On 17 July 1717, Handel’s Water Music was performed on the Thames, for King George I and a party of nobles. The event, which summons images of the Thames as a place of leisure, luxury and refinement, was described by The Daily Courant as follows:
“On Wednesday Evening… the King took Water at Whitehall in an open Barge… and went up River towards Chelsea. Many other Barges with Persons of Quality attended, and so great a Number of Boats, that the whole River in a manner was cover’d; a City Company’s Barge was employ’d for the Musick, wherein were 50 instruments of all sorts, who play’d all the Way from Lambeth… the finest Symphonies compos’d express for this Occasion by Mr. Hendel; which his Majesty liked so well that he caus’d it to be plaid over three times in the going and returning”
A Portrait of George 1
Then another celebration on 15 May 1749, this firework display was for the benefit of King George II to celebrate the end of the War of the Austrian Succession and the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle the previous year, Handel was again commissioned to write a celebratory piece of music for public performance. ‘The Music for the Royal Fireworks’, as it was subsequently named, was accompanied by a magnificent fireworks display from barges on the Thames.
|An Etching of the 1749 event on the Thames|
Unfortunately, during the display, one of the fireworks landed on the pavilion of the Temple of Peace, (it was demolished in 1763) igniting the several thousand fireworks inside and killing three spectators.
Portrait of George 11
Both pieces by Handel have become associated with a quintessential Englishness, and The Music for the Royal Fireworks was performed as part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002.
Next year we can all join in Celebrations for the Queens Diamond Jubilee (quite an achievement) there are going to be lots of events going on around the country, no doubt with loads of fireworks and fantastic music. Also a great bonus is of course the extra Bank Holiday, they are making the May Bank holiday a bit later and then adding an extra day on Tuesday 5th June, to be known as the Jubilee Bank Holiday, this is just a bit of info below:
Queens Diamond Jubilee event 2nd 3rd 4th & 5th June 2012
Details of the central event – a river pageant in London, attended by the Queen, featuring a flotilla of 1,000 boats, sailing down the Thames from Putney to Tower Bridge – have already been announced. The procession, accompanied by the ringing of church bells, fireworks and music, will include boats of almost all shapes and sizes from around the world, with the Queen, seated in a Thames barge kitted out to resemble an 18th century royal galley, travelling to the fore.
The weekend’s celebrations will be rounded off with a carriage procession through London to St Paul’s Cathedral and a service of thanksgiving on Tuesday 5 June 2012. That will be just eight weeks until the opening of the Olympic Games and, tourism officials hope, a fresh influx of overseas visitors.
Any info you need can be found here on Gov website…
HOPE EVERYONE HAS A HAPPY AND SAFE FIREWORKS WEEKEND, AND SPARE A THOUGHT FOR ALL THE ANIMALS, PETS AND WILDLIFE AND JUST BE A BIT CAUTIOUS PLEASE, especially BEING VERY CAREFUL TO LOOK UNDER ANY BONFIRES FOR HEDGEHOGS ETC
Till next time then…………………