Wasser Musik and River Songs

Musical Archives

Water flows through our lives, reflecting sparkling lights, the loves, the dreams of people from all nations. Wavelets whisper melodies of timeless inspiration.

Georg Friedrich Handel (1685-1759) is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time. His Baroque composition Wasser Musik is one of his best known pieces. In July of 1717 the royal barge of King George I of England was fitted out with food and friends for a float on the River Thames. Floating nearby another barge with an orchestra of 50 musicians was to provide entertainment. The King so enjoyed Handel’s composition Water Music  that he requested it to be played again and again. Three times the orchestra performed Water Music as they floated down the river that summer day.

We have always needed rivers for our health, our homes and our economy. Civilizations rise and fall, times change, men come and go but the river he don’t care, he just keep rolling along. Paul Robeson sings the Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein composition Ol Man River in the 1936 film Showboat.

Johnny Mercer captured the melancholy mood of moving water in his song Moon River. The song was used as the theme for the film Breakfast at Tiffanys. Here is Henry Mancini and his orchestra playing the song on the original LP 1961 recording.

A lot of people have recorded Moon River but one of the most endearing renditions is that of Audry Hepburn singing in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffanys. The song became immensely popular. A variation done in a Cha Cha rythem is indicative of popular trends at that time.

First recorded in 1958 at Sun Studios by Johnny Cash, Big River was a big hit with a big sound. Johnny Cash  recorded Big River again with Bob Dylan during the Dylan Cash Sessions.

Rivers continue to be a theme for musicians in modern music, spanning generations and genres. David Byrne and the Talking Heads give it a go in Take Me To The River  from the early 1980s.

Music to match our every mood, sparkling, bubbly, melancholy, lazy or stormy can probably be found in a song that has a reference to water. One of my favorites is Tom Rush doing River Song. I did not find a good sample on You Tube to include here but if you get a chance give it a listen. This great song has a universal message (I’m partial to most anything by Tom Rush). There are hundreds of songs and lots of Water Music from the world over. Do you have a favorite?

About earthstonestation

promoting environmental education, protecting all species and preserving the wild places with art, music and storytelling.
This entry was posted in the hungry brain, water and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Wasser Musik and River Songs

  1. pendantry says:

    An interesting compilation. I tried playing them all at once, hoping that together they would sound like a babbling brook; but I was unsurprised to be disappointed 🙂

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