The Handel Project – Handel: 3 Suites, Brahms: Handel Variations by Seong-Jin Cho - CD - shop now at Deutsche Grammophon store

Seong-Jin Cho The Handel Project – Handel: 3 Suites, Brahms: Handel Variations

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The spectacular South Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho steps back in time, presenting three of Handel’s exquisite suites. His album “The Handel Project” couples outstanding pieces by Handel from the early 1700s with Brahms’s virtuosic “Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel”. Handel’s keyboard suites have remained strangers to most concert pianists. Thus, Seong-Jin Cho sheds new light on some of the most heartfelt of all Baroque music: “The Handel Project” contains three of the 28-year-old pianist’s favorite suites from Handel’s first collection of “Suites de pièces pour le clavecin”. The artist was drawn to Handel’s keyboard suites after years of immersion in music from later periods. Having fallen in love with their wealth of musical ideas and wide-ranging melodic invention, Cho listened to recordings of the works on harpsichord, the instrument for which they were conceived, and refined his finger technique in order to give different tone colours and weight to Handel’s contrapuntal lines. He has avoided the sustaining pedal as much as possible, but modified some of the dynamic markings in order to exploit the potential of a modern piano. “For me, Handel’s music comes directly from the heart, so people can easily follow it.”, says Cho. He was also keen to explore the ways in which Handel influenced later composers and so chose to record Brahms’s enormously creative response to music from one of the suites as well. Brahms based his twenty-five variations on the Air from Handel’s Suite No. 3 in B flat major HWV 434, a simple theme on which Handel himself built four short variations. For Cho, this are “the best variations that have ever been written”. The album concludes with two individual movements from Handel’s second volume of Suites de pièces pour le clavecin, published in 1733: a Sarabande in B flat major (HWV 440/3), and Wilhelm Kempff’s arrangement of a Menuetto in G minor.



Suite No. 2 in F major HWV 427

from 8 Suites de Pièces pour le Clavecin, 1720

1. Adagio

2. Allegro

3. Adagio

4. Allegro [Fugue]


Suite No. 8 in F minor HWV 433

from 8 Suites de Pièces pour le Clavecin, 1720

1. Prélude

2. Allegro [Fugue]

3. Allemande

4. Courante

5. Gigue


Suite No. 5 in E major HWV 430

from 8 Suites de Pièces pour le Clavecin, 1720

1. Prélude

2. Allemande

3. Courante

4. Air – Double I–V [Air with 5 Variations “The Harmonious Blacksmith”]



Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel in B flat major op. 24

  • Aria
  • Variation I
  • Variation II. Animato
  • Variation III. Dolce
  • Variation IV. Risoluto
  • Variation V. Espressivo
  • Variation VI. Sempre legato
  • Variation VII. Con vivacità
  • Variation VIII
  • Variation IX. Poco sostenuto
  • Variation X. Energico
  • Variation XI. Dolce
  • Variation XII. Soave
  • Variation XIII. Largamente, ma non più
  • Variation XIV. Sciolto
  • Variation XV
  • Variation XVI. Piano ma marcato
  • Variation XVII. Più mosso
  • Variation XVIII. Grazioso
  • Variation XIX. Leggiero e vivace
  • Variation XX. Legato
  • Variation XXI. Dolce
  • Variation XXII
  • Variation XXIII. Vivace e staccato
  • Variation XXIV
  • Variation XXV
  • Fuga



Sarabande in B flat major HWV 440/3

3rd mvt. from Suite No. 7 in B flat major from 9 Suites de Pièces pour le Clavecin, 1733


Menuetto in G minor arr. Wilhelm Kempff

in past editions treated as 4th mvt. from Suite No. 1 in B flat major HWV 434

from 9 Suites de Pièces pour le Clavecin, 1733