1. Allegro Maestoso
When I was asked by the National Trust to write a piece for the opening of the Stratford Canal, to be played by a group of musicians on a raft moored on the River Avon, I was overjoyed because this combined two great personal interests of mine. That of preserving the beauty of our countryside and the problem of music played in the open air.
It has always seemed to me that music should be specially composed for open-air performance rather than having the usual music we have played in the open air, consisting of operatic selections and light orchestral music often indifferently arranged. This suite of three movements is a free transcription of the original music which I have made for full orchestra. The original was for wind and percussion only. The carrying out of this commission, for which I have been made a life member of the National Trust, has been a great joy and I hope that some of this pleasure I have had will be shared by listeners to this Water Music.
© 1964 Sir Malcolm Arnold