The Late Baroque Era (1700-1750) Johann Sebastian Bach (1685

The Late Baroque Era (1700-1750)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
 Arnstadt (1703-07) — Organ music
 Mühlhausen (1707-08) — Organ music
 Weimar (1708-17) — Organ music
 Cöthen (1717-23) — Instrumental ensemble music, keyboard music, court music, instructional
 Leipzig (1723-50) — Sacred music, as well as purely instrumental music
Cantata: A multi-movement work for soloists, choir and instrumentalists set to a combination of biblical
and poetic text. Generally 5-8 movements with arias, recitatives and ensemble movements.
Chorale: A congregational hymn of the German Lutheran Church.
Example: Bach Cantata, No. 140, Wachet auf , I and IV
George Friedrich Handel (1685-1759)
Born and educated in Halle Germany 1685
Hired as violinist in Hamburg in 1703
First opera, Almira, performed there in 1705
Sent for further study in Venice and Florence, to 1710
Employed as court musician at Hanover in 1710
Goes to England, 1710-1711 and again in 1712
Finds support from English nobility and fails to return to his German employer, Elector Georg
Religious subject
Abundant choruses
No staging or costumes
Israel in Egypt (1739)
Messiah (1742)
Samson (1743)
Semele (1744)
Judas Maccabaeus (1747)
Solomon (1749)
Jephtha (1752)
Recitatives: secco and accompagnato.
Arias: Mainly da capo. In Handel’s music, the A and B may be comprised of several smaller units to
soften the divisions between sections.
Example: G. F. Handel, “Rejoice greatly” (aria) and “Hallelujah” (chorus), from Messiah (1742).
Baroque Orchestra
Baroque orchestras are actually chamber ensembles, often much smaller than the orchestras we are
accustomed to seeing.
Instrumental flourished in the Baroque era – solo music, chamber music and orchestral music
The period saw many developments and improvements to instruments, and composers wrote
increasingly for them
The chamber suite was one such genre
Suite: an international genre of music comprised of a sequence of stylized dance movements. Most of
the dances – Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Minuet, Gigue – are based on courtly dances. The
number of movements varies and the entire work is sometimes prefaced with an Overture.
Example: G. F. Handel, Water Music, Suite in D major (1717)
The Toccata
1. Improvisatory Section
2. Transitional Sections
3. Fugal sections
Example: J. S. Bach, Prelude and Fugue in A Minor, BWV 543 (NAWM 96)
Where do the musical terms come from?
Cantata : from the Italian verb “cantare”, meaning “to sing”
Sonata : from the Italian verb “sonare”, meaning “to sound” or “to play”
Toccata : from the Italian verb “toccare”, meaning “to touch”
Fugue : from the Latin verb “fugere”, meaning “to flee”. Same origins as the word “fugitive”.
Example:Bach, Contrapunctus 1, from The Art of |Fugue
 A favourite form of instrumental music in the later Baroque.
 From concertare, meaning to “struggle” or “fight” (Italian) and to “cooperate” (Latin)
 The basic musical principle is to set a large ensemble against a small ensemble or a soloist
 Normally a work in three movements (Fast-Slow-Fast
 Fast movements show off the technical ability of the soloist(s), the slow movements show off
the more musical or lyrical talents of the soloist(s).
1. Concerto Grosso: (pl. Concerti grossi)
2. Solo Concerto
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
 Ca. 50 operas, over 230 solo violin concertos, over 120 solo concertos for other instruments, ca.
40 double concertos, ca. 100 sonatas of various types, and numerous sacred compositions
 Two-thirds of the concertos are for solo instruments; some are extremely virtuosic
 His concertos are full of rhythmic energy, harmonic imagination, skilled orchestration
 One of the leading violin positions at St Marks
Ritornello Form
 From the Italian word for something that “returns”
 The ritornello in a concerto is the orchestral passage that constantly returns in whole or in part.
 The soloists’ material appears as “episodes” of contrasting musical material between the
 The concerto plays on the Baroque love for contrast, extremes, and virtuosity.
 The term used to describe where all instruments play together is tutti (all) or ripieno (full).
Example: A. Vivaldi, Violin Concerto in E major, Op. 8, no. 1, “The spring”, I (1725)
Example: J. S. Bach, Brandenburg Concerto Nr. 5 (BWV 1050), first movement (Excerpts)