Handel House Celebrates 300 Years of Water Music
On Monday 17th July 2017, the team here boarded a boat at Temple Pier, setting up for one of our most memorable nights of Georgian antics. Three hundred years ago to the day, George Frideric Handel premiered the first suite of Water Music on the Thames. Handel, King George I, and several other invited aristocrats boarded a boat at Whitechapel and set sail for a musical excursion to Chelsea. Fast forward 300 years and there we were, equipped with the wonderful Amadè Players, some exquisite wigs and Georgian feast fit for any 18th century king.
The plan was to travel to Chelsea to emulate the voyage of George I; alas the tide was not in our favour so we set sail from Temple Pier and made our way east to the beautiful sights of The City and Greenwich.
The Amadè Players began their first set from outside, on the deck of the boat. The music for the evening was divided into 3 sets, a quieter one to begin with, followed by the louder movements from the suite and finishing with some Water Music favourites from different suites and some of the Music for the Royal Fireworks for good measure.
After the first set, we were treated to a Georgian buffet of pies, meats and potatoes that we washed down with wine as we sat on the floor of the deck and admired the views. More chairs would have been useful at this point, but there was something so lovely about sitting on the steps in the open air watching the city go by.
The second and third sets of the music were indoors, allowing those sitting inside to have a good listen. According to Georgian newspapers, the King asked for the suite to be repeated 3 times! Unfortunately, we did not have the time or it would be great to have heard it again!
As we washed back up at Temple Pier and people disembarked the boat, we said a final ‘Huzzah!’ to a great evening of celebration. Happy 300th Birthday Handel’s Water Music!
A special thank you to London Historians and the Georgian Dining Academy for putting on the event, as well as Handel House Friend and supporter Jeffrey Calvert for the photos.