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Suite from 'The Water Music' Handel, arr. Harty
THE origin of the legend of the ' Water Music,' which may or may not be true, is this : Handel, as Director of Music to the Elector of Hanover, had leave to visit England—for the second time—on condition that he returned ' in a reasonable time.' More than two years later, when the Elector became our King George I, Handel was still here; his Majesty regarded that as anything but a reasonable time, and Handel was in deep disgrace. It was to this Water Music that ho owed his return to favour.
. Specially written for the occasion, he had it played, under his own direction, on the river, in a boat which followed the royal barge as his Majesty sailed from Lime-house to Whitehall on August 22, 1715. The king was delighted with the music, and not only forgave his truant Director of Music, but awarded him a pension of f200 a year.
From the twenty-one movements in the original suite, Sir Hamilton Harty has selected six, adding clarinets, horns, and drums to the original score. The first movement is a vigorous Allegro for all except the trumpets. It is largely made up of a theme which consists in repetitions of a single note. Strings alone begin the second number, a dainty Air; a slightly quicker minor section comes in the middle, with woodwinds added, and when the opening returns,the strings are reinforced by horns. Number three, a Bourree, is a very short movement for strings alone. It leads directly into a merry Hornpipe, which opens with oboe, clarinets, and bassoon. They are answered by piccolo, flute, and strings, and a similar phrase of two sections follows. The next movement begins with a sad little tune for flute, answered by the violin ; here again there is no break before the following movement, a vigorous D Major, in which the whole orchestra is energetically employed. There is a scherzando section in the middle, in B Minor.
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