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Royal Fireworks Music

Composer
George Frideric Handel
Year of composition
1749
Arranger
Year of arrangement
2014
Difficulty
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
Duration
13 minutes
Genre
Classical music
Instrumentation
Orchestra
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Handel’s Fireworks Music, performed at his GRACE the Duke of RICHMOND’S at WHITEHALL and on the River Thames on Monday 15th May 1749. Performed by the direction of Charles Fredrick Esq. A hand-coloured etching. The performing musicians were in a specially constructed building that had been designed by Servandoni, a theatre designer. The music provided a background for the royal fireworks that were designed by Thomas Desguliers, son of the cleric and scientist John Theophilus Desaguliers. However, the display was not as successful as the music itself: the enormous wooden building caught fire after the collapse of a bas relief of George II. However, the music had been performed publicly six days earlier, on 21st April 1749 when there was a full rehearsal of the music at Vauxhall Gardens. Over twelve thousand people, each paying 2/6, rushed for it, causing a three-hour traffic jam of carriages after the main route to the area south of the river was closed due to the collapse of the central arch of newly built London Bridge.

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