Part 1 The Materials of Music


Music Appreciation (MUSI 115)

Class #4

Baroque Music, conclusion

George Frideric Handel


JS Bach……

• "[Handel] is the only person I would wish to see before I die, and the only person I would wish to be, were I not Bach."

George Frideric Handel

• German-born composer of

Italian, French, and

German styles catering to

English audiences

George Frideric Handel

• Studied in Italy

• International career

• Impresario and theater owner

• Made and lost a fortune

• Founded the London and the

Royal Academy of Music

Halle, (West) Germany

Handel’s Vocal Music

• 42 operas*

• 29 oratorios*

• 129 cantatas*

• Expanded dramatic intensity of the chorus*


Instrumental Music

• Prolific composer of instrumental music

• Orchestral suites

▫ Water Music

▫ Music for the



HWV numbers

• Händel-Werke-Verzeichnis

▫ (abbreviated as HWV)

 Catalogue of Handel's Works

▫ London Home


Instrumental Music

Baroque Instruments

• Instrument designs were improved

• Finest violins in history came from shops of




The Baroque Orchestra

 Violin strings made of gut

 Woodwinds made of wood

 valveless, or “natural”

 Horns and trumpets

 Timpani

Baroque Keyboard Instruments

• Organ

• Harpsichord

• Clavichord harpsichord

The Baroque


1. Sonata da camera*

2. Sonata da chiesa*

• Written for 1–8 instruments

• Most often: two violins and continuo*

• Handel Trio sonata*

Baroque Concerto*

• Contrast and unity

• Latin concertare (“to contend with”)

• Opposition of different forces

Two Types of Concerto

#1: Solo Concerto*

Organ concerto

Two Types of Concerto

• #2: Concerto Grosso*

 Harp Concerto

Two orchestral suites* by Handel

Water Music* 1717

• Music for the Royal

Fireworks* 1749

Water Music*, Suite in D major, II

• Royal party on the Thames River in London,

July 17, 1717

• 22 separate stand-alone pieces

▫ Hornpipe

First performance

• April 17, 1717. Daily Courant :

The King took Water at Whitehall in an open Barge ... and went up the [Thames] River towards Chelsea. Many other Barges with

Persons of Quality attended, and so great a Number of Boats, that the whole River in a manner was cover'd; a City Company's Barge was employ'd for the Musick, wherein were 50 instruments of all sorts, who play'd all the Way from Lambeth the finest Symphonies, compos'd express for this Occasion, by Mr. Hendel; which his

Majesty liked so well, that he caus'd it to be plaid over three times in going and returning. At Eleven his Majesty went a-shore at

Chelsea where a Supper was prepar'd, and then there was another very fine Consort of Musick, which lasted till 2; after which, his

Majesty came again into his Barge, and return'd the same Way, the Musick continuing to play till he landed.

Royal Fireworks Music* 1749

• Golden Jubilee in 2002

Two types of vocal music…

• Oratorio*

• Opera*

Oratorio* and Opera* Similarities

• Overture*

• Aria*

Da capo al Fine*

• Recitative*

• Ensemble numbers:

▫ Duet*, (Trio*, Quartet*, etc.)

• Chorus*

Oratorio and Opera Differences

• Language

▫ Italian vs. English

• Staging

• Subject matter

▫ Libretto (Librettist)

▫ Sacred vs. Sacred Text

Baroque Oratorio*

• Oratorio

▫ Performed by solo voices

 Soprano

 Alto

 Tenor

 Bass (or, Baritone)

▫ large chorus (SATB)

▫ orchestra

▫ no staging or costumes

Handel: Messiah*

• Premiered in Dublin in 1742

• Written in 24 days

• Libretto*: in three separate parts

• Compilation of Old and New Testament text

Aria vs. Recitative

• Recitative*

▫ Text is centered on the plot

▫ Simple to sing

▫ No melody or rhythmic complexities

▫ Simple chords accompanied on the harpischord*

• Aria*

▫ Text focuses on the character’s feelings

▫ Highly difficult music requires a virtuoso vocal technique

▫ Memorable tunes

▫ Full orchestral accompaniment

Recitative from Theodora

• Lorraine Hunt Lieberson

Ah! Whither should we fly, or fly from whom?

The Lord is still the same, today, for ever,

And his protection here, and everywhere.

Though gath'ring round our destin'd heads

The storm now thickens, and looks big with fate,

Still shall thy servants wait on Thee, O Lord,

And in thy saving mercy put their trust.

Messiah: Soprano aria “Rejoice greatly

(da capo aria)


Baroque Opera*

The New Genre of the Baroque Era

Large-scale musical drama combining

• Singing

• Plot (Secular)

• Acting

• Scenery

• Costumes

• Instrumental music

Baroque Opera: Semele

Voice assignments*

• Soprano

• Alto

▫ Mezzo-Soprano or Contralto

 Replacing castrati

• Tenor

• Baritone/Bass

Julius Cesare (1724)

• Montserrat Caballe

▫ “Vadoro pupille”


• Fell out of popularity after his death

• Original instruments revival (1970s)

Bel Canto revival (1960s)


CD #1, Track “Hallelujah” Chorus from

Messiah (HWV 56)

• Listen for…

▫ Enormous, vertical columns of sound;

▫ SATB voicing

▫ Full orchestral sound

▫ Minimal contrapuntal motion

Back to Bach…

The Passion According To St. John (1724)

▫ Recitative: “…Then Peter thought about the words of Jesus. He went out and he began to sob bitterly…”


Contrapuntal Devices


Retrograde: Retrograde inversion:

Augmentation: Diminution: