Fiona Grant

Handel’s Water Music Manuscript on Display at Foundling Museum

As Chairman of the Royal Society of Musicians, I am delighted that one of our treasures, the oldest surviving score of George Frideric Handel’s Water Music, will be displayed in the Handel Gallery at the Foundling Museum (7 July – 6 October 2017) to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the first performance on 17 July 1717.

Handel’s Water Music is a suite for orchestra composed for a party held on the River Thames for the King in 1717. Water parties were a relatively frequent event in this period – there are six Royal water parties documented in 1715 alone – and could be used by the monarch to show himself to his people without too much formality. Handel’s suite of twenty-two pieces proved so agreeable to the King that he requested that it be played three times during the evening. The King was in one barge and the orchestra in another, accompanied by further boats with members of the Court and guests.

The Royal Society of Musicians was founded in 1738 by Handel and colleagues as the Fund for Decayed Musicians. It remains a benevolent fund for musicians, run by musicians. Our wonderful new headquarters at 26 Fitzroy Square will open in September.

George Frideric Handel painting by Balthasar Denner. George Frideric Handel painting by Balthasar Denner. Photo Credit: © Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Fiona Grant

I am now retired and no longer guide.

Born and brought up in Scotland, I read Psychology and Philosophy at Edinburgh University and Social Administration at the London School of Economics. Before becoming a Blue Badge guide, I spent 15 years working in classical music, managing opera singers and running…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like

The Camera Exposed Exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum

Read more

Turner Exhibition at Petworth House & Tate Britian

Joseph Mallord William Turner was not the most sociable of men but he found a true friend in George O'Brien, Third Earl of Egremont and owner of Petworth House in Sussex. The Earl was a sociable and generous aristocrat with a love of art, a large house and an open purse. Every year he had a party in the grounds of Petworth for the local community on his birthday and, when 6000 people turned up one time, he made sure they were all welcomed, fed and watered.

Read more