Masters of Baroque Music (1600 – 1750)

Masters of the Baroque (1600-1750) : Discover the seamless beauty of some of the most exquisite music ever written, and how the great composers of this age influenced everything since. We will explore a wide range of works by Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Telemann, Purcell and more on a journey through a revolution of melody, harmony, structure and genre.

This updated course is a repeat of Ben’s 2018 lectures, with the key historical and theoretical content remaining unchanged, but with different musical works used to illustrate it.

1. The Seamless Flow of Baroque Music
Exploring the development of baroque music, in particular the evolution of the ensemble and style, the use of Continuo and the progress in counterpoint and contrapuntal technique.  Works including:
● Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 3 and 4 (Counterpoint)
● Purcell: When I am laid in earth (Ground Bass)
● Vivaldi: Winter from the Four Seasons (Virtuosity)

2. The Development of the Concerto
The Concerto Grosso – the development of the group performance style and an exploration of Concertino and Ripieno/Solo and Tutti. Discover how the virtuosic and flamboyant concertos of the 19th century were influenced by this early form.  Works including:
● Corelli’s op 3 and op 6 and their influence on Handel.
● Vivaldi’s solo concertos and their influence on J.S. Bach

3. Henry Purcell and the English Baroque style
During his short life, Henry Purcell’s experimental style married the ‘new’ influences from France, Italy and Germany with the work of more traditional British composers such as John Blow and Pelham Humfrey. He was a truly versatile musician, writing exquisite sacred music for Westminster Abbey, secular operatic works such as The Fairy Queen and King Arthur and even a range of bawdy drinking songs for the pub after rehearsal!  Works including:
● The Funeral Music for Queen Mary
● Dido and Aeneas
● Rondo from Abdelazer
● Catches and Rounds for the Alehouse

4. Instrumental Music in the Baroque Period – Handel, Telemann, Pachelbel
The small ensemble/instrumental canon grew enormously during the Baroque period, with the development of the style from the early Sonata da Camera to Telemann’s innovative and hugely popular Tafelmusik leading to an explosion of chamber music.  Works including:
● Vivaldi: Sonata da Camera in G minor
● Telemann: Tafelmusik Book 1
● Bach: Trio Sonata in G major BWV 1038

5. The keyboard music of J.S. Bach
The unsurpassed master of contrapuntal music, Johann Sebastian Bach’s influence on music is beyond measure. We will explore Bach’s amazing contribution to keyboard music including:
● Organ works – chorale preludes, toccatas, preludes and fugues
● Keyboard suites
● The Well-Tempered Klavier

6. Vocal and choral masterworks
Some of the best known baroque works are for voice, and this final session on vocal and choral music will explore the finest examples from the period, including:
● The Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah by G.F. Handel
● “Ich habe Genug”, and “Jesus bleibet meine Freude” by J.S. Bach
● “Miserere” by G. Allegri
● “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” from Gloria by A Vivaldi
● Crucifixus by A Lotti

Course Details

This course finished on 15 July 2020