Handel - Music for the Royal Fireworks

George Frideric Handel's "Music for the Royal Fireworks" (1749), composed at the behest of King George II of Great Britain for the great fireworks display celebrating the signing of the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, which concluded the War of the Austrian Succession on October 18, 1748. The "Music for the Royal Fireworks" was first performed publicly six days before the great fireworks display, on April 21, 1749, when a full rehearsal of the music was held at Vauxhall Gardens. However, Handel himself objected to this performance. It is assumed his objection was due to logistics, but was more due to his promise to repeat the music for a charity concert at the Foundling Hospital four weeks after the main display. The Vauxhall performance was publicly advertised, and would thus be widely attended, so Handel feared it would lessen interest in subsequent performances. However, catastrophe ensued when the great "machine" misfired and burst into intense flame. The left pavilion of the structure was most affected, and according to the "Description II" of the celebration, published afterwards, the contrivance "burnt with great Fury."

 VIDEO: Performed by the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Raymond Leppard

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