Baroque Composers

Events

J. Peri

20 August 1561 - 12 August 1633

was an Italian composer and singer of the transitional period between the Renaissance and Baroque styles, and is often called the inventor of opera. He wrote the first work to be called an opera today, Dafne (around 1597), and also the first opera to have survived to the present day, Euridice (1600).Peri was born in Rome, but studied in Florence with Cristofano Malvezzi, and went on to work in a number of churches there, both as an organist and as a singer. He subsequently began to work in the Medici court, first as a tenor singer and keyboard player, and later as a composer. His earliest works were incidental music for plays, intermedi and madrigals.

C. Monteverdi

Approx. 1567 - Approx. 1643

was an Italian composer, gambist, singer, and Catholic priest.

Monteverdi is considered a crucial transitional figure between the Renaissance and the Baroque periods of music history. While he worked extensively in the tradition of earlier Renaissance polyphony, such as in his madrigals, he also made great developments in form and melody and began employing the basso continuo technique, distinctive of the Baroque. Monteverdi wrote one of the earliest operas, L'Orfeo, which is the earliest surviving opera still regularly performed.

M. Praetorius

February 15, 1571 - February 15, 1621

was a German composer, organist, and music theorist.He was one of the most versatile composers of his age, being particularly significant in the development of musical forms based on Protestant hymns, many of which reflect an effort to improve the relationship between Protestants and Catholics.Praetorius was born Michael Schultze, the youngest son of a Lutheran pastor, in Creuzburg, in present-day Thuringia. After attending school in Torgau and Zerbst, he studied divinity and philosophy at the University of Frankfurt (Oder). He was fluent in a number of languages. After receiving his musical education, from 1587 he served as organist at the Marienkirche in Frankfurt. From 1592/3 he served at the court in Wolfenbüttel, under the employ of Henry Julius, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. He served in the duke's State Orchestra, first as organist and later (from 1604) as Kapellmeister.
His first compositions appeared around 1602/3. Their publication primarily reflects the care for music at the court of Gröningen. The motets of this collection were the first in Germany to make use of the new Italian performance practices; as a result, they established him as a proficient composer.

Lepanto's Battle

1575

G. Allegri

Approx. 1582 - 7 February 1652

was an Italian composer of the Roman School and brother of Domenico Allegri; he was also a priest and a singer. He was born and died in Rome.He studied music as a puer (boy chorister) at San Luigi dei Francesi, under the maestro di capella Giovanni Bernardino Nanino, brother of Giovanni Maria Nanino. Being intended for the Church, he obtained a benefice in the cathedral of Fermo. Here he composed a large number of motets and other sacred music, which, being brought to the notice of Pope Urban VIII, obtained for him an appointment in the choir of the Sistine Chapel at Rome as a contralto. He held this from 6 December 1629 until his death. As Andrea Adami wrote, Allegri was regarded as singularly pure and benevolent.

G. Frescobaldi

Approx. 1584 - Approx. 1643

was a musician from Ferrara, one of the most important composers of keyboard music in the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods. A child prodigy, Frescobaldi studied under Luzzasco Luzzaschi in Ferrara, but was influenced by a large number of composers, including Ascanio Mayone, Giovanni Maria Trabaci, and Claudio Merulo. Girolamo Frescobaldi was appointed organist of St. Peter's Basilica, a focal point of power for the Capella Giulia (a musical organisation) from 21 July 1608 until 1628 and again from 1634 until his death.

Frescobaldi's printed collections contain some of the most influential music of the 17th century. His work influenced Johann Jakob Froberger, Johann Sebastian Bach, Henry Purcell, and countless other major composers. Pieces from his celebrated collection of liturgical organ music, Fiori musicali (1635), were used as models of strict counterpoint as late as the 19th century.

F.C. Araujo

17 of September of 1584 - 6 of October of 1654

was a notable Spanish organist, composer, and theorist of the late Renaissance.Correa de Araujo was born in Seville. Like most Spanish organists from this era, details of his life are clouded by obscurity. For some time even the years of his birth and death were disputed.His musical background is unclear; he claimed to have learned theory by studying the works of Francisco de Peraza and Diego del Castillo. In 1599 he received an organ appointment in Seville, but became embroiled in a lawsuit with rival Juan Picafort, which delayed confirmation of this appointment for six years. In 1608, he was ordained as a priest. He maintained the post at Seville until 1636. Several times he applied unsuccessfully for other positions, and once again in 1630, he became embroiled in lawsuits which culminated in a brief period of imprisonment. In 1636, he left Seville and took up a post at Jaén Cathedral. In 1640, he was appointed as a prebendary at Segovia Cathedral, and remained there for the last fourteen years of his life. He died at Segovia in abject poverty.

Shakespeare - Hamlet

1603

Cervantes – D. Quijote

1605

J.B. Lully

28 of November of 1632 - 22 of May of 1687

was an Italian-born French composer, instrumentalist, and dancer who spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV of France. He is considered a master of the French baroque style. Lully disavowed any Italian influence in French music of the period. He became a French subject in 1661.His general education and his musical training during his youth in Florence remain uncertain, but his adult handwriting suggests that he manipulated a quill pen with ease. He used to say that a Franciscan friar gave him his first music lessons and taught him guitar. He also learned to play the violin

Calderón de la Barca – La vida es sueño

1635

G. Sanz

4 of April of 1640 - Approx. 1710

better known as Gaspar Sanz, was an Aragonese composer, guitarist, organist and priest born to a wealthy family in Calanda in the comarca of Bajo Aragón, Spain. He studied music, theology and philosophy at the University of Salamanca, where he was later appointed Professor of Music. He wrote three volumes of pedagogical works for the baroque guitar that form an important part of today's classical guitar repertory and have informed modern scholars in the techniques of baroque guitar playing.His birth date is unknown but he was baptized as Francisco Bartolomé Sanz Celma in the church of Calanda de Ebro, Aragon on 4 April 1640 later adopting the first name "Gaspar".

After gaining his Bachelor of Theology at the University of Salamanca,[1] Gaspar Sanz travelled to Naples, Rome and perhaps Venice to further his music education. He is thought to have studied under Orazio Benevoli, choirmaster at the Vatican and Cristofaro Caresana, organist at the Royal Chapel of Naples. He spent some years as the organist of the Spanish Viceroy at Naples.

Sanz learned to play guitar while studying under Lelio Colista and was influenced by music of the Italian guitarists Foscarini, Granata, and Corbetta. When Sanz returned to Spain he was appointed instructor of guitar to Don Juan (John of Austria), the illegitimate son of King Philip IV and Maria Calderon, a noted actress of the day.

M.A. Charpentier

Approx. 1643 - 24 of February of 1704

was a French composer of the Baroque era.

Exceptionally prolific and versatile, Charpentier produced compositions of the highest quality in several genres. His mastery in writing sacred vocal music, above all, was recognized and hailed by his contemporaries.

Any family relationship between him and Gustave Charpentier, the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century French opera composer, is highly unlikely.Charpentier was born in or near Paris, the son of a master scribe who had very good connections to influential families in the Parlement of Paris. Marc-Antoine received a very good education, perhaps with the help of the Jesuits, and registered for law school in Paris when he was eighteen. He withdrew after one semester. He spent "two or three years" in Rome, probably between 1667 and 1669, and studied with Giacomo Carissimi.

J. Cabanilles

6 of September of 1644 - 29 of April of 1712

was a Spanish organist and composer at Valencia Cathedral. He is considered by many to have been the greatest Spanish Baroque composer, and has been[by whom?] called the Spanish Bach.He probably began his musical career as a singer in a choir of a local church. Later he studied to become a priest in the cathedral at Valencia, which included lessons in music. On 15 May 1665, at 20 years of age, he was named the assistant organist of the cathedral. A year later, upon the death of his predecessor, he became the principal organist. On 22 September 1668 he was ordained as a priest. He kept his position as principal organist for 45 years, but from 1703 on his health often necessitated that a substitute be found. From 1675 to 1677 he also took charge of teaching the children in the cathedral choir. No portrait or likeness of Cabanilles is known to exist; the portrait accompanying certain Facebook pages and other internet articles is of the botanist Antonio José Cavanilles (1745-1804).

A. Corelli

17 of February of 1653 - 8 of January of 1713

was an Italian violinist and composer of the Baroque era. His music was key in the development of the modern genres of sonata and concerto, in establishing the preeminence of the violin, and as the first coalescing of modern tonality and functional harmony.Baptismal records indicate that Corelli was born on 17 February 1653 in the small Romagna town of Fusignano, then in the diocese of Ferrara., Papal States. His family were land-owners who had lived in Fusignano since 1506 (a Corelli moved to the area from Rome in the fifteenth century). Although apparently prosperous, they were almost certainly not of the nobility, as several fanciful accounts of the composer's genealogy subsequently claimed.Corelli's father, from whom he took the name Arcangelo, died five weeks before the composer's birth. Consequently, he was raised by his mother, Santa (née Ruffini, or Raffini), alongside four elder siblings.

Velázquez - Las Meninas

1656

M. Marais

31 of May of 1656 - 15 of August 1728

was a French composer and viol player. He studied composition with Jean-Baptiste Lully, often conducting his operas, and with master of the bass viol Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe for six months. He was hired as a musician in 1676 to the royal court of Versailles. He did quite well as court musician, and in 1679 was appointed ordinaire de la chambre du roy pour la viole, a title he kept until 1725.Marin Marais was a master of the viol, and the leading French composer of music for the instrument. He wrote five books of Pièces de viole (1686–1725) for the instrument, generally suites with basso continuo. These were quite popular in the court, and for these he was remembered in later years as he who "founded and firmly established the empire of the viol" (Hubert Le Blanc, 1740). His other works include a book of Pièces en trio (1692) and four operas (1693–1709), Alcyone (1706) being noted for its tempest scene.

H. Purcell

10 September 1659 - 21 November 1695

was an English composer. Although incorporating Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, Purcell's legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest English composers; no other native-born English composer approached his fame until Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Benjamin Britten in the 20th century.Purcell was born in St Ann's Lane, Old Pye Street Westminster – the area of London later known as Devil's Acre – in 1659. Henry Purcell Senior, whose older brother Thomas Purcell (d. 1682) was also a musician, was a gentleman of the Chapel Royal and sang at the coronation of King Charles II of England. Henry the elder had three sons: Edward, Henry and Daniel. Daniel Purcell (d. 1717), the youngest of the brothers, was also a prolific composer who wrote the music for much of the final act of The Indian Queen after Henry Purcell's death. Henry Purcell's family lived just a few hundred yards west of Westminster Abbey from 1659 onwards.

F. Couperin

10 of November of 1668 - 11 of September of 1733

was a French Baroque composer, organist and harpsichordist. He was known as Couperin le Grand ("Couperin the Great") to distinguish him from other members of the musically talented Couperin family.Couperin was born into one of the best known musical families of Europe. His father Charles was organist at Church Saint-Gervais in Paris, a position previously occupied by Charles' brother Louis Couperin, a highly regarded keyboard virtuoso and composer whose career was cut short by an early death. As a boy, François must have received his first music lessons from his father. Unfortunately, Charles died in 1679. The church council at Saint-Gervais hired Michel Richard Delalande to serve as new organist, with the condition that François would replace him at age 18. Meanwhile, the boy was taken care of and taught by organist Jacques-Denis Thomelin, who served both at the court and at the famous church of St Jacques-de-la-Boucherie. According to a biography by Évrard Titon du Tillet, Thomelin treated the boy extremely well and became "a second father" to him. François's talent must have manifested itself quite early, since already by 1685 the church council agreed to provide him with a regular salary even though he had no formal contract.

A. Vivaldi

4 of March of 1678 - 28 of July of 1741

was an Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher and cleric. Born in Venice, he is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread across Europe. He composed many instrumental concertos, for the violin and a variety of other instruments, as well as sacred choral works and more than forty operas. His best-known work is a series of violin concertos known as The Four Seasons.

Many of his compositions were written for the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children where Vivaldi (who had been ordained as a Catholic priest) was employed from 1703 to 1715 and from 1723 to 1740. Vivaldi also had some success with expensive stagings of his operas in Venice, Mantua and Vienna. After meeting the Emperor Charles VI, Vivaldi moved to Vienna, hoping for preferment. However, the Emperor died soon after Vivaldi's arrival, and Vivaldi himself died less than a year later in poverty.

G.P. Telemann

14 of March of 1681 - 25 of June of 1767

was a German Baroque composer and multi-instrumentalist. Almost completely self-taught in music, he became a composer against his family's wishes. After studying in Magdeburg, Zellerfeld, and Hildesheim, Telemann entered the University of Leipzig to study law, but eventually settled on a career in music. He held important positions in Leipzig, Sorau, Eisenach, and Frankfurt before settling in Hamburg in 1721, where he became musical director of the city's five main churches. While Telemann's career prospered, his personal life was always troubled: his first wife died only a few months after their marriage, and his second wife had extramarital affairs and accumulated a large gambling debt before leaving Telemann.

J.P. Rameau

25 of September of 1683 - 12 of September of 1764

was one of the most important French composers and music theorists of the Baroque era. He replaced Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant composer of French opera and is also considered the leading French composer for the harpsichord of his time, alongside François Couperin.

Little is known about Rameau's early years, and it was not until the 1720s that he won fame as a major theorist of music with his Treatise on Harmony (1722) and also in the following years as a composer of masterpieces for the harpsichord, which circulated throughout Europe. He was almost 50 before he embarked on the operatic career on which his reputation chiefly rests today. His debut, Hippolyte et Aricie (1733), caused a great stir and was fiercely attacked by the supporters of Lully's style of music for its revolutionary use of harmony. Nevertheless, Rameau's pre-eminence in the field of French opera was soon acknowledged, and he was later attacked as an "establishment" composer by those who favoured Italian opera during the controversy known as the Querelle des Bouffons in the 1750s. Rameau's music had gone out of fashion by the end of the 18th century, and it was not until the 20th that serious efforts were made to revive it. Today, he enjoys renewed appreciation with performances and recordings of his music ever more frequent.

G.F. Händel

23 of February of 1685 - 14 of April of 1759

was a German, later British baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos. Handel received important training in Halle and worked as a composer in Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712; he became a naturalised British subject in 1727. He was strongly influenced both by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and by the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.

Within fifteen years, Handel had started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera. Musicologist Winton Dean writes that his operas show that "Handel was not only a great composer; he was a dramatic genius of the first order." As Alexander's Feast (1736) was well received, Handel made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742) he never performed an Italian opera again. Almost blind, and having lived in England for nearly fifty years, he died in 1759, a respected and rich man. His funeral was given full state honours, and he was buried in Westminster Abbey in London.

J.S. Bach

31 of March of 1685 - 28 of July of 1750

was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and over three hundred cantatas of which around two hundred survive. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.

Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.

D. Scarlatti

26 of October of 1685 - 23 of July of 1757

was an Italian composer who spent much of his life in the service of the Portuguese and Spanish royal families. He is classified primarily as a Baroque composer chronologically, although his music was influential in the development of the Classical style and he was one of the few Baroque composers to transition into the classical period. Like his renowned father Alessandro Scarlatti, he composed in a variety of musical forms, although today he is known mainly for his 555 keyboard sonatas.Domenico Scarlatti was born in Naples, Kingdom of Naples, belonging to Spanish Crown, in 1685, the same year as Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel. He was the sixth of ten children of the composer and teacher Alessandro Scarlatti. Domenico's older brother Pietro Filippo was also a musician.

P. Soler

3 of December 1729 - 20 of December of 1783

usually known as Padre ('Father', in the religious sense) Antonio Soler, known in Catalan as Antoni Soler i Ramoswas a Spanish composer whose works span the late Baroque and early Classical music eras. He is best known for his keyboard sonatas, an important contribution to the harpsichord, fortepiano and organ repertoire.Soler was born in Olot (Catalonia, Spain) in the historical County of Besalú. In 1736, when he was six, he entered the Escolania of the Monastery of Montserrat where he studied music with the resident maestro Benito Esteve and organist Benito Valls. In 1744, he was simultaneously appointed organist and subdeacon at the Cathedral of La Seu d'Urgell. Later in life, he was chapel master in Lleida and at the Royal Court in El Escorial. In El Escorial, he studied with professors about different subjects of music.