Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Water Music: Summer Sounds for Mid-July

290 years ago today, July 17, 1717, George I, King of England, had a boating and dinner party. The King and a number of his noble friends traveled by open barge on the Thames River from Whitebridge to Chelsea where the dinner was planned. As parties go, there had to be music, and back in 1717, one needed an orchestra for that. Accompanying the King and his friends was a musician’s barge, with fifty musicians who entertained his majesty and his party with a new composition.

Thus was the first performance of Water Music, composed for the event by George Friederich Handel. The King liked the music so much, he had the orchestra play it three times.

Both King and composer had gone to England from Germany. The King gained his spot because all the people who had better claims to throne were Roman Catholic—hence precluded from the job that also entailed heading the Protestant Church of England. Handel gained his spot as he had served George as Elector of Hanover, Germany. Water Music is now a perennial favorite, but Handel, known as an English composer, is best known for his oratorio, The Messiah.
You might enjoy Water Music as much as the King did this day. You can listen to the opening by clicking here, and scrolling down until you reach Water Music. Two other movements can be found here, and more is found here.


Post a Comment

<< Home