From Chapter 5 (Baroque)
MUSIC in the BAROQUE
Featured COMPOSERS and WORKS
MONTEVERDI L'Orfeo (opera)
PURCELL Dido and Aeneas (opera)
CORELLI Trio Sonatas
The Four Seasons (concerto)
J.S. BACH Cantata No. 140 "Little" Fugue in G minor
Rise of Instrumental Music
Violin family developed in Italy; Orchestra begins to develop
BAROQUE VOCAL GENRES
BAROQUE INSTRUMENTAL GENRES
CANTATA MASS and MOTET
(Solo Concerto & Concerto Grosso) SONATA
(Trio Sonata) SUITE
(Keyboard Suite & Orchestral Suite)
MULTI-MOVEMENT DESIGNS based on opposition
Forms based on opposition RITORNELLO BINARY
Contrapuntal Forms CANON and FUGUE
The Baroque style is characterized by an intense interest in DRAMATIC CONTRAST and expression, greater COUNTRAPUNTAL complexity, and the RISE OF INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC.
Forms Commonly Used in Baroque Music
Binary Form: A vs B
Ritornello Form: TUTTI • SOLO • TUTTI • SOLO • TUTTI (etc)
"Tu sei morta" from L'Orfeo 12 Opera 1607 Music Guide by Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567–1643) Monteverdi—the first great composer of the Baroque, is primarily known for his early opera L'Orfeo. This work is based on the tragic Greek myth of Orpheus—a mortal shepherd with a god-like singing voice. (In Greek mythology, Orpheus was the son of Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, and the sun-god, Apollo). Orfeo marries his childhood sweetheart, Euridice, then during the wedding reception, she goes off in search for a flower garland for her hair, only to be bitten fatally by a poisonous snake. Euridice is then taken to the underworld—the land of the dead. TEXT/TRANSLATION: Tu sei morta, sé morta mia vita, ed io respiro; Tu sé da me partita, sé da me partita per mai piu, mai piu non tornare, ed io rimango? No! No! che se i versi alcuna cosa ponno, n'andrò sicuro á più profondi abissi, e, intenerito il cor del re de l'ombre, meco trarotti a riverder le stelle, o se ciò negherammi empio destino, rimarrò teco in compania di morte.
Addio terra, addio cielo, e sole, addio.
In this listening excerpt, Orfeo has just received the tragic news, and in desperation he vows to go down to Hades himself in order to convince Pluto (the god of darkness) to return Euridice to life. Orfeo's request is granted eventually, but only under the condition that he not gaze upon Euridice's face until she gets above ground. Unfortunately, Euridice stumbles while climbing the treacherous stairway leading out of Hades, and when Orfeo glances back to see if she is all right, she is lost to him forever.
You are dead my precious life, yet I still breathe. You are taken from me, you've left me forever,
never to return, yet I remain here ? No! No!, if my songs have any power within them
I will go down to the abyss of death, There, I will melt the heart of the King of Shadows,
and bring you back with me to see the stars again. Or if it's my cruel destiny,
I'll remain there with you in the company of the dead. Goodbye earth, goodbye sky and sun, farewell. . .
"Dido's Lament" from Dido and Aeneas
by Henry PURCELL (c. 1659–95)
Basic DESIGN of this excerpt:
T h y h a n d , B e l i n d a , d a r k n e s s s h a d e s m e , RECITATIVE On thy bosom let me rest; with only More I would, but death invades me; Death is now a welcome guest basso continuo accompaniment
No apparent meter
with full orchestra
When I am laid, am laid in earth, May my wrongs create no trouble in thy breast.
Remember me! . . . But,ah! forget my fate, Remember me ! . . . But, ah, forget my fate.
Aria has a steady METER;
Low bass-note "OSTINATO"
During the aria section, this descending ostinato figure repeats over and over in the bass,
reflecting Dido's unending despair.
Trio Sonata 1689
Trio Sonata in D major, Op. 3, No. 2
by Arcangelo CORELLI (1653–1713)
A diagram of the basic imitative texture of the 4th movement:
(canonic imitation) Violin 1
Corelli, who worked in Rome during the middle Baroque period, was one of the first composers to write for the modern violin family, and the first to write more music for instruments than for voices. He is especially known today for his concerto grossos and trio sonatas. HisTrio Sonata in D major has the following
SLOW, 4/4 meter
FAST, 4/4 meter
SLOW, 3/2 meter
FAST, 6/8 meter
Most of the movements of this work feature direct imitation between the violins (and sometimes even the cello of the basso continuo joins in on the imitative dialogue).
[Note: In the title of this work, "Op." is an abbreviation for "Opus", which means "Work" in Latin— the "No. 2" means that Op. 3 is a set of trio sonatas, and this is the second of the set.]
Solo Concerto c. 1725
Spring from The Four Seasons
by Antonio VIVALDI (1678–1741)
The 1st movement of the Spring concerto, features a ritornello design (solo violins vs. orchestra):
RITORNELLO DESIGN: Joyful spring
Tutti ("played by full group") theme in
E major (I) represents the joy of spring.
The birds greet it with their cheerful song
SOLO 1 RITOR. 2
Joyful spring . . .
The brooks flow Joyful spring . . .
SOLO 2 RITOR. 3
Echoed bird calls played by solo
violin with two violins from orchestra.
Tutti theme (2nd part) returns in E Major
Running notes in solo violin represent the brook.
Tutti theme (2nd part) returns in B major (V)
Thunder & lightning
SOLO 3 w/ orch
Joyful spring . . . The birds resume . . .
RITOR. 4 SOLO 4
Joyful spring . . . The birds . . .
RITOR. 5 SOLO 5
Tremolos in strings represent thunder as
flashy runs in solo violin depict lightning.
Tutti theme (2nd part) returns in C# Minor (vi)
Echoed bird calls by solo violins return.
Tutti theme (1st part) returns; moves to B (V)
More echoed bird calls by solo violins.
Joyful spring ... RITORNELLO 6
T u t t i t h
( 2 n d
p a r t )
r e t u r n s i n E M a j o r
Purcell—the greatest English composer of his day—died tragically at the age of 36. He wrote in a variety of musical genres: sacred music, secular choral music, chamber music, songs, and stage works. This excerpt from his opera, Dido and Aeneas, contains the most famous Baroque aria-- "When I Am Laid in Earth"—commonly referred to as "Dido's Lament."
The story of Dido and Aeneas is taken from the ancient Greek epic poem The Aeneid by Virgil. After being defeated in the Trojan War, Aeneas is told by the gods to go to a safe port and rebuild his fleet. When he is thrown off course by a storm that wreck his ship off the coast of northern Africa, he falls in love with his rescuer Dido, the Queen of Carthage. Eventually, wicked sorceresses hoping to achieve Dido's downfall send a false messenger to tell Aeneas that his gods command him to leave Carthage immediately and speak to no one. Thus, he leaves Dido dumbfounded and distraught. Knowing she can never trust or love anyone ever again, Dido sings this tragic lament to her servant Belinda, then she kills herself, as Aeneas sails away.
The overall three-movement design of the Spring Concerto:
1st movement: FAST, 4/4, E major
Joyful spring has arrived, the birds greet it with their cheerful song, and the brooks flow in the gentle breezes with a sweet murmur. The sky is blackened and thunder and lightning announce a storm. After they fall silent, the birds again take up their melodious song.
2nd movement: SLOW, 3/4, C# minor
And in the flower-rich meadow, to the gentle murmur of bushes and trees, the goatherd sleeps, his faithful dog at his side. [Note: The viola accents simulate a dog barking.]
3rd movement: FAST, 12/8, E major
To the festive sounds of a rustic bagpipe, nymphs and shepherds dance in their favorite spot.
Vivaldi is one of the greatest composers of the Late Baroque era. Among his nearly 800 works are over 500 concertos and at least 50 operas. His best-known work is a set of four 3-movement concertos (Fast–Slow–Fast design) collectively called The Four Seasons. Each concerto in the set features solo violin(s) with orchestra and basso continuo and programmatically illustrates one season of the year.