se il Ciel mi fà sperar


“Or vo’ tutto in dovere si cangi il mio tormento, chè vano ogni lamento, se il Ciel mi fà sperar, se il Ciel mi fà sperar, chè vano ogni lamento, se il Ciel mi fà sperar.”

This short piece for three instruments is based on the Cornelia's aria Non ha più che temere from Handel’s opera Giulio Cesare, in which Cornelia celebrates the death of Tolomeo, who has just been killed by Sesto after attempting to rape Cornelia.

Handel's aria has a disarmingly simple combination of voice and bass, with unison accompaniment. In creating this new piece I have moved sections of these three parts around and embellish them: essentially a musical equivalent to the “collage” technique of visual art.

The basis for the piece is the aria (which follows Handel's typical da Capo format), repeated several times over and given an overall dynamic shape. With this starting point - my entire material for the piece - I have snipped here and cut there and stretched, compressed, and pasted the music to form a new piece.

My piece is still clearly recognisable as Handel - not least because I leave the first iteration of the aria untouched, save for a sparsely realised bass - and yet by the end, almost unrecognisable as anything Handel could or would have written.

Overall I have kept the tone of the original but the embellishments and repetition are intended to add intensity and depth of commentary to this powerful moment in Handel’s drama.

The first performance was given by Rarescale, for whom the piece was written.

Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar


8 minutes


Alto flute, bassoon, guitar

First performance

Rarescale performing at The Forge, Camden, London: 27th May 2014.


This is a video of the first performance (given by Rarescale, as above)


The piece has been recorded by Rarescale, along with my piece 'Strange Loop', on this album:

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