First Heard: ‘Water Music’

I don’t envy Royalty very often – I’ve never had a lust for power, and most of the job just looks tedious and stuffy to me.

But I would love to be able to say, “I’m going to be boating on the Thames – write some music for me to listen to, would you?” — and get George Frideric Handel’s Water Music played for me by an orchestra in a boat following mine while I relaxed, sipping wine and eating tempting dainties.

Warer Music painting by Edouard Hamman

And 299 years ago, on July 17, 1717, King George I of England did take that cruise on the Thames, listening for the first time to this glorious music.

Happily — thanks to Thomas Edison and all the inventive people who came before and after him — in this modern age, we commoners can listen to Water Music played by the best musicians in the world at the push of a button, or a click on the keyboard:

Though written in a completely different context, Shakespeare’s words in Sonnet 29 do express my thanks for Handel’s great gift to all of us:

…Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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