Handel – Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (European Union Baroque Orchestra & Choir of Clare College)

Conducted by Lars Ulrik Mortensen, European Union Baroque Orchestra and Choir of Clare College perform Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (HWV 74), a secular cantata composed by George Frideric Handel to a libretto by Ambrose Philips. Soloist: Alex Potter, countertenor. Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht in St. Martin’s Cathedral, Utrecht, 31 August 2013.

Choir of Clare College, Cambridge

Janneke Dupre, Gabrielle Haigh, Alice Halstead, Sophie Horrocks, Helen Lilley, Caroline Meinhardt, Madeleine Seale, Rachael Ward, soprano
Clara Betts-Dean, Abigail Gostick, Emma Simmons, Eva Smith-Leggatt, Eleanor Warner, alto
Laurence Booth-Clibborn, Nils Greenhow, Peter Harrison, Christopher Loyn, Alexander Peter, tenor
Adam Cigman-Mark, William Cole, Elliot Fitzgerald, Matthew Jorysz, Charles Littlewood, Magnus Maharg, Alexander McBride, Hugo Popplewell, James Proctor, bass
Graham Ross, choirmaster

European Union Baroque Orchestra

Zefira Valova, Roldán Bernabé-Carrión, Christiane Eidsten Dahl, Antonio De Sarlo, Yotam Gaton, Saron Houben, Sarina Matt, Daphne Oltheten, Jamiang Santi, violin
Rafael Roth, Hilla Heller, Andrea Angela Ravandoni, viola
Guillermo Turina Serrano, Nicola Paoli, cello
Lisa De Boos, contrabass
Alexis Kossenko, flute
Clara Geuchen, Johannes Knoll, oboe
Andrew Burn, fagot
Sebastian Philpott, Gerard Serrano Garcia, trumpet
Marianna Henriksson, harpsichord

Handel probably composed this cantata during January 1713 for a performance on 6 February 1713, although there is no record of the performance having actually taken place.

Structure and Text

Each of the seven stanzas of the ode concludes with the following words sung by the chorus:

The day that gave great Anna birth,
Who fix’d a lasting peace on Earth.

(Alto solo with solo trumpet over sustained strings)
Eternal source of light divine
With double warmth thy beams display
And with distinguish’d glory shine
To add a lustre to this day.

(Alto solo, then chorus with orchestra)
The day that gave great Anna birth
Who fix’d a lasting peace on earth.

(Soprano solo, then chorus with orchestra)
Let all the winged race with joy
Their wonted homage sweetly pay
Whilst towr’ing in the azure sky
They celebrate this happy day.
The day that gave great Anna birth
Who fix’d a lasting peace on earth.

(Alto solo, then alto and solo with chorus and orchestra)
Let flocks and herds their fear forget
Lions and wolves refuse their prey
And all in friendly consort meet
Made glad by this propitious day.
The day that gave great Anna birth
Who fix’d a lasting peace on earth.

(Bass and alto duet, then chorus with orchestra. The ground bass of this movement with octave leaps was reused by Handel in his “Concerto a due cori”.)
Let rolling streams their gladness show
With gentle murmurs whilst they play
And in their wild meanders flow
Rejoicing in this blessed day.
The day that gave great Anna birth
Who fix’d a lasting peace on earth.

(Soprano and alto duet with solo oboe and orchestra)
Kind Health descends on downy wings
Angels conduct her on the way.
T’our glorious Queen new life she brings
And swells our joys upon this day.

(Alto and soprano, then chorus with orchestra)
The day that gave great Anna birth
Who fix’d a lasting peace on earth.

(Bass solo, then chorus with orchestra)
Let envy then conceal her head
And blasted faction glide away.
No more her hissing tongues we’ll dread
Secure in this auspicious day.
The day that gave great Anna birth
Who fix’d a lasting peace on earth.

(Alto solo then chorus with echo effects,solo trumpet and orchestra)
United nations shall combine
To distant climes their sound convey
That Anna’s actions are divine
And this the most important day!
The day that gave great Anna birth
Who fix’d a lasting peace on earth.

Queen Anne in 1705
Anne, Queen of Great Britain. Portrait by Michael Dahl, 1705.

The cantata celebrates Queen Anne’s (6 February 1665 – 1 August 1714) birthday, and the accomplishment of the Treaty of Utrecht (negotiated by the Tory ministry of Anne in 1712) to end the War of the Spanish Succession. Anne became Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, two of her realms, the kingdoms of England and Scotland, united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death.

Sources

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