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Baroque Era Composers Essay

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Updated: Jun 11th, 2021

Baroque music is the vivid reflection of the transition from the Renaissance style to new trends, and today, the representatives of that period are known to the world for their works that are distinguished by their unique composing. To give specific examples, the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi will be used for assessment. Both these masters have left many masterpieces that are difficult to characterize from a scientific standpoint since they are the products of the greatest talent. Nevertheless, each of the represented composers had his own unique style that distinguished the creative ideas of one author from the other.

Bach’s Works

Johann Sebastian Bach was the German composer and musician of the Baroque era. He combined the traditions and the most significant achievements of European musical art in his work and enriched it with the masterly use of counterpoint and the subtle sense of perfect harmony. As an interesting fact, Bach was a recognized organ expert, and quite often, he amazed clients who invited him to customize their instruments with amazing improvisations. According to Kamien (2018), one of the master’s outstanding works is “Cantata No. 140” that was created in Leipzig, Germany in 1731 (p. 137).

It is a church composition written on the melody of an old Protestant chant. Harmonic phrases and shades embedded by the composer in this work became the vivid reflection of that period of his work. Another unique piece of work that was created between 1729 and 1731 was “Suite No. 3 in D Major” that included a collection of six separate parts (Kamien, 2018, p. 135). This work was also written in Germany and became part of Bach’s heritage, combining the use of various musical instruments and compositional solutions.

Vivaldi’s Works

Another prominent representative of the Baroque era is Antonio Vivaldi who was not only a unique composer but also a virtuoso violinist. The unusual music of Vivaldi has been preserved in its original form and today, it occupies an honorable place among the greatest treasures of world music art. Kamien (2018) cites an interesting fact from the life of the composer, noting that, despite the greatness of his works, he died in poverty and was buried without any honors.

Vivaldi is known for his solo concerts, and the series of works “The Four Seasons” became the pinnacle of his work. Kamien (2018) notes that the violin concerto “Spring” that was part of this cycle was created in Italy in 1725, the composer’s homeland (p. 129). Vivaldi was able to convey the entire palette of natural colors with the sounds of an orchestra and all shades of joy with violin passages. Another example of his composer’s talent is the work “Summer” from the same cycle, and Kamien (2018) calls it a vivid manifestation of using musical instruments to create a unique mood. The calm before the storm and the climax performed by the whole orchestra is a characteristic feature of this part of “The Four Seasons.”

Conclusion

The unique styles of Bach and Vivaldi are the reflection of the creativity and skills of the Baroque composers. Both representatives of that era created many great works that are known and respected today by critics and ordinary music lovers. The mysterious and majestic suites and cantatas of Bach are not similar to the bright and magical concerts of Vivaldi, but their difference emphasizes the diversity of the composers’ brilliant ideas and talent.

Reference

Kamien, R. (2018). Music: An appreciation (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

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