The Music for the Royal Fireworks is a wind band suite composed by George Frideric Handel for the fireworks in London's Green Park on 27 April 1749. It was to celebrate the end of the War of the Austrian Succession and the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) in 1748.
Against Handel's will, there was a full rehearsal of the music at Vauxhall Gardens and not in Green Park. On 21 April 1749 an audience claimed to be over twelve thousand people, each paying two shillings and six pence (half a crown) rushed for it, causing a three-hour traffic jam of carriages on London Bridge, the only vehicular route to the area south of the river.
Six days later, on 27 April, the performing musicians were in a specially constructed building that had been designed by Servandoni, a theatre designer, who used four Italians to assist him. The fireworks themselves were devised and controlled by Gaetana Ruggieri and Giuseppe Sarti, both from Bologna. Charles Frederick was the controller, captain Thomas Desaguliers was the chief fire master. The display was not as successful as the music itself: the weather was rainy causing many misfires and in the middle of the show the right pavilion caught fire. Also, a woman's clothes were set on alight by a stray rocket and other fireworks burned two soldiers and blinded a third. Yet another soldier had blown his hand off during an earlier rehearsal for the 101 cannons which were used during the event.
Which English monarch commissioned the work?
This article is from our news archive. As a result pictures or videos originally associated with it may have been removed and some of the content may no longer be accurate or relevant.