Theme from La Réjouissance (G. F. Handel), arr. J. Hill
These days anyone can access original manuscripts for most public-domain works. The free Petrucci Music Library made it easy for me to track down Handel’s original score for La Réjouissance from his suite Music for the Royal Fireworks. If I wasn’t sure about a note, I could just zoom in and take a close look. Amazing. My arrangement for Ukulele Hot Springs stays as true to the original as possible while making some changes to accommodate an ensemble with three distinct skill levels. In order to preserve as much of Handel’s intent as possible I split the advanced and intermediate groups in two, which is why you see five parts in the score (downloads available below).
Notice the levels of difficulty: Beginner players strum some basic chords, while intermediate players pick melody but never leave the comfort of the first four frets. Meanwhile, advanced players are picking agile melodies that take them high into the “dusty frets.”
The proof is in the playing; the practice recording that students used to prepare for Ukulele Hot Springs is embedded above (and the notation appears in the Fall 2018 issue of Ukulele). Feel free to try it with your own ensemble!