A farewell to Mr Handel’s organ

The Handel Friends
“A farewell to Mr Handel’s organ
A recital on the Handel chamber organ
before its move to The Handel House Museum
Andrew Benson-Wilson
St George’s, Hanover Square, Tuesday 25 April 2023, 7pm

The Handel chamber organ was made in 1998 by Goetze & Gwynn for the Handel House Trust. They opened the Handel House Museum in 2001 in Handel’s own house at 25 Brook Street, his home for the last 36 years of his life. As the Handel organ was too large for the limited space available at the time, it has lived in St George’s Hanover Square, Handel’s nearby parish church. As part of the Hallelujah Project, which will enlarge the space of the museum and add the flat next door where Jimi Hendrix lived in the 1960s, the chamber organ is being moved into Handel House in May. The organ is based on the chamber organs of Richard Bridge and Thomas Parker, who built the organ which belonged to Charles Jennens, the librettist of Messiah, which still exists close to its original condition.

Andrew’s all-Handel concert, given for The Handel Friends, will explore the music that Handel composed for, or might have played on, a chamber organ like this, whether for his organ concertos during oratorio performances or in the many publications of keyboard music aimed at amateur musicians of the day. Following the interval refreshments, Andrew will move to the large 2012 Richards Fowkes & Co organ to demonstrate how his music might have been played by English Parish church organists of the day – and, perhaps, by Handel himself as a young organist in Germany.

The programme will include the rarely heard Organ Concerto VI (HWV 300) from the little-known “Second Set” of organ concertos published in 1740 and the Organ Concerto in Alexander’s Feast (HWV289, Opus 4/1) as well as the delightful Voluntary on a Flight of Angels, composed for a musical clock and an extract from the Water Music from a keyboard edition of 1743. All the music will be played from 18th-century publications, usually by Walsh.

Admission, including interval refreshments, is £12 on the door
£10 for members of The Handel Friends.

The detailed programme note can be read here.