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Length: approx. 6 mins.
This world famous largo was actually the opening aria of Xerxes
, an opera in three acts first performed at the King's Theatre, London, on 15th April 1738. The opera itself was a flop only having had a run of five performances. The aria, in which Xerxes sang in praise of a plane tree's shade and fell in love with the voice he has just heard, was revived in the 19th century and after many spurious arrangements eventually became to be known as Handel's Largo
beautiful melody captivated audiences then and now. It is still heard on recordings and in concerts in all manner of vocal and instrumental versions performed by both the great professional musicians and the humble amateur. It is interesting to note that while Xerxes
is available on CD, Largo
recordings outnumber the complete opera by something like 70 to 1. The editor modestly considers that this transcription for recorder is long overdue!
A tempo of 56 crotchets/min. is suggested.