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Handel’s Water Music to be performed at Harbour Festival finale

By jack wilkinson, Monday Jun 19, 2017

This year’s Bristol Harbour Festival will be capped by a 45-minute performance of Handel’s Water Music performed aboard a flotilla of boats on the Floating Harbour.

The performance at 5.30pm on Sunday, July 23 will mark the 300th anniversary of the first ever performance of the famous composition in front of King George I on the Thames.

The Bristol Ensemble will perform the piece in its entirety as dusk falls, with marine flares marking the finale of what is sure to be a stunning spectacle.

Earlier in the day, children from local primary schools will perform a new composition on the ss Great Britain and BBC Radio Bristol stage in Brunel Square.

Roger Huckle, artistic director for the Bristol Ensemble, will direct both performances. He said: “This will be a fantastic event, echoing the first performance of the Water Music which took place on the Thames.

“Our flotilla will set sail from the ss Great Britain, voyaging along the harbourside to the amphitheatre and Museum Square, entertaining the crowds with this wonderful, centuries-old music. It promises to be a wonderful highlight of Bristol Harbour Festival.”

Matthew Tanner, chief executive of the ss Great Britain Trust, added: “The Trust is delighted to be joining with the Bristol Ensemble to put on an ambitious performance on the harbour and celebrate the 300th anniversary almost to the day of the first rendition of this famous piece.

“We are always keen to support Bristol Harbour Festival, so taking the grand finale to the water to be enjoyed by as many Bristol families as possible is guaranteed to be a memorable moment.”

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Main image is a detail of an illustration of Handel Presenting Water Music to King George I

Read more: In photos – Bristol Harbour Festival 2016

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