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Baroque Favourites

See here the conqu'rlng hero comes (JudasMaccabaeus) - George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1759)

1st movement: Allegro motto (The FourSeasons: Winter) - Antonio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741)

Eslst eln Ros entsprungen (The World'sFair Rose) - Michael Praetorlus (c. 1571 - 1621)

2nd movement (Trumpet Concerto) - GiuseppeTorelli (1658 - 1709)

Nun komm der Helden Helland (Come,Redeemer of Our Race) - Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)

Slow movement (Oboe Concerto) - GeorgeFrideric Handel (1685 - 1759)

In dulcl jubilo - Johann Sebastian Bach(1685 - 1750)

Fast movement (Guitar Concerto) - AntonioVivaldi (1678 - 1741)

Hornpipe (Concerto grosso Op. 6 No.7) -George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1759)

Pastorale BWV 590 - Johann Sebastian Bach(1685 - 1750)

2nd movement: Vivace (Trumpet Concerto InD) - George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1759)

2nd movement: Largo (The Four Seasons:Spring) - Antonio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741)

Chorus from Cantata BWV 140 (Wachetauf) -Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)

Sonata No.87 - Domenico Scarlatti (1685 -1747)

O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden (O SacredHead sore wounded) - Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)

Any collection of popular Baroque musicmust concentrate on the later years of the period. In particular attention mustfall on the great German composers Johann Sebastian Bach and George FridericHandel, on the Italian violinist-composer Antonio Vivaldi, and, to a morelimited extent, on Domenico Scarlatti, the Italian harpsichordist, who spentthe greater part of his career in Portugal and Spain.

The present collection includes only oneexample of music from the early seventeenth century, Es ist ein Rosentsprungen (The World's Fair Rose). The melody and the original words arefrom the fifteenth century and appear in the Speierschen Gesangbuch of 1600.

Praetorius, among the leading German Lutheran composers of his time, publishedhis four-part arrangement of the carol in 1609 as part of his Musae Sionae,a varied collection of Lutheran church music.

The period generally known as MiddleBaroque, a convenient if over-simplified label to cover the years of the secondhalf of the seventeenth century, is represented here by an excerpt from atrumpet concerto by the Italian composer Giuseppe Torelli, a musician ofhistorical importance in the development of the concerto. Torelli was born inVerona and was associated intermittently with the musical establishment at thebasilica of San Petronio in Bologna, with a brief intervening period in theservice of the Margrave of Brandenburg at Ansbach.

AntonioVivaldi was born in Venice in 1678, the son of a barber, who combined his craftwith that of violinist. Vivaldi was ordained a priest and was to spend much ofhis life as a member of the musical establishment of the Ospedale della Piet?á,a charitable foundation for the education of illegitimate or indigent girls.

The Piet?á, one of four such institutions in Venice, enjoyed a high reputationamong Venetians and the many visitors to the city for its music, and Vivaldiwas to start his career there as violin master, later assuming responsibilityfor instrumental music. A commission of 1723 required him to write twoconcertos a month for the Piet?á, but his employment, subject to annual renewalby the board of governors, was interrupted at various stages in his career,allowing him a period in the service of Philipp, Land grave ofHessen-Darmstadt, governor of Mantua, and association withother representatives of the ruling Habsburgs. In Venice he became closelyassociated with the opera, both as composer and director of music, while hisprowess as a violinist was a cause for wonder. In 1741 he left his native city,where his reputation had waned, and travelled to Vienna, where he died a monthafter his arrival, before any further opportunities had offered themselves.

The present collection includes excerptsfrom the famous set of concertos known as The Four Seasons, published byVivaldi in 1725 with a dedication to Count Wenzeslaus van Morzin, a Bohemiannobleman and distant relative of Joseph Haydn's first patron. These concertosappeared as the first music in a publication with the title Il cimentodell'armonia e dell'inventione, the contest between harmony and invention,reason and imagination. Accompanying The Four Seasons were sonnets thatexplained in detail the programmatic content of each section. The secondmovement of Spring shows the idealised goatherd of pastoral conventionguarding his sheep by sleeping peacefully, while his faithful dog, representedby the viola, barks at regular intervals, against the gentle murmur of thefoliage. The first movement of winter offers a harsher picture of cold winds,stamping feet and chattering teeth.

Amongthe 500 or so concertos that Vivaldi wrote, a large number are for strings witha solo violin. While the guitar is not included among the solo instruments forwhich he wrote, a lute concerto provides an opportunity for the use of theinstrument. Vivaldi's compositions for lute seem to have been written not forthe Piet?á but for another Bohemian nobleman, Count Johann Joseph von Wrtbyabout the year 1731, when the composer may have visited Prague.

Domenico Scarlatti was the son of theNeapolitan opera composer Alessandro Scarlatti. He made an early name forhimself both as a harpsichordist and composer in his native Italy, visitingVenice and Rome, presumably in search of lucrative opportunities, before movingto Lisbon, where he entered the service of the Princess Maria Barbara, who waslater to become Queen of Spain. Scarlatti's many harpsichord sonatas, over 550in number, provide a highly characteristic addition to keyboard repertoire.

The year 1685 saw the birth of DomenicoScarlatti and his two great contemporaries Bach and Handel. The latter was bornin Halle, the son of an elderly barber-surgeon of some distinction in hisprofession. His father reluctantly permitted him to study music, with the othersubjects oj a general education, which he pursued briefly at the University ofHalle, before moving to Hamburg, where he was employed at the opera-house, asviolinist, harpsichordist and composer. There followed a period in Italy,appointment as Kapellmeister to the Elector of Hanover, and a move to England,where he finally settled in 1712, at first as composer and director of musicfor the Italian opera, and later as the creator of English oratorio, a formthat allowed for the linguistic and religious prejudices of the English public.

The first music included here is anarrangement of one of the most famous moments in the 1746 oratorio JudasMaccabaeus. Much of Handel's instrumental music comes from earlier in hiscareer, although he never hesitated to re-use his own music for whateverpurpose seemed most appropriate. The various orchestral concertos provideproblems of dating, although the dozen such works for strings only that formOpus 6 were written specifically for publication in 1739, The so-called oboeconcertos of Opus 3 and the solo sonatas for various instruments, including theoboe, are earlier works in which other material is often found. The concertofor trumpet is a re-construction.

Johann Sebastian Bach, a musician by longancestry, won himself a considerable reputation as an organist at the beginningof his career. A period as organist to Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Weimar wasfollowed by a happy six years as Hofkapellmeister to Prince Leopold ofAnhalt-Coethen f
Disc: 1
St. Matthew Passion: O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden,
1 See Here the Conqu'ring Hero Comes
2 Allegro molto
3 Es ist ein Ros entsprungen
4 I. Andante
5 Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659
6 Slow Movement
7 In dulci jubilo, BWV 729
8 Fast Movement
9 Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 7, "Hornpipe"
10 Pastorale, BWV 590
11 Vivace
12 Largo
13 Wachet Auf, BWV 140, No. 1
14 Keyboard Sonata in B minor, K.87/L.33/P.43
15 O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden
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