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Water Music. Instr. suite by Handel, the origin of which is unknown. The legend that Handel wrote it for a royal water party in 1715 to restore himself to favour with King George I is attractive but unsubstantiated. (The King had been Elector of Hanover when Handel had effectively deserted his post as Kapellmeister at Hanover in order to visit Eng., where he settled.) However, it is documented that Handel provided mus. for a royal journey up the Thames on 17 July 1717. No complete autograph score of the mus. exists and contemporary edns. differ in several respects. Some of the movements in autograph exist in earlier versions, so dating the mus. is impossible. About 20 numbers were written, scored for tpts., hns., obs., bns., fls., recorders, and str. Best-known of modern orchestrations is that by Harty.
Water Music. Work by Cage (1952) in which pianist has to make the visual element a major feature of the perf., being provided with radio, whistles, water containers, a pack of cards, and a score mounted like a poster.