Putting on the Handel

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Handel: The Water Music

Philharmonic Promenade Orchestra / Sir Adrian Boult

Westminster

You wouldn’t associate Handel with a bunch of promenaders in late 19th century garb, nor with a riverboat straight out of Huckleberry Finn replete with a flailing conductor.

But Westminster does.

Handel’s Water Music, in fact, was completed in 1717 at the behest of James I, in preparation for a little cruise he was planning, and it actually premiered on the king’s barge as it sailed along the Thames River. Which sounds like the most aristocratic/British thing ever. The set of suites is taken mainly from national ditties with spritely tunes, comprised of a waltz, a bourree, a gigue and other dances to keep the monarch and his cohort hopping.

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