Handel’s Water Music is a arsenal of 3 suites because that orchestra. Our listening piece from this bigger work is “Alla Hornpipe,” the second movement native the Suite in D major. It is a perfect instance of Handel’s focus on the louder, brass tools that is heard throughout Water Music.

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after ~ you review this page on the origins of the piece you’ll recognize why Handel essential to rise the volume of Water Music as lot as possible. “Alla Hornpipe” is written in ternary kind (ABA) with the opened A section repeated once prior to the B ar begins.


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

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

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


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

Suite in F significant (HWV 348)

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

Suite in D major (HWV 349)

Overture (Allegro)Alla HornpipeMinuetLentementBourrée

Suite in G significant (HWV 350)


There is evidence for the different plan found in Chrysander’s Gesellschaft edition of Handel’s works (in volume 47, released in 1886), where the activities from the “suites” in D and also G were mingled and also published together one work-related with HWV 348. This succession derives from Samuel Arnold’s first edition of the finish score in 1788 and also the manuscript copies dating indigenous Handel’s lifetime. Chrysander’s edition additionally contains an previously version of the very first two activities of HWV 349 in the crucial of F significant composed in 1715 (originally scored for two herbal horns, two oboes, bassoon, strings and continuo), wherein in addition to the horn fanfares and also orchestral responses, the initial version contained an elaborate concerto-like very first violin part.

The music in every of the suites has actually no collection order today.

First Performance

The very first performance that the Water Music suites is taped in the everyday Courant, a London newspaper. At about 8 p.m. Top top Wednesday, 17 July 1717, King George I and also several aristocrats boarded a royal barge in ~ Whitehall palace for an excursion increase the Thames towards Chelsea. The increasing tide driven the barge upstream there is no rowing. Another barge detailed by the City of London contained about fifty musicians who performed Handel’s music. Countless other Londoners likewise took come the flow to hear the concert. According to the Courant, “the whole River in a manner was covered” with boats and barges. On arriving at Chelsea, the king left his barge, then went back to it at about 11 p.m. For the return trip. The king was so pleased through the Water Music the he notified it to be recurring at the very least three times, both ~ above the pilgrimage upstream to Chelsea and also on the return, until he landing again at Whitehall.

King George’s companions in the royal barge contained Anne Vaughan, the Duchess of Bolton, the Duchess that Newcastle, the fight it out of Kingston, the Countess the Darlington, theCountess the Godolphin, Madam Kilmarnock, and the Earl of Orkney. Handel’s orchestra is believed to have performed from around 8 p.m. Till well after ~ midnight, with only one rest while the king went ashore in ~ Chelsea.

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It to be rumoured the the factor for the spectacular power of the Water Music was purposed to help King George steal several of the London spotlight earlier from the prince, who at the time was worried that his time to dominion would be shortened as result of his father’s lengthy life and also was cram lavish parties and dinners come compensate because that it. In a long term, the Water Music’s very first performance top top the water was the King’s method of reminding London that he was still there and showing that could bring out gestures that even more grandeur 보다 his son.