During the late 17th century English musicians celebrated each year on 22 November the feast of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, with special concerts and church services. With his Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day Handel rejuvenated the tradition of this festival on St. Cecilia’s Day in 1732. This so-called “little” St. Cecilia Ode is a musically joyful glorification of the power of music: two festive choruses frame five charming arias in each of which a solo instrument is used for contrasting effect in the baroque manner. Handel allows the soloists a wealth of freedom to improvise and to display their skills. This is especially the case for the organ, which was his favorite instrument.
Scoring: Soli ST, Coro SATB, Fl, 2 Ob, 2 Tr, Timp, 2 Vl, Va, Bc
Language: English. Duration: 51 min.