Baroque (1600-1750)

During the Baroque period, the foundations were laid for the following 300 or so years of musical expression: the idea of the modern orchestra was born, along with opera (including the overture, prelude, aria, recitative and chorus), the concerto, sonata, and modern cantata. The rather soft-grained viol string family of the Renaissance was gradually replaced by the bolder violin, viola and cello, the harpsichord was invented, and important advances were made in all instrumental groups.

Until about 1700, the old modes still exerted themselves from time to time by colouring certain melodic lines or chord progressions, but from the beginning of the 18th century the modern harmonic system based upon the major and minor scales was effectively pan-European. Choral music no longer dominated, and as composers turned more and more to writing idiomatic instrumental works for ensembles of increasing colour and variety, so ‘classical’ music (as opposed to ‘popular’) gradually began to work its way into the very fabric of society, being played outdoors at dinner parties or special functions (e.g. Handel’s Water Music), or as a spectacle in the form of opera. On a purely domestic level, every wealthy lady would have a spinet to play, and at meal-times the large and rich houses would employ musicians to play what was popularly called Tafelmusik in Germany, of which Telemann was perhaps the most famous composer.

Of the many 17th century composers who paved the way for this popular explosion of ‘classical’ music, the following were outstanding: Monteverdi, Corelli, Alessandro Scarlatti, Schutz, Buxtehude, Purcell and Lully. Yet, the most popular composers of the period, indeed those who seem to define by their very names the sound of Baroque music at its most colourful and sophisticated are Johann Sebastian Bach, Handel, Telemann, Rameau, François Couperin, Domenico Scarlatti, and Vivaldi, all of them at their creative peak during the first half of the 18th century.

Album Title Catalogue No.
(re)creations ACC-30531
… First Steps UP0137-2
… just songs! OC801
100 Anniversary Edition - Salzburg Festival 755608
100 Anniversary Edition - Salzburg Festival 755704
100 Christmas Classics C7331
100 Christmas Meditation C7371
100 Masterpieces of Sacred Choral Music C7155
101 Classics: The Best Loved Classical Melodies 8.508004
101 Great Orchestral Classics, Vol. 1 8.551141
101 Great Orchestral Classics, Vol. 2 8.551142
101 Great Orchestral Classics, Vol. 3 8.551143
101 Great Orchestral Classics, Vol. 4 8.551144
101 Great Orchestral Classics, Vol. 5 8.551145
101 Great Orchestral Classics, Vol. 6 8.551146
101 Great Orchestral Classics, Vol. 7 8.551147
101 Great Orchestral Classics, Vol. 8 8.551148
101 Great Orchestral Classics, Vol. 9 8.551149
18th Century Keyboard Music TC720001
18th-Century Neapolitan Flute Sonatas CDS7819
20 Klassiska Favoriter 8.570566
20 Years Of Classical Music: Naxos Anniversary Collection (Naxos Denmark) 8.570598
21st Century Cinema Classics 8.556698
25 år med Klassiska Favoriter 8.578228