Saturday Baroque ~ Handel

G.F. Handel ~ Water Music Suite

The Water Music is a collection of orchestral movements, often published as three suites, composed by George Frideric Handel. It premiered on 17 July 1717, in response to King George I‘s request for a concert on the River Thames. via wikipedia.org

Handel composed his wonderfully jolly Water Music around 1717. and it was first performed on 17 July that year, after George I requested a concert on the River Thames. The king watched from the royal barge with various dukes and duchesses as the 50 musicians played nearby.

The suites are pretty easy on the ear and jauntily life-affirming. Exactly the sort of music you would like to waft you down the River Thames if you were a king with the weight of government on your shoulders; in fact, the king enjoyed the music so much, he asked the musicians to play the suites three times over the course of the trip down the river.

Packed with catchy and famous tunes (you’ll probably recognise at least one!), each movement is based on a dance style. There’s actually no set order for the suites to be performed, but it’s generally agreed the first is in F major, the second is in D, and the third is in G. It’s Suite No. 1 that is the most popular. In eleven sections, it begins with a beautiful French-style Ouverture, continues through a jaunty ‘Bourée’, a stately ‘Minuet’ and ends with the grand ‘Alla Hornpipe’. via classicfm.com

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Handel: Water Music Highlights – English Concert/Pinnock

Photo credit: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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