In anticipation of Guy Fawkes Night tomorrow, we have been listening to some explosive music at The Strings Club HQ.
From pieces written especially for firework displays to works inspired by volcanos, fire has been the impetus for some thrilling music over time – and we want to share that with you.
Whether you’re building a bonfire, hosting a firework party or just want something to drown out the loud pops and bangs, here are five of the best pieces of music to listen!
1. George Frideric Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks
In 1749, King George II requested that Handel compose a suite to accompany a grand firework display in London’s Green Park. The work was so highly anticipated that over 12,000 people tried to travel to Vauxhall Gardens to watch a full rehearsal, bringing the surrounding streets to a complete standstill for several hours.
On the day of the firework display, Handel’s music outshined the fireworks themselves – the weather was poor and one of the wooden pavilions built specially for the occasion caught fire.
The music is full of pride and vigour and continues to be frequently performed for stately occasions. At the 2012 Proms Hervé Niquet and French Baroque group, Le Concert Spirituel, performed the work on period instruments.
Take a look at the piece performed at The Proms in 2012 – here.
2. Katy Perry – Firework
When this blasted to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated December 16, 2010, Perry became the first female artist in 11 years to take three straight radio singles from an album to the top of the charts. It is a dance-pop self-empowerment anthem with inspirational lyrics, and Perry felt it was an important song for her on the record.
3. Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 59 in A major ‘Fire’
The nickname ‘Fire’ was not given to his Symphony No. 59 by Haydn himself, but it’s not difficult to see why the name has stuck. With a first movement marked ‘presto’, the work begins with a fast and brave tempo that most composers would use for a climactic final movement.
The energy continues throughout, even in the andante second movement, which crackles with ornamentation above a constantly shifting bass part. The third movement, a minuet and trio, relies on an antiphonal theme between the high and low sections of the orchestra, and the final movement is punctuated with the bright call of horns.
The symphony’s nickname is also supposed to have derived from the fact that it was used as incidental music for Gustav Friedrich Wilhelm Großmann’s play Der Feuersbrunst – or ‘The Conflagration’.
4. Jean Sibelius: Tulen Synty
The myths depicted in the epic Finnish poem Kalevala have inspired countless Nordic artists and Jean Sibelius was no exception. Tulen Synty, which translates as ‘The Origin of Fire’, is a cantata for baritone, male choir and orchestra based on the saga, first performed in 1902.
The soloist’s opening passage laments the struggles faced by the dark land of Kalevala after the theft of the sun, the moon and fire. This sombre section is complimented by a mournful orchestral accompaniment, reflecting the hardships brought upon the land.
When the chief of the gods creates new fire, the chorus are brought in, first quietly smouldering and then, in a glorious crescendo that burns bright.
5. Elton John – Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be a Long, Long Time)
Taken from this year’s epic movie “Rocket Man” – based on the life of Elton John, we absolutely love this track at The Strings Club HQ.
We hope you enjoyed our top 5 tracks above. If you have any you’d like to share, please send us an email and we can post on our social media platforms for everyone to see.