Handel’s very first oratorio, composed in spring 1707, to an Italian-language libretto by Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili. Time and Disillusion are personified (thus spelled with an initial capital even in Italian). Comprising two sections, the oratorio was premiered that summer in Rome. One of its famous arias is Lascia la spina, cogli la rosa (Leave the Thorn, Take the Rose), later recast as Lascia ch’io pianga (Leave Me to Weep) in the opera Rinaldo.
Revised and expanded into three sections in March 1737, the work also had its name adjusted. Handel was by that time living in England and producing seasons of English-language oratorio and Italian opera. This version premiered on March 23, received three more performances the next month, and was revived on one date in 1739.
In March 1757, possibly without much involvement from the blind and aging Handel, the oratorio was further expanded and revised. The libretto was reworked into English, probably by the composer’s prolific last librettist, Thomas Morell, while John Christopher Smith Jr. probably assembled the score. Although Jephtha (1751) is considered the composer’s true last oratorio, this third version of Il trionfo comes later. Isabella Young sang the role of Counsel (Truth) at the premiere.
She was married to the writer Yann Queffélec, with whom she had a daughter, Leonore. She later married Xavier Fourteau, and together they had a son, Harold Fourteau. She died of cancer in Paris in 2012.
Sarah Chang (Korean: 장영주; born Young Joo Chang; December 10, 1980) is an American classical violinist. Recognized as a child prodigy, she first played as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1989. She enrolled at Juilliard School to study music, graduated in 1999, and continued university studies. Especially during the 1990s and 2000s, Chang had major roles as a soloist with many of the world’s major orchestras.
In the documentary The Secrets of the Violin, we see the seedy underbelly of the market for the world’s most treasured violins laid bare. We visit a no man’s land of wheeling and dealing, lying and betrayal, where money is always king, and rare instruments by Antonio Stradivari (1644 – 1737) and Giuseppe Guarneri “del Gesu” (1698 – 1744) sell for up to 20 million euros a piece. Watch part three of the documentary: The Stradivarius Effect.
For centuries, violins, violas and cellos have been highly sought-after commodities, valued as sophisticated musical instruments, cultural status symbols and moneymaking opportunities. Their admirers have included a colorful cast of characters: millionaires, Russian oligarchs, violin virtuosos, serious art dealers and crooks. In part one of the documentary, Daniel Hope takes a look at Dietmar Machold, one the most important dealers of Stradivarius, arrested for embezzlement and fraud in 2011. Daniel Hope investigates this thrilling true story, interviewing Machold in prison, who tells his side of things.
Star violinist Daniel Hope knows the elite violin market like no one else. He grew up around the precious violins in Yehudi Menuhin’s house, and plays now the Guarneri violin “Ex-Lipinski”, a maker whose instruments have surpass those of his teacher Stradivari to become the most expensive and coveted today. Together with Daniel Hope, we discover the world of the super-rich collectors and superstar violinists, learning about the secrets history of string-instruments.
1. Allegro ma non troppo – The first movement is cast in standard sonata form, but with plenty of inventive touches, beginning at the very outset – a novel opening of five bare soft timpani strokes that is far more than a mere introductory gesture – Stowell shows that in various guises it appears in over half of the 535 measures that follow and serves to unify the entire movement, both rhythmically and as a melodic fragment. David Johnson calls it “five blocks of granite” and “a foundation from which the whole structure arises.” Hopkins, for one, claims that this was the first use of timpani freed from their traditional role of underlining rhythm, but that really isn’t so – a 1780s Symphony for Eight Timpani and Orchestra by Johann Carl Christian Fischer and a 1790s Concerto for Six Timpani and Orchestra by Georg Druschetzky both featured sets of drums tuned to a C-major scale that were used melodically and even in lengthy cadenzas, although their inability to retune foreclosed accidentals and thus limited harmonic modulation to A-minor. (A fascinating concert video of the Druschetzky concerto with soloist Naomi Endres and the Anchorage Civic Orchestra is on YouTube.) Even so, the opening certainly remains notable both for providing a pervasive rhythm and for setting the serious but sensitive tone of all that follows. It also provides an early clue that Beethoven was not beholden to convention – although the timpani are tuned predictably to the tonic (D) and dominant (A), the strings disrupt the harmonic stability by echoing the timpani phrase on a bare and seemingly dissonant D-sharp. After an extensive orchestral section that introduces four exceptional themes rich for development, the violin enters with a bold flourish that displays its full range and then proceeds to address and embellish each of the orchestral themes. Johnson notes that all the themes seem to soar above the timpani base and that the violin, lodged in the stratosphere, comments upon them from on high, caresses them and decorates them with fantastic garlands of ornamentation. Anne-Louise Coldicott adds that much of the solo part has such a relaxed feeling that it sounds like an improvisation.
2. Larghetto – Hopkins describes the second movement as sounding like an extemporaneous creation and so utterly serene that it seems to make time itself stand still, but in fact it is a complex set of variations on a lengthy (16 bar) theme notable for its silences that are destined to be filled in by the soloist. Maynard Solomon describes the ensuing development as a lyrical exchange between agreeable conversationalists. The sense of tranquil stability is enhanced by the strings playing with mutes and a persistent lack of modulation, remaining in G major until the very end, when sharp orchestral chords rouse the dominant to lead without pause right into the rollicking finale. The notion of physically joining two or more movements was innovative. Beethoven himself would do so again in his 1808 “Pastoral” Symphony, his 1810 “Archduke” Trio and his late quartets, and paved the way for Berlioz and others to extend the practice to direct (rather than mere thematic) connections among movements.
3. Rondo: Allegro – Although the structure of the finale is a symmetrical A-B-A-C-A-B-A-Coda, commentators note that it departs from strict rondo form by incorporating the harmonic structure of a sonata movement, and enhances unity both by repeating the first “B” episode in lieu of a new independent one and by crafting the “C” episode as a variant of “B.” Lewis Lockwood considers this the finest of Beethoven’s rondos in 6/8 time as the energy of the opening and recurring “A” theme contrasts nicely with the soloist’s episodes, and especially the middle “C” section that provides a striking change of mood in g-minor without altering the pace. Caldicott notes that the coda is unusually lengthy but sustains our interest by not resolving the dominant key of A directly back into the tonic, as would be expected, but rather by launching into the remote key of A-flat, which then entails a long and complex series of modululations to reach the home key. The conclusion is sublime, as the violin’s final solo is marked pianissimo to highlight the sting of the two final swift fortissimo orchestral chords (although as Hopkins notes, in practice the effect often is undercut, as few soloists can resist a final opportunity to impress their audience with an emphatic flourish of their own).