The Handel Institute
The Handel Institute

G. F. Handel's Compositions

Spurious or Misattributed Works

HWV 101a

HWV 101b

HWV 183

HWV 234

HWV 244

HWV 245

HWV 257

HWV 341

Concerto Grosso in F major, Op 3 No 4b

  • Genre: Concerto grosso
  • Key: F major
  • Published: 1734
  • Notes:
    • In early copies of 1st edition of Op 3 a spurious concerto (printed as 'Op. 3 No. 4a') was accidentally substituted. This spurious concerto (composer is anonymous) is now referred to as 'Op. 3 No. 4b'.
    • Walsh removed it from the Op 3 and included it instead in his third collection of "Select Harmony" (also 1734)
  • HHA edition: IV/11
Six Short Fugues
  • Genre: Fugue
  • HG edition: 48
St. John Passion
  • Genre: Passion
  • HG edition: 9
  • HHA edition: I/2
A note on the St. John Passion : The 19th-century musicologist Friedrich Chrysander believed George Frideric Handel composed this work. According to Chrysander, this passion was originally performed in Hamburg on 17 February 1704, which he felt was consistent with the time Handel lived in Hamburg. Recently, this performance date has come under serious question as to its authenticity.In addition to Chrysander's strong conviction about the authenticity of the composition, other "evidence" that possibly suggests Handel as the composer:
  1. The handwriting of the copyist resembles that of Handel but isn't identical.
  2. Johann Mattheson's musical journal "Critical musica" (ca. 1722-5) and "Der volkommene Capellmeister" (1738) both dismiss the St. John Passion while the latter intriguingly refers to its "world-famous composer".
So why was the passion dropped from the HWV catalog (Verzeichnis der Werke Georg Friedrich Händel)? One major reason is that Handel virtually always "borrowed" from his earlier works in composing new works. The St. John Passion is an obvious exception to this "rule".So, who composed it then? We will probably never know the answer to this question, but "candidate" names that have been proposed to date include:
  • Georg Böhm (1661 - 1733) - present day, the most likely candidate
  • Reinhard Keiser, Director of the Hamburg Opera (1674 - 1739)
  • Christian Ritter (1645/50 - after 1717)

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Last updated: August 30, 2020  · Site design: Duncan Fielden, Matthew Gardner and David Vickers