Handel, Music for the Royal Fireworks

po_Handel-George-Frideric6The Music for the Royal Fireworks is a wind band suite composed by George Frideric Handel in 1749 under contract of George II of Great Britain for the fireworks in London’s Green Park on April 27, 1749. It was to celebrate the end of the War of the Austrian Succession and the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748.

The performing musicians were in a specially constructed building that had been designed by Servandoni, a theatre designer. The music provided a background for the royal fireworks that were designed by Thomas Desguliers, son of the cleric and scientist John Theophilus Desaguliers. However, the display was not as successful as the music itself: the enormous wooden building caught fire after the collapse of a bas relief of George II. However, the music had been performed publicly six days earlier, on 21 April 1749 when there was a full rehearsal of the music at Vauxhall Gardens. Over twelve thousand people, each paying 2/6, rushed for it, causing a three-hour traffic jam of carriages after the main route to the area south of the river was closed due to the collapse of the central arch of newly built London Bridge.