Violin sonata no.4 HWV.371

This violin sonata, with accompaniment, is supposed to be the last chamber music work that Georg Friedrich Handel composed in his life. The complete sonata consists of four movements, which was a standard set up for the eighteenth-century sonata. It is written in a typical 'Sonata di Chiesa' (church-sonata) style. Only the fourth movement has repetitions and gives an opportunity for variations in ornamentation and rhythms figures, in other movements, this has to be done in repeating themes etc. Slurring in editions are debatable due to the fact that Handel himself did not write any in the manuscript. One has to take care as well, that any octaves written in the piano part, especially in the second and fourth movement, can be omitted due to performance practice of the baroque music. This counts especially when it is performed on the (modern) piano.


The first movement, which Handel indicated with Affettuoso, is based upon a motive that starts on the second eight for the violin. This motive, especially rhythmically, comes back through the whole movement and is intertwined between violin and both hands of the piano/harpsichord.


The second movement, Allegro, is a fugue which is being introduced by the violin. In this movement, both instruments have the main role, where the theme switches often between the instruments. In the development of the movement, the thematic material is split up and used to make a musical dialogue between all the voices. It is a piece full of virtuosity in which the violinist can show its capabilities on the instrument.


The third movement is a gorgeous movement. Originally intended as an Adagio in the manuscript but crossed out and made into a Larghetto. The movement builds around two motives; the melody in the violin and the three stepwise down motion in the bass of the accompanying instrument.


The fourth movement, like the second movement written in Allegro, is a movement that is built upon a punctated rhythmic motive and a more melodic motive that immediately follows. The movement consists of an ABA structure. It is the only movement with repetitions. Both times before the repetition and end of the piece, the violin has the opportunity to show its virtuosity with fast scales. In the B section of the movement, Handel wrote a further elaboration on the melodic theme but does not make a big development before bringing back the A section.