The Baroque Masters lecture performance by Dr. Yelena Grinberg showcased a selection of keyboard works composed during the Baroque Ear (1600-1750) by t Baroque Masters George Frederic Handel, Domenico Scarlatti, and Johann Sebastian Bach. The ideal of the Baroque period was that music should not only be pleasing, but it must also induce very strong, visceral emotions and stir the passions of the soul. Some important features of the Baroque ear are the precise and elevated rhythms, clear and defined meter, irregular or embellished melodies, and an enriched and unified texture which was he together by the ongoing ground bass known as basso continuo. Although each of these Baroque Masters composed music that was highly reflective of the Baroque Period, they each had their own style and flair, making their compositions equally enjoyable, but very different.
The first composition played was G.F Handle’s Chaccone in G Major. Handle was a German born composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming well known for his oratorios, anthems, operas and organ concertos. Throughout his life as a composer, Handle published sixteen keyboard suites; the Chaccone in G major is the second of these suites. Unlike other composers like Bach, Handel’s melodies were simple; he did not use rigorous contrapuntal techniques. Handles Chaconne is in the form of a Saraband, a Spanish dance cast in triple meter. The form of Handles Chaconne was ground bass variation following the pattern A-A1,A2,A3 and so on. Variation forms are among the simplest and most characteristic of Baroque forms. It projects the baroque desire for systematic, clear cut rhythms. Variation form entails the successive, uninterrupted repetition of one clearly defined melod...
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...d and the composers who wrote them. Each piece was composed in a way that expletory of the Baroque Era, whether it is because of its form, harmony, rhythm or so on. Yet each composer was able to add their own unique style to their pieces, making each piece performed drastically different from one another. Some pieces, such as the ones by Bach and Scarlatti actually paved the way to the next era in music, the Classical Period. Aside from the musical aspects of the performance, I enjoyed that the performance was small and there was not an overwhelming amount of people. This allowed everyone to hear Dr. Grinberg when she spoke about the historical context of each Baroque piece and master, as well as when she played each piece at the piano. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and feel that it has deepened my appreciation for the music and composers of this time period.
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