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Classical 101

George Handel's 'Passacaglia' and 'Sarabande'

Norwegian violinist and composer Johan Halvorsen (1864-1935) was not as popular as Edvard Grieg, Norway's best-known composer, but he did marry Grieg's niece and orchestrate some of Grieg's piano pieces, including the funeral march performed at Grieg's funeral.

Although he wrote three symphonies, Halvorsen is better known for his Norwegian rhapsodies and for Entry March of the Boyars, a popular short orchestral piece. Also much appreciated are his arrangements of George Handel's Harpsichord Suite in G minor, a Passacaglia, which Halvorsen wrote as a duo for violin and viola.

Here's a performance of Halvorsen's Passacaglia with Itzhak Perlman (violin) and Pinchas Zukerman (viola):


Handel's Sarabande for classical guitar

While I was looking for a performance of the Sarabande, I came across this video of guitarist Inagaki Minoru playing an arrangement of Handel's Sarabande for classical guitar.

The solemnity and gravitas of this performance by a Japanese artist somehow seemed appropriate to share, given the tragic events unfolding in that country. This performance reminds us how music cuts across cultural boundaries to touch our hearts, perhaps more deeply than words do alone: