The Baroque Era

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The Baroque Era

The Baroque era was a unique period in music that began during the 1600's and ended around 1750. The word "baroque" is define by Merriam's Collegiate Dictionary as, "of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a style of artistic expression prevalent esp. in the 17th century that is marked generally by use of complex forms, bold ornamentation, and the juxtaposition of contrasting elements often conveying a sense of drama, movement, and tension." The word "baroque" has been used to indicate paintings, poems, architecture, literature, and all else that is dynamic and astonishing.

The Baroque time was filled with musical geniuses. People like Franz Josef Haydn, George Frideric Handel, and Claudio Monteverdi. All of these people were amazing when holding an instrument, sitting at a piano, or writing on manuscript paper, but the finished products were and always will be superb. Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi were among these musical prodigies.

Johann Sebastian Bach was born into a family of musicians on March 21, 1685 in Eisenbach, Germany and is considered to have been the greatest composer of western music. According to Classical Net Resources, "Bach's main achievement lies in his synthesis and advanced development of the primary contrapuntal idiom of the late baroque, and the music tunefullness of his thematic material." Bach began his career as a court organist and quickly moved to become a church organist. In 1717, Bach moved to Cothen as court conductor to the young Prince Leopold. This was Bach's first position outside of the church and he directed and composed for the prince's small orchestra for six years. It was during these years that he composed the Brandenberg Concertos....

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...usic. Vivaldi died in July 1741. While the Italian composer was a major figure in Baroque music, he died in poverty and his work was forgotten for a century after his death. Johann Sebastian Bach showed exactly how talented he believed Vivaldi to be when he arranged a number of his concertos for the keyboard. Bach, a talented composer need not use the work of others, yet he took it upon himself to use the previously done work of Antonio Vivaldi. Both composers remain two of the highly regarded composer and musicians of the Baroque period and their music offers the listener a trip back into the seventeenth century.


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