unit iii baroque period bach and handel

Dr. Carl Daehler Music Appreciation MUSI1201 ©2013, Shawnee State University THE BAROQUE (1600-1750) “The figured bass is the most perfect foundation of music” Johann Sebastian Bach

Upload: music1201

Post on 19-Aug-2015



Entertainment & Humor

0 download


Page 1: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

Dr. Carl DaehlerMusic Appreciation MUSI1201

©2013, Shawnee State University

THE BAROQUE (1600-1750)“The figured bass is the most perfect foundation of music” Johann Sebastian


Page 2: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

MUSIC OF THE BAROQUE (1600-1750)“The figured bass is the most perfect foundation of music” Joanne Sebastian Bach

The Music of Bach and Handel

Page 3: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

Born in Eisenach, Germany (also the home of Johann Pachelbel) whose father was the director of the town band, J. S. Bach became proficient on the violin and harpsichord at an early age. He was a Lutheran choir boy and during his lifetime was known more as a great organist than a composer. However due to the revival of his music and performances in the early 19th century, Bach is now considered one of the main composers of the Baroque era and one of the greatest composers of all Western European music.He composed hundreds of church cantatas and organ chorale preludes (based upon church hymn tunes) for St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany, where he served as music director for more than 27 years.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Page 4: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

One of Bach’s greatest achievements is his mastery of the fugue – a polyphonic composition based upon one melodic theme called a subject. In a fugue different voices (usually 3-5) whether sung or played imitate this melodic line. Although usually constant throughout, the imitation by the other voices can adopt different melodic and rhythmic ideas. A fugue always begins with a solo voice stating the subject. Once the subject is imitated by another voice (usually a fifth higher in pitch), the original voice continues with different melodic ideas.Often times there will be a second or counter subject that is also imitated by the other voices. Stretto is a term describing when a subject is imitated before the subject is completed and the subjects overlap.

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Art of the Fugue

The fugue subject can also be stated upside down (inversion); played backwards (retrograde); played with longer note values (augmentation); or with shorter note values (diminution).Fugues can be independent pieces or embedded in longer compositions. Bach wrote many fugues that are preceded by a free form prelude or toccata.

Page 7: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

Some of Bach’s most performed and recognizable compositions are the six concertos (actually concerto grossi) composed for the Prince Leopold of Cöthen around 1719. These are known as the Brandenburg Concertos since their dedication was to Christian Ludwig, margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt. The fifth of these, BWV 1050, is in D major and includes in the concertino, a flute, violin, and harpsichord. The ripieno includes violin, viola, cello, and continuo.

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Six Brandenburg Concertos

It is interested to note that in this concerto, the harpsichord performs a dual role: that of obbligato soloist (that is the notes to be played are written in the part) and that of continuo realizing the figured bass.There is evidence that Bach included the harpsichord as part of the concertino in order to “show off” the purchase of a new instrument that he purchased in Berlin. Bach played the harpsichord at the premiere and no doubt proved his reputation as a virtuoso keyboardist. There are three movements: Allegro; Affettuoso; Allegro.

Page 9: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

Johann Sebastian

Bach: Brandenburg Concerto #5

Kamien Analysis (con’t)

Page 10: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

• Allemande (a solemn stately dance in duple time)

• Courante (a lively dance in triple time)

• Sarabande (a slow syncopated rhythm in triple time)

• Minuet* (a French stylized dance is moderate triple time)

• Gavotte* (a stately dance in 4/4 time often with an upbeat)

• Bourée* (a quick dance in duple featuring an upbeat)

• Gigue (a lively “jig” in triple-compound rhythm often with contrapuntal textures.)

The dance suite as established by late Renaissance composers such as Michael Praetorius became the main instrumental format for the Baroque. The suite that sometimes began with a Prelude or Overture included a variety of common dance movements:

* The dances inserted between the Sarabande and the Gigue are optional.

Page 11: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

Bach composed the four orchestra suites during his service to Prince Leopold of Cöthen (1719-1723). The suites, sometimes referred as Ouverture-Suites because the first movement is a French-style baroque overture*, are made up of the traditional dance suite movements in addition to specialty dances such as the Gavotte, Forlana, Minuet, Bourée, Passepied, Rondeau, Badinerie, and Réjouissance. Each of the four suites have different instrumental combinations and keys. *The French Ouverture was characterized by a slow introduction with dotted rhythms followed by a faster polyphonic section and a return to the slow introduction.

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Four Orchestra Suites

In Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068, one of the most performed of all the suites include include three trumpets, timpani, two oboes, 2 violins, viola and basso continuo. The second movement “Air” is one of the most recognized of all Bach’s compositions and is often heard in films*, TV ads, and performed as a solo piece for violin. It is the basis of the 1970 Procol Harem hit song “Whiter Shade of Pale.”Following the Ouverture and Air, there are two Gavottes, a Bourée, and a closing Gigue.

*”The Spy Who Loved Me”

Page 12: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

Handel was born in Halle, Germany (now a part of Saxony in the former East Germany) in the same year of J. S. Bach. His father was 63 when he was born who had little interest in music and who forbade the young Handel from meddling in music. Handel would sneak out of the house to learn to play the harpsichord and became a very skilled player. However when Handel turned 17, he followed his father’s wishes and entered law school. After one year, Handel left school and took a position as a violinist and continuo harpsichordist in the orchestra of the Hamburg Opera. This inspired him to start composing opera and in 1706 due to the success of several of them he was invited to visit Florence at the invitation of Gastone de’ Medici.

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

While in Florence, Handel composed several operas in Italian and became acquainted with many patrons and soon moved to Rome. There he composed several cantatas and oratorios for various patrons including cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (also a patron of composer Antonio Corelli).

Page 13: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

But within two years, Handel would leave Hanover and move permanently to London accepting a position in the court of Queen Anne. By chance, in 1714, Elector Georg would become King George I of Great Britain and Ireland. Handel made up to the now King of England and would stay in England for what would become an extended stay of 47 years.Handel would continue to receive handsome commissions from King George and as well as many Earls, Dukes and Lords in the King’s Court.One of Handel’s most beloved works Water Music was composed in 1717 at the request of the King to provide music for a trip on the Thames River. The piece is divided into three suites that include a French ouverture, minuets, Bourées and hornpipes. Playing on barges, the orchestra of more than fifty musicians consisted of trumpets, t horns, a flute, oboes, a bassoon, strings, and continuo. Of these the hornpipes and Air are among the most popular.

George Frideric Handel in England (1712-1759)

Handel and King George I on a Thames River barge enjoying Handel’s Water Music.Painting by Edouard Jean Hamman.

In 1710 Handel’s reputation as a composer was sufficient enough to land him the position of Kapellmeister (music director) in the court of the German prince Georg, the Elector of Hanover.

Page 14: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

MUSI1201 Carl Daehler

Vocal music was prevalent in the Baroque opera that remained a dominant vocal style throughout the Baroque especially operas by Handel. Also a large number of sacred works written for the Lutheran church as well as for the public stage reintroduced the polyphonic style reminiscent of the Renaissance.


Page 15: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

The Church CantataSince the days of Martin Luther, music was always an important part of the Lutheran service. Johann Sebastian Bach was a member of a Lutheran boy’s choir from an early age and always remained faithful to the church. He served as Cantor of the St. Thomas School and music director of the principal churches in Leipzig from 1723 to his death in 1750.At the school Bach provided all of the musical instruction for his students, many of whom would sing in his church choirs.Bach also was the town music director and assumed the directorship of the famous Collegium Musicum founded by Georg Philipp Telemann that provided music for a variety of civic functions. Bach composed many of his secular pieces for this ensemble comprised of students and local professional musicians.As part of his church duties he had to provide a cantata for each Sunday service and for all church holidays during the liturgical year. He arranged his cantatas in cycles based upon the Gospel readings for each Sunday and feast days in the Lutheran calendar.Bach used as a musical basis for most of his cantatas, a church chorale or hymn tune that would be sung in German by the choir and congregation. The Cantata consisted of multiple movements including choruses, arias, duets, and four-part chorales for which the congregation would join in. In all Bach composed more than 300 sacred cantatas.

Page 16: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

The text of the cantata “Wachet auf” is from the First Epistle to the Thessalonians “be prepared for the day of Lord” and from the Gospel of Matthew, the parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). The chorale hymn tune is based upon “Wachet auf” by Philipp Nicholai. The cantata was performed on the 27th Sunday after Trinity and was first performed in Leipzig on the 25th of November, 1731.The cantata is scored for three soloists: soprano, tenor, and bass. There is a four-part choir, horn, 2 oboes, a taille (alto oboe), violino piccolo, two violins, viola, and continuo.The cantata opens with a chorus (“Wake up, the voice calls to us”) based on the first verse of the chorale. The tune itself is sung in long tones against shorter, dotted rhythms. This is followed by a recitative sung by the tenor (“He comes”). A duet (“When will you come, my salvation”) follows for soprano (representing the “soul”) and the bass (representing the voice of Jesus) with an obbligato solo violin and continuo accompaniment.The fourth movement is based upon the second verse of the chorale (“Zion hears

“Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” BWV 140

the watchmen singing”) sung by the tenors accompanied by a well-known obbligato me lody. The fifth movement is a bass recitative (“So come in with me”) followed by a duet (“My friend is mine!”) sung by the soprano and bass accompanied by the oboe. The final movement is a four-part setting of the final verse of the chorale (“May Gloria be sung to you.”)

Page 17: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

The oratorio is a large musical composition including an orchestra, choir, and soloists. Although similar in musical form to an opera, the oratorio is not a staged work, but rather a concert piece with little interaction between characters and no props or special costumes. The text of the oratorio is sacred and was often performed in churches on holy days when operas were not staged.Handel’s “Messiah” is his most famous and most often performed of all the baroque oratorios. It is a crowning musical achievement of the Baroque era. It is based upon scriptural text from the King James Bible and is in three parts: Part I begins with prophesies by Isaiah and the annunciation to the shepherds; Part II is Christ’s Passion and ends with the Hallelujah Chorus; Part III covers the Resurrection of the dead and Christ’s glorification in heaven.

Georg Frideric Handel - Oratorio “Messiah”

It was first performed in Dublin in 1742. There are more than 50 instrumental and vocal pieces in the oratorio including choruses, recitatives which often state the biblical text followed by arias and duets that express an emotional sentiment. Handel makes use of the Renaissance technique of “word painting” as well as many examples of multi-part polyphony.The work was immensely popular in Handel’s day and was a favorite of King Georg II. In fact it is a tradition that when the Hallelujah Chorus is sung, the audience is asked to stand.

Autograph score of final bars of Hallelujah Chorus

Page 18: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

The entire performance of Messiah is more than two hours. However there are some representative pieces that show Handel’s mastery of theatrical technique and music genius. The work opens with traditional French overture (an opening slow dotted rhythmic section followed by a faster fugal section). The third piece is the tenor aria “Ev’ry Valley Shall Be Exalted” sung by the tenor. Notice the many examples of word painting.“For unto Us a Child is Born” is a chorus. The joyful music celebrates the birth of a royal child whose names predict salvation. There are two contrasting melodic ideas presented in a transparent polyphonic texture. Notice the extended melisma's on the single syllable “born.”

Georg Frideric Handel - Oratorio “Messiah” (con’t)

The most recognizable piece in “Messiah” is the last piece of Part II the “Hallelujah Chorus.” It is perhaps the world’s most famous chorus piece. It is sung by small groups and very large choruses and full symphony orchestra.It is a joyous combination of homophony and polyphony with a lot of imitation between the voices as well as repetition of rhythmic figures. It is full of majestic proclamation especially with the addition of the trumpets.The text is taken from Revelations which celebrates God as the almighty and everlasting ruler.Performances of “Messiah” are often done during the Christmas season, but are also during the Easter and Lenten season.

Autograph score of final bars of Hallelujah Chorus

Page 19: Unit iii baroque period   bach and handel

Dr. Carl DaehlerMusic Appreciation MUSI1201

©2013, Shawnee State University

THE BAROQUE (1600-1750)“The figured bass is the most perfect foundation of music” Johann Sebastian