Handel’s Water Music is a arsenal of 3 suites for orchestra. Our listening piece from this bigger work is “Alla Hornpipe,” the 2nd movement from the Suite in D significant. It is a perfect example of Handel’s emphasis on the louder, brass instruments that is heard throughout Water Music.

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After you read this page on the beginnings of the piece you’ll understand also why Handel required to increase the volume of Water Music as much as feasible. “Alla Hornpipe” is written in ternary develop (ABA) via the opening A section repetitive when before the B section starts.


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

The Water Music is a repertoire of orchestral motions, often publimelted as three suites, written by George Frideric Handel. It premiered on 17 July 1717 after King George I had asked for a concert on the River Thames.

The Water Music is scored for a relatively huge orchestra, making it suitable for outdoor performance. Several of the music is additionally maintained in arrangement for a smaller orchestra; this variation is not suitable for outdoor performance, as the sound of stringed instruments does not lug well in the open up air.


The Water Music opens through a French overture and has minuets, bourrées and hornpipes. It is split into 3 suites:

Suite in F major (HWV 348)

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

Suite in D major (HWV 349)

Overture (Allegro)Alla HornpipeMinuetLentementBourrée

Suite in G significant (HWV 350)


Tright here is proof for the various plan discovered in Chrysander’s Gesellschaft edition of Handel’s works (in volume 47, publimelted in 1886), wbelow the activities from the “suites” in D and also G were mingled and published as one work-related via HWV 348. This sequence derives from Samuel Arnold’s initially edition of the finish score in 1788 and the manumanuscript duplicates dating from Handel’s lifetime. Chrysander’s edition also includes an earlier variation of the initially 2 motions of HWV 349 in the essential of F major written in 1715 (initially scored for 2 natural horns, two oboes, bassoon, strings and also continuo), where in enhancement to the horn fanfares and also orchestral responses, the original variation included a sophisticated concerto-like initially violin component.

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

First Performance

The initially performance of the Water Music suites is recorded in the Daily Courant, a London newspaper. At around 8 p.m. on Wednesday, 17 July 1717, King George I and also several aristocrats boarded a royal barge at Whitehall Palace for an excursion up the Thames toward Chelsea. The increasing tide propelled the barge upstream without rowing. Anvarious other barge offered by the City of London consisted of around fifty musicians that percreated Handel’s music. Many kind of various other Londoners additionally required to the river to hear the concert. According to the Courant, “the totality River in a manner was covered” via boats and barges. On arriving at Chelsea, the king left his barge, then returned to it at around 11 p.m. for the return pilgrimage. The king was so pleased via the Water Music that he ordered it to be repetitive at least three times, both on the trip upstream to Chelsea and on the return, until he landed aacquire at Whitehall.

King George’s companions in the royal barge contained Anne Vaughan, the Duchess of Bolton, the Duchess of Newcastle, the Battle Each Other of Kingston, the Countess of Darlington, theCountess of Godolphin, Madam Kilmarnock, and the Earl of Orkney. Handel’s orchestra is thought to have percreated from around 8 p.m. till well after midnight, with only one break while the king went ashore at Chelsea.

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It was rumoured that the reason for the spectacular performance of the Water Music was purposed to aid King George steal some of the London spotlight earlier from the prince, that at the moment was worried that his time to ascendancy would certainly be shortened due to his father’s lengthy life and also was throwing lavish parties and dinners to compensate for it. In a long term, the Water Music’s first performance on the water was the King’s means of reminding London that he was still tright here and reflecting he could bring out gestures of even even more grandeur than his kid.