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4.8: Baroque (ca. 1600–1750)

  • Page ID
    54266
  • Historic Context

    • Founding of Dutch East India Company, 1602.
    • Founding of Sante Fe, New Mexico, 1605.
    • Founding of Jamestown, Virginia, 1607.
    • Dutch East India Company ships tea from China shipped to Europe, 1609.
    • Discovery of Hudson Bay by Henry Hudson, 1610.
    • King James Bible published, 1611; first authorized version of the Bible in English.
    • Tobacco planted in Virginia, 1612.
    • Thirty Years War in Germany, 1618–1648; almost half the population dies due to war, famine,
    • and plague.
    • Discovery of circulation of the blood by William Harvey, 1619.
    • First African slaves in North America arrive in Virginia, 1619.
    • Pilgrims arrive in Massachusetts, 1620.
    • Dutch West Indies Company purchases Manhattan Island from native Indians; colony of New
    • Amsterdam founded, 1626.
    • Founding of colony of Massachusetts, 1629.
    • Founding of Harvard College, 1636.
    • Bay Psalm Book, oldest surviving printed book in America, 1640.
    • English Commonwealth, 1649–1660, under leadership of Oliver Cromwell.
    • Restoration of English monarchy, 1660.
    • Founding of Academic Royale de Danse by Louis XIV, 1661.
    • Louis XIV begins building of Versailles, 1662.
    • Plague in London kills 68,000, 1665.
    • Great Fire of London, 1666.
    • Founding of the College of William and Mary, Virginia, 1692.
    • Inoculation against small pox introduced in England, 1717.
    • Frederick the Great introduces freedom of the press and freedom of worship in Prussia, 1740.

    Milestones in Music

    • Guilio Caccini, Nuove musiche, 1601; collection of songs for solo voice and instrumental
    • accompaniment, establishing a texture used throughout the baroque period.
    • Performance of Monteverdi’s Orfeo, 1607, considered first important opera.
    • Encyclopedia of music by German composer Michael Praetorius, 1620.
    • First public opera house, Teatro San Cassiano, opens in Venice, 1637.
    • Founding of Academic Royale des Operas, Paris, 1669.
    • Opening of Paris Opera, 1671.
    • First German opera house opens in Hamburg, 1678.
    • Vivaldi appointed maestro di violono at orphanage for girls in Venice, 1703.
    • Invention of the pianoforte by Bartolomeo Cristofori, Italian harpsichord maker, 1709.
    • Handel settles permanently in London, 1711.
    • Bach accepts position as cantor of St. Thomas Church, Leipzig, 1723.
    • First public concerts in Paris, Concerts Spirituels, 1725.
    • First performance of Handel’s Messiah, Dublin, 1742.

    Musical Genres

    • Opera: drama set to music for singers and instruments and acted on the stage with sets and costumes. Monteverdi is generally considered to be the most important composer of the early Baroque, Handel of the late Baroque.
    • Oratorio: a story, usually religious, set to music but performed without staging. Oratorio, like opera, originated in Italy. Handel is the most important oratorio composer of the late Baroque.
    • Cantata: multiple movement vocal work on a pastoral or religious text. Bach composed over 300 cantatas for performance on Sundays throughout the church year.
    • Concerto: instrumental composition that pits one or more soloists against the orchestra.
    • Vivaldi was a major figure in the standardization of the design and character of the solo concerto.
    • Fugue: a polyphonic composition, usually for four voice parts, based on one theme or subject that is developed in an imitative texture. Bach’s many fugues sum up the art of fugal writing.
    • Sonata: in the Baroque period, an instrumental chamber work for one or two melody instruments and continuo accompaniment. Arcangelo Corelli’s sonatas for two violins and continuo are considered classic examples of the genre.
    • Suite: collection of instrumental dance movements of different character and often national origin. Thus, the allemande from Germany, courante from France, gigue (jig) from the British Isles. Suites were composed for the harpsichord and for chamber and orchestral ensembles. Couperin and Bach made major contributions to this repertory.

    Major Figures in Music

    • Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643): Italian composer of Orfeo of 1607, which is generally regarded as the first great opera; maestro di cappella at St. Mark’s Venice 1613–1643.
    • Nicola Amati (1596–1684): Italian violin maker.
    • Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632–1675): Italian-born composer who dominated music at court of Louis XIV.
    • Antonio Stradivari (1644–1737): Italian violin maker.
    • Arcangelo Corelli (1653–1677): Italian composer of instrumental sonatas and concertos for violin.
    • Henry Purcell (1659–1695): English composer of songs, religious choral music, instrumental and theatrical works, including the opera Dido and Aeneas, 1689.
    • Francois Couperin (1668–1733): French composer and keyboard player at the court of Louis XIV and XV.
    • Antonio Vivaldi (1675–1741): Italian composer and seminal figure in the development of the solo concerto; see Musician Biographies.
    • Jean Philippe Rameau (1683–1764): French theorist and composer of operas and keyboard suites.
    • Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750): North German composer and cantor of Leipzig, Germany; see Musician Biographies.
    • George Frederick Handel (1685–1759): North German composer of The Messiah, among other oratorios; see Musician Biographies.

    Other Historic Figures

    • Johannes Kepler (1571–1630): German astronomer; laws explaining planetary movement around the sun.
    • Michelangelo da Caravaggio (1571–1610): Italian painter; Conversion of St. Paul, Death of the Virgin.
    • Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640): Flemish painter; Elevation of the Cross, The Lion Hunt.
    • Franz Hals (1580–1666): Dutch painter; favorite subjects were merchants, ministers, common folk.
    • Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679): English philosopher; materialist who advocated authoritarian social system; author of Leviathan.
    • Rene Descartes (1596–1650): French mathematician and philosopher of dualism; “cogito ergo sum”; inventor of analytic geometry.
    • Giovanni Bernini (1598–1680): Italian sculptor; David, Ecstacy of St. Terese, design of piazza of St. Peter’s, Rome.
    • Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658): English general and statesman; Puritan and political leader during the Commonwealth period.
    • Diego Velasquez (1599–1660): Spanish painter of portraits, religious and historical subjects.
    • Anthony Van Dyck (1599–1641): Dutch painter; portraits of English nobility at court of Charles I.
    • Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669): Dutch painter; favored common people as subjects; The Night Watch, self-portraits.
    • John Milton (1608–1674): English poet; Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained.
    • John Dryden (1631–1700): English poet, literary, playwright of satirical dramas.
    • Jan Vermeer (1632–1675): Dutch painter; portraits and everyday scenes; Girl with a Pearl Earring.
    • John Locke (1632–1704): English philosopher; enlightenment thinker and empiricist.
    • Christopher Wren (1632–1723): English architect; St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.
    • Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677): Dutch philosopher; enlightenment thinker.
    • Louis XIV (1638–1715): king of France 1642 to 1715, known as Le Roi du Soleil (The Sun King); quintessential absolute monarch; builder of Versailles.
    • Jean Racine (1639–1699): French poet and playwright; Phedre.
    • Isaac Newton (1642–1727): English mathematician and philosopher; experiments on gravitation, motion, and optics.
    • Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibnitz (1646–1716): German rationalist philosopher, mathematician, historian, and jurist.
    • Jonathan Swift (1667–1745): English writer and satirist; Gulliver’s Travels.
    • Peter the Great (1672–1725): becomes Czar of Russia, 1689.
    • George Berkeley (1685–1753): empiricist philosopher and bishop; propounded Idealism against Locke’s common-sense Realism.
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