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Last week, I traveled, virtually, down the River Trent. Tina shared a Top Ten Tuesday list about the authors she’s read the most (seven are British or Irish). Jean reviewed The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman and shared several great quotes.
Today is the 303rd anniversary of the first performance of Handel’s Water Music. It was quite the spectacular event on July 17, 1717, described in the first British newspaper The Daily Courant.
King George I and his party boarded a royal barge near Whitehall Palace for an excursion up the Thames toward Chelsea. A second barge with 50 musicians traveled alongside playing Handel’s music. Many other boats ventured out on the water to join in the fun.
The musicians played Water Music repeatedly until King George took a brief excursion at Chelsea. They continued playing the piece for the entire return trip back to Whitehall. Except for the one break while the king was ashore, they played from about 8pm until after midnight.
I don’t know enough about classical music to be able to identify the best version of Water Music on YouTube, but I’ve been enjoying this one all week because of the picture and the description:
Of course, King George I and Handel never saw this version of the Palace of Westminster with the iconic clock tower — it was built in the mid-1800s after the medieval cluster of buildings was destroyed by fire in 1834. Although a bridge at Westminster had been proposed in 1664, the first one wasn’t built until later in the 1700s.
George Frederic Handel lived in London for many years. I wrote about that when I discovered that Handel and Hendrix share a museum in London — a fact about the world that still gives me a great deal of pleasure. Since people haven’t been able to visit in person, there’s a new 3D walk-through of the neighboring buildings.