Page:Romain Rolland Handel.djvu/198
GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL
Handel pleasantly engaged on this music, which gave him no trouble at all.
But he composed on these lines some works tending towards a much vaster scale: from 1715 or 1717 the famous Water Music, written for the royal procession of barges on the Thames, and the Firework Music made to illustrate the firework display given in Green Park on April 27, 1749, in celebration of the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle.
The Water Music has a grand Serenade in the form of a suite comprising more than twenty movements. It opens with a pompous Opera-overture;
- The work was an immediate success. A first Edition very incorrect and incomplete was published in London about 1720, by Walsh. Arrangements for harpsichord with variations by Geminiani were also published. Both the Water Music and the Firework Music are published in Volume XLVII of the Complete Edition.
- One may add to these monumental pieces the Sinfonie diverse (pp. 140-143 of Vol. XLVIII) and the Concerto in F major in the form of an Overture and Suite (pp. 68-100, ibid.), but particularly the 3 Concerti für grosses Orchester and the 2 Concerti a due cori of Vol. XLVII. The Concerti für grosses Orchester have been, so to speak, the sketch books for the Water Music and for the Firework Music. The first Concerto dates from about 1715, and furnished two movements for the Water Music. It is written for two horns, two oboes, bassoon, two violins, violas and bass. The second Concerto in F major (for four horns, two oboes, bassoons, two violins, violas, cellos, basses and organ); and the third Concerto in D major (for two trumpets, four horns, drums, two oboes, bassoons, two violins, violas, cellos, organ) contains already nearly all the Firework Music with a less important orchestra, but with the Organ in addition.
The two Concertos for two horns (Concerti a due cori) were made from the important choruses of the Oratorios transcribed for double orchestra—ten orchestral parts for the first group, twelve for the second (four horns, eight oboes, bassoons, etc.). Thus the appearance of God in Esther: "Jehovah crowned in glory bright," and the connected chorus: "He comes to end our woes." There are there colossal dialogues between the two orchestras.