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Handel's Fireworks Music night at Hampton Court Palace

On the 14th September visitors can enjoy one of Hampton Court Palace’s most anticipated summer events; Handel’s Fireworks Music night. From 7.30pm to 9.30pm a thirty-piece orchestra will entertain guests with Handel’s repertoire, culminating in the impressive Music for the royal fireworks with a spectacular fireworks display in the style of the old Georgian king. Held in the Privy Garden, visitors can admire the restored manicured gardens famous for its symmetry and formality, taking you back in time to 1702. So who was Handel? George Frideric Handel was the great composer of the early 1700s. A German born musician, Handel later moved to England where he met with unrivalled success, having studied and perfected his profession in Italy. He became one of Britain’s most loved and respected Baroque composers, famous for his operas, oratorios and anthems and was even the personal Kapellmeister to (fellow German) Prince George. Heavily influenced by Baroque Italian music Handel went on to found three Italian commercial operas to serve the British nobility and composed more than 40 operas in over 30 years. Did you know that Handel even composed the music to George II’s coronation? It’s even used to this day, especially during the sovereign’s anointing. Handel’s Music for the royal fireworks was composed in 1749, commissioned by George II for a fireworks event he was hosting in Green Park to celebrate the end of the War of the Austrian Succession. At its debut 12,000 people attended which apparently caused a three hour traffic jam at London Bridge. So there’s evidence that it’s quite a hit. Traditionally it’s played by a wind band orchestra; originally 24 oboes, 12 bassoons and a contrabassoon, nine natural trumpets, nine natural horns, three pairs of kettledrums. Those of you in-the-know might also remember it being played for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, complete with fireworks, too. Gates open at 6.30pm and it’s advised to bring petty cash for food and drink stalls dotted around the Privy gardens. To get on the waiting list for this Hampton Court Palace summer event email [email protected] with your name and the number of tickets required. Find out what else is happening at the Glorious Georges summer series.

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