introduction to baroque period of music
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Shakespeare HamletCervantes Don QuixoteMilton Paradise LostDefoe Robinson CrusoeSwift Gullivers Travels
King James Bible 1611Galileo 1610 Earth revolves around the sun.Thirty Years War (1618-1648)Newton Principal MathematicaWitchcraft Trials in Salem 1692
Louis XIV1638-1715 (reigned for 72 years)
The Palace at VersaillesVersaillesLandscapingHall of MirrorsExtravagance
MonteverdiArcangelo CorelliHenry PurcellAntonio VivaldiGeorge Frideric HandelJohann Sebastian Bach
10-40 musiciansUpper Strings 1st and 2nd Violin, ViolaBasso Continuoharpsichord plus cello, double bass or bassoon
BrasstrumpetshornstrombonesPercussion timpani/kettle drums)
Baroque Operaa French critic, late 1600s said:Opera is a bizarre affair made up of poetry and music, in which the poet and the musician, each equally obstructed by the other, give themselves no end of trouble to produce a wretched work.began as a combo of dance scenes, lyrical music and plot based upon courtly love.
Opera was illegal in Rome in the early 1700s. an English critic, 1872:Opera is to be regarded musically, philosophically, and ethically, as an almost unmixed evil.How evil is opera??
Baroque Instrumental MusicThis is the first time that we see instrumental music sharing the same stature as vocal music.For the first time, there was a clear separation of Vocal and Instrumental music
Baroque Instrumental Practice
There were no classics, so contemporary composers were very prolificVirtuosity (music that shows off the technical skills of the performer)
Keyboard MusicEqual tempered tuning
Keyboard InstrumentsThree main instrumentsOrgan: sacred venues and some home chapelsTracker ActionGreat, positive, and portative organHarpsichord: basso continuo for orchestra and dance music. Solo instrument. Strings plucked by a Plectrum.Clavichord: strings struck by hammers made originally from bone. Precursor to the piano.
Positive organ Portative organ
Harpsichord, ca. 1675 Made by Michele Todini Rome, ItalyHarpsichord
InnovationsInstrument building familiesStradivarius, Guarneri, and AmatiStringsCat gutSlightly different playing technique.bowingWoodwinds: mellow sound as opposed to a more brassy sound in modern times.
InnovationsBrassOriginally a military instrument for signalsWithout valvesKey changes made by inserting longer or shorter crooks in the horn.
Violin, 1693Made by Antonio Stradivari (16441737) Cremona, Italy
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
The Life of J.S. BachBorn in Eisenach, Germany, which was also the birthplace of Martin Luther. Bachs family supplied musicians (agents)The Bach family was made up of more than 70 composers and performers in Germany from the 16th to the early 19th centuries.Orphaned at age of 10, raised by his older brother.Brother was an organist and Bachs first music teacher (family apprenticeship)
Bach as a young man
Bach: prolific & complexWrote over 1000 musical pieces in every genre except operaCantatas (1 per week for 8 years)Public complained for his flowery musicMusicians felt his music too difficult
Bachs SignatureJ.S.Bach (musical) cross. Bach signed himself with a single note (using 4 different pitches)
B: Left staff (treble clef) A: Upper staff (tenor clef) C: Right staff (alto clef) H: Lower staff (treble clef)
Bachs WorkChurch MusicianWrite music for servicesPlay organTeach choirsTeach soloistsConduct orchestra, choirsCourt MusicianWrote music for entertainmentWrote commissioned piecesSchool teacherOrgan teacherOrgan construction consultantComposersacred & secular musicHusband/father
This is a picture of one of the churches in Leipzig where Bach worked. He was responsible for all music in all 4 churches in the town.St. Thomas Church and School
Since the best man could not be obtained, mediocre ones would have to be accepted.
-Leipzig town council member commenting on the hiring of Bach
In 1707, Bach married his cousin, Maria Barbara. They had 7 children. She died in 1721. The same year, he married Anna Magdalena Wilken, who was a professional singer. They ended up having 13 more children during their marriage.
It is interesting to see that Bach did not travel much during his lifetime and stayed within a small area of Germany.
GermanyBachs life and work
By 1748 Bach was nearly blind from cataracts.In March and April of 1750, he was operated on by the English oculist John Taylor. The operations and the treatment that followed them may have hastened Bach's death. Johann Sebastian Bach died on July 28, 1750.
Did you know?
Bach shares his birth year with G.F.Handel. Handel also had cataract surgery performed by oculist John Taylor. American composer, Edward MacDowell said, "Bach and Handel were in every way quite different, except that both were born in the same year and killed by the same doctor.
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
George Fredric Handelborn in Halle, GermanyFather was a wealthy barber/surgeon that believed that Handel should never enter the music field. Born Georg Friedrich Hndel, Handel anglicized the spelling of his name after becoming a British citizen in 1727. Handel never married.
HanoverHe traveled to London to stage his opera, which was very well receivedThe next time he went to London, he just stayedHe was dismissed by the Elector of HanoverThe elector of Hanover, was crowned King George I of England in 1714. Oops!
Handels Water Music 1717An offering to King George I after irritating His Serene Highness.Music for an outing on the Thames river.His former salary (in Hanover) was doubled
OratorioBaroque vocal piece.Multi-movementFirst oratorios were sacred operas.
OratorioEventually stripped of staging and costumes etc.At the end of the Baroque it was simply a non-staged event. Middle and late oratorio used no acting, staging, costumes. -- Concert version.Based upon a biblical story
Messiah (1742)Premiered in Dublin, Ireland.Composed in 24 days.Has been performed every year since its premiere in 1742. Libretto: Biblical verses divided in three parts: Christmas, Easter, Redemption
Concert etiquette for MessiahWhy stand at the Hallelujah Chorus.Tradition or Religious significance?King George
the Top 10 (possible) reasonsthe king was awakened by the loud chords of the beginning of the chorushe was tired of sittinghe was hard of hearing and thought they were playing God Save the Kinghe had gout and stood for reliefhe arrived late and all stood when he entered
he had hemorrhoids and stood for reliefhe had to go to the bathroomhe mistook the words And he shall reign forever and ever to be a personal tributehe thought the chorus was so splendid that he assumed it marked the end of the showhe was actually moved and inspired to stand
Handels last yearshe lost his eyesight during the last years of his lifeHe had the same physician who treated Bach!
Handelburied in Westminster AbbeyNote the wrong date on the grave marker.
Handel is the greatest composer who ever lived. I would bare my head and kneel at his grave.
- Ludwig Van Beethoven
Antonio Vivaldi: 1678 1741Composer in one of four of the most important music schools of Italy (and Europe)Called The Red Priest because of his red hair
Vivaldis Musical StyleVivaldi is credited for helping to free instrumental style from vocal style.Each piece is used as a teaching tool to create virtuosity in the players of the orphanage and music school.Most famous piece: The Four Seasons
***The Union of Earth and Water Rubensvan Rijn's Nicolaes Tulp, - Rembrandt**Louis XIV as a young man and the picture shown in your textbook. *******Tragedie lyrique French form of operaFrench required that significant importance of ballet and drama be maintained, or they would not have accepted the new form, operaGrout says: serious plots from ancient mythology or chivalric tales with frequent diversions, long interludes of dancing and choral singing.**Abbey Church at Amorbach with Pipe Organ*The great composers: Bach, Handel, Couperin, Vivaldi, Scarlati, Corelli were all instrumental virtuosi. *The creation of equal temperament (the division of the octave into 12 equally spaced notes) meant that composers could write in any key for the keyboard for the first time.
**Tracker action means that all of the connections in the organ are mechanical instead of electricalThe positive organ was smaller than the great ones, for smaller churches. The portative organ was used in processions but it was also associated with secular music and it would have been used to accompany dance and other itinerant festivities. This portable organ was carried, strapped to the player who pumped with one hand and played with the other. The positive and great organs required someone other than the organist to operate the bellows.
*Positive Organ Johann Hencke Vienna, c. 1740 Angel plays portative organ *Baroque Organs*Description This gilded case encloses an Italian harpsichord of typical design but unusual length. Decorated with a frieze depicting the Triumph of Galatea and su