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Baroque Music: From Monteverdi to Handel
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The Baroque Style in music emerged during the late sixteenth century and lasted well into the eighteenth. Italy was the source of this new artistic impulse, which soon spread across Europe, and the period was one of striking contrasts and innovations. Few other eras witnessed such a profusion of new forms: opera, oratorio, cantata, sonata and concerto. Although Baroque music contained distinct national idioms, fundamental values were shared by all the leading creative figures of the time. One such value was a declared intent to move the passions, to stir emotions - those emotions appropriate to the two great contemporary patrons of music, the Church and the nobility. Ecclesiastical commissions encouraged composers to depict suffering, pathos and elation, while secular and court patronage gave them the opportunity to evoke splendor and opulence.Nicholas Anderson, a leading authority on Baroque music and a well-known scholar and broadcaster, relates musical history to the cultural milieu of Church and court, as well as to public patronage. He considers both major figures such as Bach, Handel and Vivaldi, and lesser-known artists whose music is now being avidly collected and explored - Telemann, Charpentier and Leclair, among others. The Baroque period, one of the richest in Western music, provided the foundation for all subsequent musical development. Its enduring strength is amply attested by the popularity of today's "authentic" performances and recordings. Now this growing interest finds its proper complement in a complete and authoritative account of the Baroque heritage.
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