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The Story of Handel’s ‘Water Music’ : Handel’s German boss fired the composer for spending all his time in London. When they met again, it was... rather awkward.
The Story of Handel’s ‘Water Music’

George Frideric Handel was employed to write music for the court of George, Elector of Hanover in Germany. He preferred, however, to live in London and write music for Queen Anne.

IN 1712 George Frideric Handel, court composer to George, Elector of Hanover in Germany, visited London, with his employer’s warning that he expected him back ‘within a reasonable time’ ringing in his ears.

But Handel did not go back within a reasonable time. He remained in the capital, cheerfully writing matchless music for the court of Queen Anne. Prince George fired him.

If Handel thought he had got the better part of the bargain, he was forced to reconsider when, in 1714, Queen Anne died and was succeeded on the throne of Great Britain by none other than her second cousin George, Elector of Hanover.

Fortunately, a tactful friend secured a commission for Handel to write music for a royal water party on the Thames on the 17th of July, 1717.

It was a tremendous success, and not long after Handel was reemployed by the King, and retained as music master to their daughters by Queen Caroline.

Alla Hornpipe

The Alla Hornpipe from Handel’s Water Music Suite No. 2 in D Major, on period instruments. Played by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, directed by Ton Koopman.

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Picture: © Martin Creek, Geograph. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. View original
Water music... fountains at play in the Alnwick Gardens, near Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.
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Music by George Frideric Handel
(1685-1759)

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