Listen now 30 mins
'The Peace is signed between us, France, and Holland, but does not give the least joy; the stocks do not rise, and the merchants are unsatisfied.in short, there has not been the least symptom of public rejoicing; but the government is to give a magnificent firework.
(Horace Walpole to Horace Mann, 24 October 1748)'
Handel was commissioned by King George II to compose an orchestral work to accompany a lavish firework display to celebrate the end of Austrian War of Succession.
It was the most spectacular display of fireworks ever seen and crowds queued for hours to enter the park. The festivities went on for nine hours with part of the pavilion catching fire.
Christopher Hogwood, Graham Sheen, Ruth Rostron and Nicolas Bell join Frances Fyfield around the manuscript to look at Handel's original intentions in one of his most popular orchestral works. Included with the artefacts is a pamphlet detailing the order of the firework display. It makes the millennium firework celebrations look puny by comparison!
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