber Orchestra for Sony BMG.

    Current engagements include conducting Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea for Opera North and Purcell's Indian Queen for English National Opera, as well as engagements with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, The English Concert, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and at Casa da Música in Porto and the London and Göttingen Handel festivals.

    London Handel Players

    Since making their debut as part of the London Handel Festival in 2000, the London Handel Players have thrilled audiences around the world with their performances and recordings. They perform regularly at Wigmore Hall in London and appear at many of the leading festivals in the UK, Europe, and North America, performing Baroque chamber music and concertos, as well as collaborating with the world's greatest singers.

    The members of the group also pursue busy solo, directing, and conducting careers, work with many of the major early-instrument ensembles in the UK and abroad; they are also professors at the conservatories in London. They bring together a wealth of recording experience, and their four Handel recordings of the Op. 2 and Op. 5 trio sonatas, the complete violin sonatas, and a collection entitled Handel at Home-all for SOMM Recordings-have been highly acclaimed. A double CD of the complete Op. 1 sonatas of Francesco Geminiani was released in December 2012. They also appear frequently on BBC Radio 3.

    In addition to touring extensively in the UK and Europe, the London Handel Players have performed across Canada and the US, making their debut at The Frick Collection in New York in 2012. Recent months have seen appearances at London's Wigmore Hall, the Christ Church Spitalfields Venue, Gregynog Hall, London Handel Festival, Tilford Bach Festival, East Cork Early Music Festival, Internationale Händel-Festspiele Göttingen, Kings Lynn Festival, Stratford Festival, Newbury Spring Festival, and Stour Music Festival. Future plans include a debut at the Handel Festival in Halle, Germany.



    More Info


"No, no! I'll take no less" from Handel's Semele
Rachel Brown, Flute | London Handel Players

At a Glance

Opera was central to Handel’s career for more than three decades, so it’s fitting that three operatic aria arrangements are the centerpiece of tonight’s program of instrumental music. The composer’s first opera, Almira, was staged in Hamburg in 1705 when the composer was just 19 years old. He took his final bow on the operatic stage in 1741 with the London production of Deidamia, a lightweight mythological love story based on the early life of Achilles. For most of the intervening years, Handel’s reputation as an opera composer was second to none.

Handel’s operatic genius lies in his deft handling of dramatic situations, his sensitive limning of characters’ emotions, and his vivid creation of atmosphere. Some of these same qualities characterize his music in other genres, including the oratorios for which he is best known in the English-speaking world and a wide array of orchestral and chamber music. In these works, as in his operas, Handel blended sacred and secular elements in a way that appealed equally to music connoisseurs and less sophisticated audiences.

The instrumental pieces selected by the London Handel Players also illustrate Handel’s practice of borrowing his own and other composers’ music. In transforming the originals, usually for the better, he was observing the guideline laid down by German critic Johann Mattheson, who asserted that “borrowing is permissible; but one must return the thing borrowed with interest, i.e., one must so construct and develop imitations that they are prettier and better than the pieces from which they are derived.”
Program Notes
This performance is part of Early Music in Weill Recital Hall.

Part of