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George Frederick Handel:
The Story of Handel's Water Music Show

As soon as Handel got his first job of court composer to a German prince, he headed for England. Through a bizarre twist of royal succession, that prince ended up becoming king of England. Instead of staying angry at Handel for leaving Germany, King George I asked him to compose music for a huge party he held on barges on the River Thames.

Music heard in this episode:
Handel: Water Music

Other shows about George Frederick Handel:
About George Frederick Handel
Other Composers' Water Music
Music by Royalty and Nobility

Download this month's activity sheet

About George Frederick Handel
2/23/1685 - 4/14/1759
Born in Germany

Georg Friedrich Händel was born in Halle, Germany. But since he spent most of his professional life in England, he's better known as George Frederick Handel.

Even though Handel was very interested in music, his father (who was a barber and surgeon) was not. There's a story that Handel smuggled a clavichord -- a VERY quiet instrument -- into the house so that he could practice in secret. Handel's father insisted that his son become a lawyer, until the day that Handel sat down at the keyboard and dazzled a duke. The duke convinced Handel's father to let his son study music.

See other composers born in Germany


This Week's Quiz:

1. Handel's Water Music was composed for

a party on the River Thames

a swimming party

gondoliers in Venice

the opening of a bridge in London

2.How many Water Music suites did Handel write?





3. The musicians who played the original Water Music were

on a stage

in a boat

in a ballroom

in a garden


George Frederick Handel
“Hornpipe” from Water Music

Composed in 1717
Performed by Capella Istropolitana
Bohdan Warchal, conductor

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