Uploaded on Apr 17, 2010
Georg Friedrich Händel (1685~1759)
《Wassermusik》orchestersuiten, HWV 348-350 (1717)
Suite Nr.2 D-dur, HWV 349
- 2. Alla Hornpipe -
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
Ton Koopman (conductor)
In 1725 Handel's publisher Walsh included the Water Music overture (in Ｆmajor) in his Third Collection of Handel's overtures - the first appearance of any of the music in print - and arrangements of several movements were included in a collection of Handel's minuets published by Walsh in 1729. In 1734 Walsh issued a set of orchestral parts for what he called the Celebrated Water Musick, but in fact the publication contained only about half the movements. A complete version of the suite in the form of a transcription for solo harpsichord was issued by Walsh in 1743. Arnolds edition of 1788 was the first to present all the numbers in full score. This erratic publication history, coupled with the unfortunate loss of the original autographs, leaves several aspects of the Water Music open to question. Contemporary manuscript copies suggest solutions to some problems, but their evidence is sometimes contradictory.
Any further discussion must begin with an attempt to clarify how the Water Music came to be composed. Though the Daily Courant and Bonet both say that Handel wrote the music specifically for the water party of 1717 it seems probable that some parts of it had been composed earlier for other purposes. It is difficult to believe, for example, that the overture, with its delicate writing for two solo violins, could have been conceived with outdoor performance in mind. The Water Music may have started life as two independent orchestral suites or concertos scored for woodwind and strings only. In 1717 Handel could simply have combined these and added the movements with horns and trumpets, which are obviously suited to outdoor performance.
The music itself provides a brilliant conspectus of the full range of Handel's style in the period of his first opera for England. As occasional music combining quality with immediate appeal it was not rivalled until Handel provided his Music for the Royal Fireworks of 1749. It seems that Handel, always ready to exploit a new orchestral effect, introduced French horns into an English orchestra for the first time in the Water Music, immediately perceiving how to make the best use both of the bright Ｆhorns - on their own, in conjunction with the oboes - and of the lower pitched D horns - reinforcing the trumpets or antiphonally echoing them. The very English Country Dance, with the main tune presented in the middle of the harmony, is a charming tribute to the country in which he chose to settle, and like all the tunes in the suite cannot now be heard without happily evoking Hanoverian England in its most genial aspects.
- Written by Anthony Hicks -