Posts tagged ‘Baroque’

December 25, 2014

music for the 1. Day of Christmas – Johann Valentin Rathgeber – 10 Pastorellen vor die Weynacht-Zeit, Op.22

by ada

Some sweet German pastoral songs by Johann Valentin Rathgeber, a Benedictine monk with explicit tendency towards rebellion and vagrancy; in honor of all those who, just like me, spent the first day of Christmas on the train and are spending the second day of it working.

Yes, this is a scheduled post.

Update: aaand this is the classic case of Scheduling Went Wrong. Ha! Happy 1st Day of Christmas.

November 30, 2014

music for the 1. Sunday of Advent – Heinrich Schütz: Rorate coeli desuper from Kleine Geistliche Konzerte II, SWV 322

by ada

Advent arrived unexpectedly quickly this year and it makes me feel somewhat betrayed. I was so busy with seriously time-consuming life events like taking – and passing – exams, changing jobs and moving between countries, that I had no time for autumn-related delights. I’m also in denial about it being winter already, so I have yet to find my usual enthusiasm for Christmas music.

Considering that I’m no fan of the music of Heinrich Schütz, his motet Rorate coeli desuper from the second book of his collection Kleine geistliche Concerte may not be the best place to start, but we all have to start somewhere. And there is nothing wrong with Schütz. He, besides being one of the most important composers in the history of Early German Baroque music and an important milestone on its – in no way linear – development, was also the composer of the first German opera, Dafne. He was excellent in so many ways I can’t count but all his merits and praiseworthy compositional accomplishments are not enough to make me not hear the modal tunes of Renaissance polyphony in his music. And I just don’t like Renaissance polyphony. I really dislike it. All those madrigals based on modal counterpoint, and such. Definitely not my thing.

And while Schütz certainly did his best to get away from prima prattica and earned his fame as parens nostrae musicae modernae totally justly exactly for doing that, he is not quite there yet. But it’s no long journey to go; only a few decades to wait until Dietrich Buxtehude nails it completely and musica poetica becomes a tool for channelling human emotions instead of being an intellectual dictionary for the practitioners of musical rhetorics.

And now, after my exhaustive attempts to make it really clear why I don’t like this piece, let’s finally listen to it. It is quite sweet, actually.

December 15, 2013

music for the 3. Sunday of Advent – Edmund Pascha: Vianočná omša F-dur

by ada

During the last two days of pre-Christmas daze in Bratislava, I totally got in the mood for Slovakian Christmas carols. While I proudly claim to know a lot about the composers of the Czech Baroque and Classical era (Zelenka! Ryba! Brixi! And of course, the flute people like Wanhal and Benda), the only Slovakian composer I’ve ever heard of is Johann Nepomuk Hummel, who wasn’t even Slovakian. Fortunately, YouTube is an endless source of music if you’re vague enough with your search terms, so that’s how I found Edmund Pascha and his Christmas Mass in F Major. According to Wikipedia*, Pascha was a Franciscan monk and organist during the late Baroque period, who also run under the pseudonym Claudianus Ostern. His two manuscripts Harmonia pastoralis and Prosae pastorales compositae et conscriptae a Patre Claudiano Ostern Solnae, are included in the so-called Žilinský kancionál, a collection of liturgical texts and music, which was put together around 1770 but was discovered only two hundred years later, in 1967. The Vianočná omša F-dur (Christmas Mass in F major), was also arranged as a passion play by Pascha’s contemporary and fellow Franciscan monk, the Hungarian Zrunek György.

And the music – it’s Slovakian folk tunes orchestrated in pretentious Baroque manner. Pure fun, with shepherd’s flutes and all. Enjoy.

* I know, I know. Wikipedia is not a reliable source for scientific research. Shame on me. Fortunately none of my former, oh so very famous and dedicated Historically Informed Performance Practice teachers read this blog, haha**

** hopefully

August 9, 2013

music of the week – Passacaglia from Georg Muffats collection Apparatus Musico-Organisticus

by ada

Georg Muffat was a fellow musician of Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber at the Salzburg court of the Archbishops Max Gandolph Graf von Kuenburg and Johann Ernst Thun, between 1678-1690. He was lucky enough to study both the French and the Italian way of making music (oh those honest and uncomplicated times of the 17th century with only two main trends to compare and to believe in) and to meet the two leading and trend-creating personalities of the era: Jean-Baptiste Lully (yay to the French) and Arcangelo Corelli (hurrah for the Italian). In the preface of his collections Florilegium primum and Florilegium secundum, he gives very detailed instructions* on how to play “in the French manner”, like how to hold the bow, how to place the fingers, etc. He also claimed (himself) to be the very first musician to introduce the French style to the German-speaking part of Europe, which I’m not sure is a historically true statement, but he believed so. Whatever, he did a tremendous job in creating the very beginnings of the so-called “mixed style” which later evolved to the fully completed style of German Baroque.

* that’s what makes me so mad at all those ignorant musicians who claim that we can play Baroque music as we please, because we have no information about the performance practice of the pre-recording times. Because we do have. A lot. More than enough for a lifetime to study. Every time I hear modern pianists and symphonic orchestras play Baroque, I cringe from pain. It should not be that way. Musicians should be educated about music before letting them play that music. I’m a firm believer of thorough education.

March 30, 2013

music for Holy Saturday – Jan Dismas Zelenka: Miserere in с, ZWV 57

by ada

For Holy Saturday (or Great Saturday as we call it in Hungary) is a music that was never intended to be part of the Easter liturgy: the first movement of Jan Dismas Zelenka‘s Miserere, my favourite Miserere of all times. Zelenka is the man I’m seriously planning to marry ever since I’ve first heard his music (that tells a lot about how stormy my love life lately is) (well, at least it isn’t an imaginary affair, because he definitely did exist) (some three hundred years ago, ehem). He was also highly valued by Johann Sebastian Bach who even asked him for some professional advice on composing. And that means something, I dare say. So it’s not just some girly crush – Zelenka was really that cool.

P.S.: Last year’s post about the cantatas Boi Beshalom and Kol HaNeshama by Cristiano Giuseppe Lidarti.

March 27, 2013

music for Holy Wednesday – Michel-Richard Delalande: IIIe Leçon du Mercredi Saint, S. 118

by ada

Last year I posted the world’s most beautiful Tenebrae musicTroisième Leçon de Ténèbres pour deux voix from the harpsichord teacher and court composer of Louis XIV, François Couperin. It’s a piece that’s really difficult to outbid. Fortunately French Baroque church music is overloaded with great compositions (so much that it makes me feel overwhelmed and troubled, actually). Originally I wanted to write about Michel Lambert, the composer of countless airs de cour, who wrote the first Leçons de ténèbres ever, as soon as 1662, but unfortunately YouTube is totally ignorant of the unique importance of his work so I just randomly picked one from another royal harpsichord teacher, Michel-Richard Delalande, who is famous for winning a composers’ competition that’s judge was XIV Louis, only and alone. Let’s speak about the role of totalitarian regimes in the evolution of music, haha.

March 26, 2013

music for Holy Tuesday – Georg Philipp Telemann: Brockes Passion TWV 5:1

by ada

I have to admit, to pick out only one piece a day from all the beauty that was composed for the Holy Week  is very difficult indeed, even if I restrict myself to those approximately 60 years we call “high Baroque”. I was never good at making decisions and it rapidly got worse with the depression – it’s a pain every time, actually. Mostly I just let things pass and I go with what remains, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. So after a day of hesitation I gave in and chose another famous composer. This time it’s Georg Philipp Telemann, a musician whom I really admire. I wrote about him earlier, so I don’t do it now – writing about music makes me nervous right now, and it’s nothing I was really prepared for. Hope this mood will pass till tomorrow, because Holy Wednesday is French Lamentation Day, and I would  regret if I missed it because of some stupid depression issues.

So for today is an excerpt from Telemann’s Brockes Passion, named after the librettist Barthold Heinrich Brockes. It’s the virtuoso recorder part that made me post it.

P.S.: You can find last year’s music for Holy Tuesday, Stabat Mater from Giovanni Felice Sances, here.

March 25, 2013

music for Holy Monday/Seder Evening – “He smote all the first-born of Egypt” from Georg Friedrich Händel’s Oratorio “Israel in Egypt” HWV 54

by ada

I seem to stick to Big Names this year, for today’s music is written by nobody else than Georg Friedrich Händel, who is considered to be the most important person if it comes to English Baroque music – even if he was actually a German. Well, that’s how things worked in the 18th century – the most important person in the history of French Baroque music; the man who called the famous French style that ruled the music scene of the 18th century, to life; the man who got the idea of synchronizing the bow movements of the violins in the orchestra first; the man who was smart enough to secure the publishing rights in whole France for himself alone, the man who is known as Jean-Baptiste Lully was, in fact, an Italian. So, if it comes to style, nationality plays never that big role we like to imagine.

Händel spent most of his musically active years in England. His music is as English, as it can be – biblical stories set in pompous orchestral style with heavy choir settings and lots of brass and drums. This oratorio, Israel in Egypt, tells the Passover story – and this aria (well, it’s actually no aria, it’s a choir movement) is about the last of the ten plagues. Enjoy the nice Quintfallsequenz starting at 1:35 :o)

March 24, 2013

music for Palm Sunday – Johann Sebastian Bach: Himmelskönig, sei willkommen (Cantata BWV 182)

by ada

During the Holy Week I will do a music post every day just like I did last year; let’s call it tradition. I will stay strictly Baroque, because that’s where I feel comfortable even if I didn’t touch my instruments since the outbreak of my depression, and that means already one and a half years without playing. I sometimes wonder if I ever will get back to my real life of libraries and awesome music. It seems so far away now.

For Palm Sunday let’s have the king of everything Baroque, Johann Sebastian Bach. He wrote this Cantata almost exactly 300 years ago and it is still more beautiful than most of the music others managed to create during those past 300 years.

November 20, 2012

Prague – The Czech Museum of Music (České muzeum hudby)

by ada

Untitled 1

August 5, 2012

365/217

by ada

Georg Friedrich Händel’s opera, Giulio Cesare in Egitto, on the big Siemens screen at Kapitelplatz. I left in the middle of the second act, because after thirteen hours of work is even Andreas Scholl unable to make me forget that, well, this isn’t the greatest Baroque opera of all times.

P.S.: I really don’t know how did I manage to produce this retro combination of colours, but I quite like it. Photographers do lots of hard editing to get the same results, while, actually, all you need for it is a bad camera.

July 1, 2012

music of the week (well, more of an undefined period of time) – Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer: Concerto Armonico No. 1 in G major

by ada

I’m enjoying the benefits of the free wi-fi the Dutch National Railway Company provides us with and using my last hours in The Netherlands to post some musical actuality. Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer was a Dutch diplomat and composer of the first half of the 18th century, who lived in The Hague. His family name originates from the city of Wassenaar, that is now part of The Hague (actually, that’s the district The Really Rich People live). Since in his society circles composing music was sort of uncool*, he didn’t want to publish his works under his own name but anonymously, so his main work, the Concerti Armonici was attributed first to Carlo Ricciotti, a violin player of the The Hague Court Orchestra and later to Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. Wassenaer remained “the mystery composer” until 1980 when a letter was found at his birthplace (well, actually birthcastle) that reveals his identity as the composer of named concerti.

* you would think that those times are already passed and being a composer is really cool nowadays, but I have to warn you that there still are society circles obeying the same rules. Just look at my father, for example. He, being a mathematician himself, holds the strong opinion that musicians are “no worthy people”. That’s why I studied nursing first before I went bohemian, haha.

June 6, 2012

music of the week – Johann Joseph Vilsmayr: Partita V. from Artificiosus Concentus pro Camera à Violino Solo Con Basso bellè imitate

by ada

I admit I don’t know more about Johann Joseph Vilsmayr than Google does and that’s not much; but I have a heart for no-name Baroque composers with only one or two surviving works (or, better, only some fragments); and his music is hilarious.

And, well, he is also from Salzburg.

May 18, 2012

music of the week – Republic: Kék és narancssárga

by ada

I almost never listen to any other music than Baroque, I guess it’s just something of an occupational disease with me, but my friend Ancsangyalka sent me this video as additional info to yesterday’s blue and orange post. It’s Kék és narancssárga (Blue and orange) from the Hungarian band Republic. So let’s get acquainted with the popular rock music style of the post-revolutionary Hungary of the 1990’s :o)

May 14, 2012

music of the week (month, haha) – Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber: Sonata representativa for violino solo

by ada

Well, it was quite a time since my last music post, but blogging becomes somewhat difficult in the lack of own internet connection.

I was really tempted to put some Mozart here but it would be only too obvious. Luckily the Salzburger Hof always served as a center of music, so there are plenty of composers to choose from. Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber von Bibern was a very famous composer and violin virtuoso of his time, and got quite unjustly forgotten. Now he is only known in early music and musicology circles. If I mention Mozart, the average people go Oooohh!!!; if I mention Biber, the usual reaction is only some Heh? (if not something like Oh, Justin is sooo cuuute! which makes me want to kill everybody around me).

Again I was tempted to show one of the Mysterien– or Rosenkranz-Sonaten (Rosary Sonatas), as The Work of Biber, but he composed so many other music that are worth for listening, that it was really easy to resist this temptation. I chose the Sonata representativa (Representatio Avium) instead, which is a funny piece that mimics animal sounds. All the animals and their musical manifestations are taken from Athanasius Kircher’s famous music treatise, Musurgia universalis, published in 1650. If you are interested in such obscure musical ideas of the 17th century as how to play piano with cats’ tails or how to compose music with logarithms (well, Kircher could easily be considered as the first composer of computer music, haha), or just want to know why do parrots say hello in ancient Hebrew, I really recommend you to read this book. It’s written in Latin but, being the bestseller of the era, was (partly) translated to German as soon as in 1662. Kircher himself gained an enormous popularity through writing this compendium, he received emotionally loaded fan letters from enthusiastic nuns from all over the world. I don’t know if Biber ever met him but it’s clear that he read and appreciated his book.

April 21, 2012

music of the week – Jean-Baptiste Barrière: Trio Sonata for alto recorder, cello and basso continuo in D minor, Livre II No. 2

by ada

This piece is sort of extraordinary because of the use of the cello as an obbligato instrument. In Baroque chamber music written originally for recorder, violoncello or viola da gamba are mostly used for playing the continuo line, and rarely have an own obbligato part. There are of course some exceptions, like the Telemann double concerto for recorder and gamba (its autograph you can find on my gravatar profile) and the F-major  trio sonata from Essercizii musici, also from Telemann, but I personally don’t know any other examples (at least from the high Baroque period).

April 14, 2012

music of the week – Telemann: Modéré from Quatuor Parisien N°12

by ada

I definitely enjoyed posting and writing about music during the Holy Week (even if no one else liked to read it, haha), so I decided to do it on a regular basis. Maybe it helps me get back to my real life and become again the person I was before the depression.

The music of this week is the sixth movement of the sixth quartet of Georg Philipp Telemann‘s collection Nouveaux Quatuors en Six Suites, published in 1738 in Paris (well, that’s why it’s usually called Paris Quartet). Telemann was an amazing composer and a very interesting character, if you have the opportunity to read his three autobiographies, don’t miss it. He studied music in a completely autodidact way and mastered all the important instruments of the era. This made his compositional style quite extraordinary: he completely understood the requirements, advantages and boundaries of every instrument he wrote for, so his compositions are just perfectly set. And that’s something you can’t tell even of Bach himself.

This is one of my favourite videos of this piece ever. It has an air of spring and happiness I never get bored with.

April 6, 2012

365/97

by ada

I could barely resist the idea of posting Es ist vollbracht from Johannespassion for Good Friday, because, well, quality is quality, and if baroque passion music then Bach über allem, but then I decided to show something entirely different: a traditional Corsican passion upon a tarantella ground from the 17th century, with some jazzy cornetto improvisation. This is an amazing genre, the 17th century Spanish and Italian variations upon a few bars long  harmonic structure. It is sort of the pop and rock of the Baroque. Some variations became really popular and well-known during the past centuries, like the famous folia or the bergamasca, and some harmonic lines never did it, like the ruggiero, but all of them are really cool and I do love this  improvisational and spontaneous art of making music. Arpeggiata performs it just perfectly.

So today’s music is Maria (sopra la Carpinese).

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