Today in 1749, 12,000 people heard Handel's Fireworks performed for the first time, with the burning down of the concert pavilion in Green Park (due to the fireworks) adding to the excitement.
Handel was an immigrant to Britain and an entrepreneur, a wonderful musician and a philanthropist. He came to London and spent his whole professional life here because he could stage his music successfully and live independently - and because he did not face a confiscatory tax of 50% plus 13% of his income.
He caused a sensation with his music, kept British musicians and singers employed (not to mention those fireworks manufacturers) and gave generously to the children of the Foundling Hospital.
The BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Band of her majesty's Royal Marines, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis at Buckingham Palace, with fireworks.
Oh! Listening to Handel makes me happy.
It has been 260 years since Handel’s first benefit concert supporting Britain’s first childcare charity, and the Foundling Hospital is celebrating all through May with concerts, exhibitions and talks. Don't miss the May 8th concert of Handel and his rivals.