In time for Handel’s birthday on Tuesday, Gramophone magazine reports on the upcoming premiere in April of a cantata by the composer from his early period in Italy. The score was recently discovered in the private collection of early-music figure Ton Koopman:
Koopman’s website explains: ‘It is an earlier but very different version of the cantata [‘Tu fedel? Tu costante?’, HWV 171]. Only the first aria is substantially the same, while the three remaining arias are entirely new. HWV 171a, as the cantata will be known, also differs from the later version in calling for an oboe in addition to two violins and basso continuo. There can be no doubt about Handel’s authorship, because of numerous motivic connections with his other works, including the opera Almira, performed in Hamburg in 1705, before the composer left for Italy.