Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks was written for an event on this day in 1749. The event included fireworks … gee, what a surprise! (A bigger surprise at the time, I’m sure, was that a royal fire then occurred, due to the fireworks.)

Instrumentation for the work was “24 oboes, 12 bassoons and a contrabassoon, nine trumpets, nine French horns, three pairs of kettledrums, and an unspecified number of side drums.” (Source is wikipedia so of course it could have errors.)

2 Comments

  1. Too late for the anniversary, but may be of interest: Christopher Hogwood confirms the instrumentation in his Handel book, but additionally mentions a contra-basson and a serpent, which were dropped later. Hervé Niquet recorded this instrumentation with Concert Spirituel for the Glossa label and the booklet mentions the huge work involving re-building sufficiently historic oboes.

  2. Thanks for the info, Guido! I appreciate it!