Johann Sebastian Bach1685-1750Worked as court composer and organist for most of his lifeOne of the most famous and prolific figures of the eraMaster of the Fugue
Most contemporary music is about love between two people. What makes Bach's music particularly striking is that it's about the love of God. .what I appreciate in Bach is his ability to suggest to me what a belief in God feels like. His music seems to me to be about devotion to a perfect ideal - something purer, better, higher ...Alain de Botton Philosopher
I am not a deeply musical person - I don't play and have only the vaguest grasp of musical structures - so this cannot be intellectual, or mathematical, which is what people say Bach is all about. I find him calming, hypnotic, meditative, inspiring and, above all, consoling. I listen to a wide variety of music, from Beck to Bax, but there's a bigness, an optimistic complexity and relish about Bach that makes me return to him in all moods, without ever getting bored. That's about all I can say.Andrew Marr Broadcaster
Bachs MusicWrote in every baroque form except operaTechnical mastery and emotional depthCombined polyphonic texture with rich harmonyFoundation for all of our harmony Often religious in nature- S.D.G.
The FugueThe fugue was a cornerstone of Baroque music. Polyphonic composition based on one main theme, called a subject.
Listen to a fugue by following the familiar subject through all the levels of texture.Beginning of a fugue can be diagrammed like this:
After a voice finishes presenting the subject, it is free to do its own thing.Subject----------------------------..... Etc Subject--------------------------------.... Etc Subject--------------------------------------.... Etc Subject-----------------------------------------... Etc.
Bach: Organ Fugue in G Minor Little FugueOne of Bachs most well-known pieces
The subject is presented by four voices in succession, from highest to lowest.
Bach: Prelude and Fugue in C Minor from The Well Tempered ClavierBach wrote preludes and fugues in all 24 keys (12 major, 12 minor)They are pieces written for students to play and practice
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 2: III. AllegroViolin, flute, oboe, and trumpet with basso continuoVIRTUOSO music- only for the VERY talented and professional musiciansdaring combinations of instruments!
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 10501. Allegro2. Affettuoso3. Allegro
-Shows off the harpsichord.
Bach: B Minor MassThe B Minor Mass is widely regarded as Bachs masterpiece.Each part of the Mass text has its own contrasting movements
Listening: Crucifixus and Et Resurrexit from Bachs B Minor Mass
Church Music in the Baroque EraChorale- hymn tune set to a german religious textChorale prelude- short composition based on the hymn tune that reminded the congregation of the melody.
The Church CantataCantata- a sacred work for chorus and orchestra The cantata was the primary means of musical expression in church.Closely resembled opera, and would include aria, recitative, and duet movements.
Bach: Cantata No. 140: Wachet auf, ruft uns die StimmeBased on a hymn tuneEach movement uses the hymn tune in different ways
George Frideric Handel1685-1759Master of the OratorioProdigy, who at age 11 was composing and giving organ lessonsWorked as composer and performerMoved to London later in his life to compose some of his greatest works
Handels MusicWrote in many forms, but most of his work was Italian operas and English oratorios.Oratorios are usually based on Biblical storiesMost are Old Testament storiesMost famous, however, is the Messiah
Opera vs. OratorioOperaFor chorus and orchestraCostumes, sets and sceneryBased on mythology (secular)Act out a story- characters and plot are revealed through songUsually in Italian
OratorioFor chorus and orchestraNo costumes, sets, or sceneryBased on Biblical stories (sacred)Tells a story through musicIn any language!
Handel: The MessiahOratorio- NOT Opera!! (What's the difference?)Messiah lasts about 2 hours and was written in just 24 daysBased on Biblical text about the MessiahPart 1: Prophecy about the Messiah, Christs birth, and Christs deeds on earthPart 2: Christs death, resurrection, ascension to heaven, and spreading of the GospelPart 3: Prophecy about resurrection of the dead, judgment, and heaven.
Daily Listening Examples:Sinfonia for Strings and Basso Continuo (French Overture)Comfort Ye, My People (Recitative)Evry Valley Shall Be Exalted (Aria)Thus Saith the LORD (Recitative)Hallelujah (Chorus)
Messiah Part 1: Comfort ye my People (Aria)Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:1-3)
Daily Listening Questions:1) Describe the music use adjectives to describe the mood, style, emotion, etc.
Messiah Part 1: Evry valley shall be exaltedEvery valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain. (Isaiah 40:4)
2) Stylistically, what is the main difference between this piece and the previous one?
Messiah Part 1: Thus Saith the Lord (Recitative) Haggai 2:6,7 Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Yet once, a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come.Malachi 3:1 The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.
3) Is this piece more like Comfort Ye, or Every Valley?
Messiah Part 2: Hallelujah (Chorus)Hallelujah! For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!The kingdom of this world Is become the kingdom of our Lord, And of His Christ, and of His Christ; And He shall reign for ever and ever, For ever and ever, forever and ever,King of kings, and Lord of lords, King of kings, and Lord of lords, And Lord of lords, And He shall reign, And He shall reign forever and ever, King of kings, forever and ever, And Lord of lords, Hallelujah! Hallelujah! The job of the Chorus in an Oratorio or Opera is to comment on the action or storyline. This is the most famous Chorus from Messiah.
3) What instruments do you see and hear during this performance?4) Describe the mood, style, sound, emotion, etc of this piece. How does Handels choice of instrumentation add to this effect?5) How does this Oratorio reflect what you know about Baroque music?
Handel: Water Music: Hornpipe No. 12 in DWritten for an outdoor concert on the river Thames.
3 suites, made up of overtures, minuets, bourrees, and hornpipes.
Handel:Music for the Royal Fireworks: III. RejouissanceSome of the first music ever composed for just brass (beginnings of band)Written for an open-air performance complete with fireworksLondon's first recorded traffic jam- 12,000 people attended!
Listening ExerciseOn a separate sheet of paper, identify the composer of the following pieces as either Bach or Handel and then choose the correct name of each piece.
1)Hornpipe from Water MusicLittle Fugue in G MinorThe MessiahB Minor Mass
2)B Minor MassThe MessiahLittle Fugue in G MinorBrandenburg Concerto No. 2
3)The MessiahLittle Fugue in G MinorChorale prelude: Wachet Auf, Ruft uns die Stimme BWV 645Hornpipe from Water Music
4)La Rejoissance from Music for the Royal FireworksFugue in A Minor BWV 543B Minor MassPrelude in C Major from the Well Tempered Clavier
5)La Rejoissance from Music for the Royal FireworksB Minor MassExcerpt from SaulPrelude in C Major from the Well Tempered Clavier
6)Brandenburg Concerto No. 5Excerpt from The MessiahChorale Prelude: Wachet Auf, Ruft uns die Stimme BWV 645Little Fugue in G Minor
7)Excerpt from the B Minor MassExcerpt from SaulHornpipe from Water MusicPrelude in C from the Well Tempered Clavier
8)A) Chorale Prelude: Wachet Auf, Ruft uns die Stimme BWV 645B) La Rejoissance from Music for the Royal FireworksC) Little Fugue in G MinorD) Excerpt from The Messiah
9)Little Fugue in G MinorB Minor MassExcerpt from SaulHornpipe from Water Music
10)Little Fugue in G MinorLa Rejoissance from Music for the Royal FireworksPrelude in C Major from the Well Tempered ClavierB Minor Mass