Handel's Handbell Water Music

adapted/arr. Karl Hitzemann

There isn't really any evidence whatsoever that indicates that George Frederick Handel intended the "Alla Hornpipe" movement from his famous Water Music to include kids' handbells. But then again, there isn't any evidence to suggest that he didn't either. So, we'll go with that! Handel composed this wonderful set of three orchestral suites in 1717. It was first performed on July 17th of that year, after King George I requested a concert on the River Thames. The king watched and listened from a royal barge with various dukes and duchesses, as the musicians played nearby. "Alla Hornpipe" simply means, "like a hornpipe," which is a type of dance. This movement comes from the second of the three suites.

For our arrangement, we have provided a very authentic orchestral recording that will make your players feel like they are part of a real orchestra. In addition to our full and accompaniment tracks on the recording, we are also providing a slower version on our web site. This way, your students can practice at a slower tempo and work their way up to the faster version. For both slow and fast tempos, we are also providing a track with no bell guides. These tracks work well for a classical music listening exercise, because they sound more like the original work. For your performances, feel free to use any kind of diatonic set of instruments, or add others (triangles, tambourines, hand drums, etc.) as you see fit. Please note that in the magazine, we have included the extracted bell part. If you'd like to have a full piano/handbells score as well, it is available on our web site. Play along with the recording or just listen to it. Either way, it's a great tool to introduce your students to classical music from the Baroque period.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.