Water Music Suite

From Wind Repertory Project
George Frideric Handel

George Frideric Handel (arr. Frank Erickson)

General Info

Year: 1715 / 1985
Duration: 13:36
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $90.00   |   Score Only - $15.00


1. Allegro
2. Aria
3. Air
4. Gigue
5. Hornpipe
6. Coro (Chorus)


Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute I
Flute II
Oboe I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Eb Contrabass Clarinet
BB-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Water Music is undoubtedly one of the most famous and popular of all Handel's instrumental works, consisting of three separate suites. The following is a quote from a report written by an envoy to the British court of George I in 1717.

Some weeks ago, the king expressed a wish to have a concert on the river (Thames). By the side of the royal barge were musicians to the number of 50 who played all kinds of instruments: trumpets, hunting horns, oboes, bassoons, German flutes, French flutes, violins and basses. This concert was composed expressly for the occasion by the famous Handel, native of Halle, the first composer of the king's music. It was so strongly approved by His Majesty that he commanded it to be repeated, once before and one after suppers, although it took an hour for each performance.

This suite for concert band consists of six of the most popular movements.

- Program Note from score

In commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the birthday of Geog Friedrich Handel.

-Program Note from score

Shortly after the ascension of George I to the English throne, Handel was requested to compose some music for the occasion of an aquatic festival given by the king. This festival was held August 22, 1715, on the River Thames. For the occasion Handel wrote a suite of 20-odd pieces which were performed by a band of musicians under his direction. It is interesting to note that he composed the music for a group of wind instruments. Thus, we may regard the suite as an original band work. The musicians were seated upon a barge immediately following that of the king, and played continuously during the voyage from Limehouse to Whitehall.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

  • Florida: V
  • Virginia: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Golden Gate Park Band (San Francisco, Calif.) (Robert Calonico, conductor) - 1 August 2021
  • Western Reserve Community Band (Hudson, Ohio) (Ralph Meyer, conductor) – 16 March 2019
  • Cottonwood Community Band (Sedona, Ariz.) (Sy Brandon, conductor) – 17 March 2019
  • Burbank (Calif.) Community Band (Paulette Westphal, conductor) – 25 February 2017
  • Atascadero (Calif.) Community Band (Randy Schwalbe, conductor) - 2 November 2014
  • Concerto Banda cittadina Madonna di Tirano (Italy) 4 January 2014

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Handel, G.; Erickson, F. (1985). Water Music Suite [score]. Belwin Mills: [Melville, N.Y.]
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 268.