Handel Domestic Opera by Hank Knox

HANDEL – Domestic Opera


Hank Knox – Harpsichord
2009, EMCCD7770

In the eighteenth century, the only way to enjoy opera out of season was to perform it in a reduced format. Some of the most widely circulated editions and manuscript copies were devoted to solo keyboard transcriptions, most notably in England those of operas by Handel, who had triumphantly entered the stormy waters of Italian opera in London in 1711 with his Rinaldo. This recording features keyboard transcriptions of excerpts from this and other operas, by Handel himself and by the versatile William Babell. Hank Knox plays these works with all the bravura and sentiment that swayed contemporary audiences in Handel’s own performances. The historical English harpsichords used are from the Benton Fletcher Collection of Early Keyboard Instruments at Fenton House in London.

The entire program is both entertaining and uniformly fascinating…. The instrument by Swiss-English builder Burkat Shudi and Johannes Broadwood, from 1770, would soon face competition from the up-and-coming fortepianos produced by their own firm and others. It included various devices for generating dynamic contrasts, several of which are employed here in Knox’s colourful, kinetic performances. An excellent job all around from Knox and the early-music.com label, which has been successfully drawing on the large pool of top-notch talent available in the Montreal area.  – James Manheim, Allmusic.com, 2009


Product Description

Hank Knox, harpsichord

Overtures & Arias of Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) and others.

See Program notes here.

First Set William Babell c.1690-1723
(Suits of the Most Celebrated Lessons, London, 1717)

Instrument: Burkat Shudi & Johannes Broadwood, 1770
1. Prelude 1:12
2. The Overture in Rinaldo 6:04
3. Soura Balza in Rinaldo 4:29
4. Lascia chi’io pianga in Rinaldo 4:41
5. Sulla routa di fortuna in Rinaldo 3:33
Il Pastor Fido (1712) Georg Frideric Handel 1685-1759 (Various sources, c.1717-1730)
Instrument: Burkat Shudi & Johannes Broadwood, 1770
6. Overture 2:40
7. Air 1:51
8. Air en menuet 1:46
9. Largo 3:39
10. Allegro 3:05
Second Set  Wm. Babell (Suits …, 1717)
Instrument: Burkhat Shudi, London, 1761
11. Prelude, Arpeggio 2:17
12. Si t’indendo, in Croesus (Nicola Haym, 1714) 4:42
13. Questo consorto solo, in Antiochus
(Francesco Gasparini, 1711)
14. piacere, in Rinaldo 1:57
15. Se’in Ombre Nacosta, in the Pastorall (Il Pastor Fido, 1712) 3:36
Semele (1744)  G.F. Handel (MS: B.L. R.M 19 a 2, c.1744-6)
Instrument: Jacob Kirckman, London, 1752
16. Overture 5:18
17. Gavotte 1:44
Radamisto (1720)  G.F. Handel (MSS, c.1728)
Instrument: Jacob Kirckman, London, 1752
18. Overture 4:31
Fourth Set  Wm. Babell (Suits …, 1717)
Instrument: Burkat Shudi & Johannes Broadwood, 1770
19. Vo far guerra in Rinaldo(1711) 11:18

TOTAL  73:55


HANK KNOX, harpsichordist

Hank Knox studied harpsichord with John Grew at McGill University in Montreal and with Kenneth Gilbert in Paris. He has given numerous harpsichord recitals, and is a founding member of Arion baroque orchestra, with whom he has toured Canada, the United States, Europe, Japan, South America and Mexico. He has performed, recorded and toured with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and le Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal; he plays regularly with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. He has recorded for Radio-Canada and the CBC, and appears on recordings with Arion on the early-music.com, Atma, Analekta, CBC, Titanic and Collegium labels. His has released a recording of Frescobaldi’s keyboard works performed on an Italian harpsichord of 1677 on the Atma label, and a recording of works by D’Anglebert performed on an upright harpsichord for early-music.com. A recording of Handel opera arias and overtures in transcriptions for harpsichord by Babell and Handel on instruments from the Benton Fletcher collection at Fenton House in London is due for release in the fall of 2008 on the early-music.com label, along with a second recording of harpsichord works of Frescobaldi on the 1677 Italian harpsichord, as well as harpsichord works by Sweelinck.

Hank Knox directs the Early Music program at McGill University, where he teaches harpsichord and figured bass accompaniment, coaches chamber music ensembles, and conducts the McGill Baroque Orchestra. He has been a William Dawson Scholar in recognition of his work in Early Music since 2003, and was awarded the Thomas Binkley prize for an outstanding university collegium director by Early Music America in 2008. In collaboration with Opera McGill, he has directed productions of Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Alcina, Semele and Radamisto, Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Telemann’s Don Quichotte, Les sauvages from Rameau’s Les Indes galantes, and Peri’s Euridice.

Recorded February 7-9, 2007, at the Benton Fletcher Collection at Fenton House, London.
Producer : Hank Knox all rights reseved
Harpsichord tuning and preparation : Mimi S. Waitzman
Recording Producer : Chris Sayers
Sound engineer : Jonathan Stokes, Classic Sound
Visual artistic director: André Guimond
Graphic Design : Lucie Arsenault, Luz Design
Photos : Pierre Charbonneau

This recording is made possible in part with the aid of a William Dawson Scholar award from McGill University..