The canton of the GraubŁnden, the Grey Leagues, covers the largest territory of all Swiss cantons, while remaining the most sparsely populated. Geographically it borders the Southern Tyrol, Austria and Liechtenstein, and linguistically has a population in part Romansch-speaking, while other languages used include German, Italian and, to a much lesser extent, French. The canton has traditional importance as a crossing-point between south and north in Europe.
Music for the tour is taken from four Concerti grossi by Handel. Born in Halle in 1685, Handel had his first musical employment there and then in Hamburg, before moving in 1706 to Italy, where he remain until 1710, when he was appointed Kapellmeister to the Elector of Hanover. He travelled almost at once to London, where he had been engaged to compose an Italian opera, and from 1712 until his death in 1759 settled in England, winning fame first as a composer of Italian opera and then as the creator of English oratorio.