Royal Fireworks

Works of Handel, Telemann and Arne

Arion Baroque Orchestra welcomes British harpsichordist and conductor Steven Devine with a definite bang, for his first visit with us to Montreal, namely with the performance of Handel’s celebrated Music for the Royal Fireworks. Handel’s pyrotechnics and pomp will be balanced, and courteously quenched, by the enchanting grace notably of Telemann’s own “Water Music.”



Our egalitarian and relaxed era is often wary of the old pomp, which seams synonymous to heaviness and refers to outdated splendors. And yet, at the time of Handel, the word "pompous" was anything but pejorative: it referred to "magnificent" and exciting shows, but also to tragic representations, for which a noble and elegant style was necessary. This lecture will show it is possible to find today the pleasure of baroque pomp, without stiffness or false grandiloquence. With the help of illustrations and testimonials, we will attempt to bring back to life this theatrical and festive culture, where fireworks, water features, carrousels and temporary architectures had an aesthetic and political role. We will also talk of the "great" style in music, as it manifests itself especially in the French overtures, to discover its wealth, its subtleness and its variety. If pomp still moves us today, it is because she never comes alone, but is rather accompanied by virtuoso outbursts and surprising contrasts, which the use of ancient instruments - fragile flutes, spluttering trumpets! - contributes to emphasise.

Philippe Gervais, Art History and Literature professor at the Montreal Music Conservatory and the Maisonneuve College.


*The lecture will be given in French.

Concert program

G.F. Handel : Overture and from Occasional Oratorio HWV62

Thomas Arne : Concerto for harpsichord n°5 in G minor

G.P. Telemann : Suite in D TWV 55:D19

G.P. Telemann : Overture in C: "Hamburger Ebb' und Flut" TWV 55:C3          Listen here

G.F. Handel : Music for the Royal Fireworks HWV 351       Listen here


Meet Steven Devine, guest conductor and soloist from United Kingdom HERE

Concert date

Friday, May 13, 2016 - 20:00
Saturday, May 14, 2016 - 16:00
Sunday, May 15, 2016 - 14:00

Guest Artist(s)

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Steven Devine

Steven Devine enjoys a busy career as a music director and keyboard player working with some of the finest musicians.

He made his London conducting debut in 2002 at the Royal Albert Hall and is now a regular performer there - including makin...

See the full biography of Steven Devine