Handel’s Water Music is a collection of three suites because that orchestra. Our listening piece from this bigger work is “Alla Hornpipe,” the 2nd movement indigenous the Suite in D major. The is a perfect example of Handel’s focus on the louder, brass instruments that is heard throughout Water Music.

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after ~ you read this page on the origins of the piece you’ll understand why Handel needed to boost the volume of Water Music as much as possible. “Alla Hornpipe” is composed in ternary form (ABA) v the opened A section repetitive once prior to the B ar begins.


Figure 1. “Westminster leg on lord Mayor’s Day” by Canaletto, 1746 (detail)

The Water Music is a repertoire of orchestral movements, frequently published as 3 suites, created by George Frideric Handel. The premiered on 17 July 1717 after King George I had requested a concert on the flow Thames.

The Water Music is scored because that a relatively big orchestra, do it an ideal for out performance. Several of the music is additionally preserved in plan for a smaller sized orchestra; this variation is not suitable for outdoor performance, as the sound that stringed instruments does not carry well in the open up air.


The Water Music opens with a French overture and also includes minuets, bourrées and hornpipes. It is split into three suites:

Suite in F major (HWV 348)

Overture (Largo – Allegro)Adagio e staccatoAllegro – Andante – Allegro da capo AriaMinuetAirMinuetBourréeHornpipeAllegro (no really tempo marking)Allegro (variant)Alla Hornpipe (variant)

Suite in D significant (HWV 349)

Overture (Allegro)Alla HornpipeMinuetLentementBourrée

Suite in G major (HWV 350)


There is evidence for the different plan found in Chrysander’s Gesellschaft execution of Handel’s works (in volume 47, published in 1886), where the activities from the “suites” in D and also G to be mingled and published together one work with HWV 348. This succession derives indigenous Samuel Arnold’s first edition that the complete score in 1788 and also the manuscript duplicates dating native Handel’s lifetime. Chrysander’s edition additionally contains an previously version that the an initial two activities of HWV 349 in the key of F significant composed in 1715 (originally scored because that two herbal horns, 2 oboes, bassoon, strings and continuo), where in enhancement to the horn fanfares and orchestral responses, the original version contained sophisticated concerto-like first violin part.

The music in each of the suites has no set order today.

First Performance

The an initial performance that the Water Music suites is taped in the day-to-day Courant, a London newspaper. At about 8 p.m. Top top Wednesday, 17 July 1717, King George I and also several aristocrats boarded a imperial barge in ~ Whitehall royal residence for one excursion up the Thames toward Chelsea. The increasing tide moved the barge upstream there is no rowing. An additional barge noted by the City the London contained about fifty musicians that performed Handel’s music. Countless other Londoners additionally took to the river to hear the concert. According to the Courant, “the whole River in a manner was covered” with boats and barges. On showing up at Chelsea, the king left his barge, then returned to it at around 11 p.m. For the return trip. The king to be so pleased with the Water Music that he bespeak it come be recurring at the very least three times, both ~ above the pilgrimage upstream to Chelsea and also on the return, till he landed again at Whitehall.

King George’s companions in the imperial barge had Anne Vaughan, the Duchess of Bolton, the Duchess of Newcastle, the battle each other of Kingston, the Countess that Darlington, theCountess that Godolphin, Madam Kilmarnock, and the Earl the Orkney. Handel’s orchestra is believed to have actually performed from around 8 p.m. Till well after midnight, with only one rest while the king go ashore at Chelsea.

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It was rumoured the the reason for the spectacular power of the Water Music to be purposed to assist King George steal few of the London spotlight ago from the prince, who at the moment was worried that his time to ascendancy would be shortened as result of his father’s lengthy life and was throwing lavish parties and also dinners to compensate because that it. In a lengthy term, the Water Music’s an initial performance on the water was the King’s method of remind London the he to be still there and also showing the could bring out gestures of even more grandeur 보다 his son.