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RMCO Work Detail

Title Water Music
Composer Handel, George Frideric
Contributor's Name Todd Norton
Bio Movements: I. Overture / II. Adagio e staccato / III. Allegro; Andante; Allegro / IV. Menuet / V. Air / VI. Menuet / VII. Bourree / VIII. Hornpipe / IX. Andante allegro / X. Alla Hornpipe

In the history of music, there has been no time in which dance music was so influential or important to the social culture as the 16th and 17th centuries. Suites of dances would have been performed in parlors, ballrooms, or private assemblies, usually acccompanied by a band of musicians who improvised accompaniments to the popular steps.

Frequently, composers were called upon to produce orchestra suites for particularly swanky gatherings. One such invitation came in 1717, when George Friedrick Handel (1685-1759) was tapped by King George III. of England to provide a suite of orchestra music for a party on the Thames River. A guest at the party wrote:

"Next to the King's barge was that of the musicians, about 50 in number, who played on all kinds of instruments, to wit trumpets, horns, hautboys, bassoons, German flutes, Trench flutes, violins and basses; but there were no singers. The music had been composed specially by the famous Handel, a native of Halle, and His Majesty's principal Court Composer. His Majesty approved of it so greatly that he caused it to be repeated three times in all, although each performance laster an hour - namely twice before and once after supper."


Work record last updated on 07-19-2004