from Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV351

by George Frideric Handel

George Frideric Handel was born in 1685 in Halle, Germany and died in 1759 in London, England. In Handel’s time, Germany was part of the Holy Roman Empire.

Handel wrote Music for the Royal Fireworks in 1749, a year before his health started to decline after he was seriously injured in a carriage accident. Unfortunately, Handel also became blind soon after the accident, and the last few years of his life were very difficult.

Considering the immense musical contribution that Handel made in his lifetime, it seems fitting that Music for the Royal Fireworks was written for a huge celebratory outdoor event, even if Handel himself was not the intended subject of the celebration.

Handel moved to London in 1712 and established himself as one of the leading composers of his time. King George II commissioned Handel to write a work that would be performed prior to a huge fireworks display, an event planned to celebrate the end of the War of the Austrian Succession and the signing of the Treaty of Aux-la-Chapelle.

Handel’s popularity is confirmed by the fact that more than 12,000 people paid a fee to attend the final rehearsal of the music, six days before the concert took place. Things did not go smoothly at the actual performance, mainly because of bad weather and misfires from fireworks. A pavilion caught fire and several people were injured.

La Réjouissance, or “Rejoicing” in English, is the fourth of five movements that make up Music for the Royal Fireworks. The fireworks may have been a disaster, but the music remains magnificent.

Step 1. Watch the video to learn about the Natural Horn

Step 2. Listen to the TSO recording of La réjouissance

Step 3. Answer 10 questions

Step 4. Download a Word Search