Water Music Suite (arr Kay)

From Wind Repertory Project
George Frideric Handel

George Frideric Handel (arr. Hershy Kay)

General Info

Year: 1717 / 1950
Duration: c. 12:55
Difficulty: V(see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Wind Band
Publisher: Theodore Presser Co.
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.

For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


1. Allegro
2. Air
3. Minuet
4. Hornpipe
5. Finale


Full Score
C Piccolo
D-flat Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
E-flat Horn or Alto I-II-III-IV
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.

- 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


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

  • Florida: V
  • Georgia: VI
  • Kansas: V
  • Tennessee: VI
  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Metropolitan Wind Symphony (Lexington, Mass.) (Rick Wyman, conductor) - 5 March 2023
  • Callanwolde Concert Band (Atlanta, Ga.) (Glenn Moore, conductor) – 31 March 2019
  • Carthage College (Kenosha, Wisc.) Concert Band (James Ripley, conductor) – 2 December 2018
  • Charlotte (N.C.) Concert Band (Drew Carter, conductor) – 23 April 2017
  • The Mount Orchestra (Brentwood, Calif.) – 5 April 2014

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Handel, G.; Kay, H. (1950). Water Music Suite [score]. Theodore Presser Co.: [s.l.]
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 268.*Smith,