NewCA Blog How To
View Cart
Use Facebook login
LOGOUT  Welcome

Baroque Celebration

Baroque Celebration
Discover Music of the Baroque Era
Various Artists


Rel. 1 Mar 2005

Sample Album Track
Add to Cart
Baroque Celebration Concert
Play a "1-Click Concert™"

The music of the Baroque era (c.1600-1750) remains exceedingly popular with audiences and artists alike, with an output of new recordings produced each month that equals or even surpasses that devoted to any other period of classical music history. This “Baroque Celebration” thus begins our series of features devoted to the eight principal periods of music history, whereby we invite our visitors – regardless of experience – to explore and discover the many composers and works that exalt the era, and some of the outstanding artists that successfully bring it to our ears today. Specifically, this Feature includes a brief written Baroque Overview, as well as a useful index of key composers, works, and artists – each of which is linked to the related page on our site. In addition, we provide a 2-hour chronologically-based 1-Click Concert (full streams available to our subscribers only), a featured “sampler” album, and a set of “Baroque” videos.

“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.”
– Johann Sebastian Bach

Baroque Overview

The French word "baroque" means "misshapen pearl", which suggests the generally ornate and stylized approach to works of art, architecture, and music during these years. This is the period that saw the birth of opera, as well as the rise of purely instrumental forms such as the concerto and sonata; it is also the period in which modern-day harmony (major and minor keys, modulation, etc.) was developed. Musically, this was a tremendously dynamic and experimental period, one in which the expression of human emotion became a primary goal of musical creation - often subsumed under the phrase "doctrine of affections". Given the length of the era, it is hard to speak of a single musical thread that runs throughout, with the possible exception of the thoroughbass or Continuo accompaniment (generally harpsichord and cello or double bass) that is found in works ranging from the operas of Claudio Monteverdi to the concertos of J.S. Bach.

As such, it may be easier to divide the Baroque into three sub-periods: Early (c.1600-1650), in which the chromaticism and instrumental experiments of the late Renaissance were richly and freely continued; Middle (c.1650-1700), which saw the rise of such prominent genres as the trio sonata and the da capo Aria; and Late (c.1700-1750), in which the more familiar genres of the sonata and concerto came into being, and reached tremendous heights in the works of the 3 masters all born in 1685: J.S. Bach, George Frideric Handel, and Domenico Scarlatti. The highly stylized and elaborate nature of the musical discourse in these later years eventually gave rise to a reaction among younger composers, leading to a new style developing in the 1730s and 40s - and into a new era we call the Classical period.

Principal Baroque Composers

Here is a list of some of the principal composers of the Baroque era, divided roughly into the three sub-periods discussed above.

Early Baroque (c.1600-1650)
Giulio Caccini (c.1550-1618)
Giovanni Gabrieli (c.1554-1612)
John Dowland (c.1563-1626)
Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)

Middle Baroque (c.1650-1700)
Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672)
Johann Jakob Froberger (1616-67)
Jean-Baptiste de Lully (1632-87)
Dietrich Buxtehude (c.1637-1707)
Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)
Henry Purcell (1659-95)
Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725)

Late Baroque (c.1700-1750)
François Couperin (1668-1733)
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Jean Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)

Key Baroque Works

Here is a short, and quite partial list of some of the many masterpieces of the Baroque era, again divided roughly into the three sub-categories discussed above. Use this list as a springboard for further musical exploration. In addition, please enjoy the 1-Click Concert above, which is in large part based upon these selections.

Early Baroque (c.1600-1650)
Caccini, Amarilli mia bella (madrigal)
Gabrieli, Canzone et Sonate, GG.195-214 (instrumental works)
Dowland, Flow my tears (madrigal)
Monteverdi, Orfeo, SV318 (opera)
Monterverdi, Vespro della beata Vergine, SV206 (sacred vocal work)

Middle Baroque (c.1650-1700)
Schütz, Geistliche Chormusik, Op.11 (motets)
Lully, Armide, LW71 (opera)
Buxtehude, Passacaglia in D-, BuxWV161
Corelli, Concerto grosso in G-, Op.6, No.8 ('Christmas Concerto')
Corelli, Violin Sonata in D-, Op.5, No.12 ('La folia')
Pachelbel, Canon and Gigue in D ('Pachelbel's Canon')
Purcell, Dido and Aeneas, Z.626 (opera)
Purcell, Hail, bright Cecilia (Ode for St. Cecilia's Day), Z.328

Late Baroque (c.1700-1750)
F. Couperin, Ordre 6 in Bb (from Pieces de clavecin, Book 2)
Vivaldi, La primavera, Op.8, No.1 (Spring; from The Four Seasons)
Vivaldi, Violin Concerto in A-, Op.3, No.6 (from 'L'estro armonico')
Telemann, Suite in A- for Recorder and Strings, TWV55:a2
Rameau, Pièces de clavecin
Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No.2 in F, BWV1047
Bach, Goldberg Variations, BWV988
Bach, Passion According to St. Matthew, BWV244
Handel, Messiah, HWV56 (standard version)
Handel, Xerses, HWV40 (opera)
Handel, Concerto grosso in G, Op.6, No.1, HWV319
D. Scarlatti, Sonata in E, K.380, L.23 ('Cortege')
D. Scarlatti, Sonata in D-, K.9, L.413 ('Pastorale')

Top Baroque Artists

Here is a short and quite partial list of the many outstanding artists (conductors, soloists, chamber groups, orchestras) featured on Classical Archives who specialize in performing music of the Baroque era.

Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (orchestra)
American Brass Quintet (chamber ensemble)
Capella Istropolitana (ensemble)
Emma Kirkby (soprano)
La Serenissima (ensemble)
Paul O'Dette (lute)
Andrew Parrott (conductor)
Philharmonia Baroque (orchestra)
Helmuth Rilling (conductor)

© 1994-2022 Classical Archives LLC — The Ultimate Classical Music Destination ™