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Commentary

19 Aug 2020

New edition of Handel cantata: Guildhall School of Music and Drama

A new edition of Handel’s cantata Mi palpita il cor has been created by a group of students from Guildhall School’s Historical Performance department during lockdown.

Historical Performance students and Junior Fellows Thomas Allery, Hannah Blumsohn, Ella Bodeker, Jens Franke, Lucy Neil and Jorge Silva worked under the direction of professors Nicholas Parle and Dionysios Kyropoulos to create a musical edition of this work, which was composed by Handel around the time of his arrival in London in 1712.

Two editions of the cantata have been produced: an Urtext edition (clean, without extra editorial suggestions, fit for use by early music specialists); and a performance edition, incorporating performance and editorial suggestions, making it accessible to anyone wishing to perform this work regardless of whether or not they have specialist historical performance training.

The Guildhall students drew upon Handel’s autograph manuscripts - digitised by the British Library and the Foundling Museum - as well as their own specialist training, working upon specific areas of the project most relevant to their own instrument or vocal studies. Included with the musical scores is a preface outlining the history of the work, in addition to a detailed analysis of the process and methods undertaken to create the edition.

Dr Christopher Suckling, Head of Historical Performance at Guildhall School, says: “When lockdown led to the cancellation of the Historical Performance department’s remaining summer performance work, other musical doors were opened. Having the time and space to play with music in the kind of depth that producing an edition requires has been transformative. The result is something unique; not just another critical edition, but an opinionated performing edition in which the students reveal the processes through which they themselves have learned. This edition is a lockdown performance - an expression of both the students’ musicianship and the dedication of the professors who have supported them through this challenging term.”

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