Handel, G F
4 mins and 50 secs
Flute, oboe, clarinet in B flat, French horn in F and bassoon
Listen to an extract:
George Frederick Handel (1685 – 1759) was a remarkably prolific composer of operas, concerti, concerti grossi, organ music, oratorios and many other pieces of music. He is probably best known for his seminal work, The Messiah although the Creation is equally well known. Three suites of Water Music were composed for King George 1st in response to a request for music to be played on the river Thames in 1717. This was followed by his Music for the Royal Fireworks for King George 2nd in 1749. The music and fireworks were to celebrate the peace of Aix la Chapelle marking the end of the War of Succession in Austria. The first performance of this piece was attended by 12000 people each paying two shillings and sixpence and causing a massive traffic jam on London Bridge.
The Sarabande is actually a dance imported from Central America but considered far too ‘exotic’ for European tastes so much so it was banned in several countries. Handel’s use of it was controversial at the time.
This arrangement takes the main theme and adds a couple of original variations before returning to the main theme.