Microblog

Baroque Music (1600 - 1750)

Fun fact: the term 'baroque’ comes from the word 'barroco’, meaning 'oddly shaped pearl’. Many of the well known composers from the early Baroque period came from Italy, including Monteverdi, Corelli and Vivaldi. However, by the end of the baroque period it was German composers such as Bach and Handel whose stars were in the ascendent.

Many forms of music came to prominence in the baroque era and have remained with us ever since: Opera — a staged drama with costumes, scenery and action; Oratorio — a musical drama based on a religious text, performed 'dry' (without scenery, costumes or action); Cantata — a religious choral work in several sections, including soloists and choir; Sonata — a work for instruments in several movements; Concerto — a work for a soloist (or group of soloists) and a larger ensemble.

This period saw the birth of a system known as equal temperament — a way of standardising all keys in a way that had not been possible before. Bach celebrated this new system by creating a suite of keyboard works known as 'The Well-Tempered Klavier’ and we have included the first of these pieces on our playlist.

Musical virtuosity really took off in this era, with pieces like Bach’s 'Brandenburg Concertos' featuring a group of soloists with a larger ensemble accompaniment. And did you know that Vivaldi’s 'The Four Seasons' is actually a series of violin concertos that feature prodigious instrumental pyrotechnics?

Key Composers

Arcangelo Corelli

Antonio Vivaldi

Alessandro Scarlatti

Francois Couperin

Jean-Baptiste Lully

Georg Philipp Telemann

Johann Sebastian Bach

George Frideric Handel

Antonio Vivaldi

Henry Purcell

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