MUSIC APPRECIATION — George Frideric Handel

The Water Music (1717)

Suite No. 2 in D Major

The Water Music, a collection of three orchestral suites, premiered on 17 July 1717 and was written in response to King George I’s request for a concert on the River Thames. The King and several aristocrats watched from the royal barge as about 50 musicians performed Handel’s music from another barge. The King was so pleased with Water Music that he ordered it to be repeated at least three times.

Messiah (1741)

Handel composed Messiah, an English language oratorio, in 1741. After an initially modest public reception the oratorio gained in popularity and eventually became one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral pieces in Western music and is one of the best Handel works.

There are fifty-plus separate numbers in Messiah. Almost all of them are gems, and it remains something of a miracle that the entire two-hour oratorio was composed, start to finish, in twenty-four days.

Overture to Messiah
And the Glory of the Lord
For Unto Us A Child is Born


The ‘Hallelujah’ chorus is one of the most famous pieces of Baroque choral music and the most widely known section of the work. When composing the celebrated ‘Hallelujah’ chorus Handel said it was “as if I saw God on his throne, and all his angels around him”.