November 14, 2010
Musical Talents from the Baroque Era
The Baroque era extended from late Renaissance and early Classical periods between 1600 and 1750. The origin of the term “baroque” comes from Portuguese and refers to an “irregular shaped pearl”. The era of Baroque music was an age of brilliant progress of knowledge. It was also known for the age of the scientific discoveries of Galileo and Newton, and advances in math of Descartes, Newton. Baroque period included production of some of the greatest music of all time.
The Baroque era was filled with musical geniuses. People like Franz Josef Haydn, George Frideric Handel, and Claudio Monteverdi. All of these people were amazing when holding an instrument, sitting at a piano, or writing on manuscript paper, but the finished products were always superb.
Among the influential composers of Baroque music, there have been few who have contributed so much in talent, creativity, and style as Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach was a German organist and composer of the Baroque era. Bach revealed his feelings and his insights in his pieces. Bach's mastery of all the major forms of baroque music (except opera) resulted not only from his genius talent, but also from his life long quest for knowledge. In some parts of Germany, the name, "Bach" became a synonymous with the word, "musician." Extremely talented in the art of Baroque composition, Bach placed his heart, soul, and ingenuity in his music as it is clearly illustrated in his childhood, throughout his career, and of course through his musical works.
Johann Sebastian Bach was born into a family of musicians on March 21, 1685 in Eisenbach, Germany and is considered to have been the greatest composer of western music. According to Classical Net Resources, Bach’s main achievement lies in his synthesis and advanced development of the primary contrapuntal idiom of the late baroque, and the music “tunefulness” of his thematic material. Bach began his career as a court organist and quickly moved to become a church organist. In 1717, Bach moved to Cothen as court conductor to the young Prince Leopold. This was Bach’s first position outside of the church and he directed and composed for the prince s small orchestra for six years. It was during these years that he composed the Brandenburg Concertos.
Following his years at Cothen, Bach accepted the highly prestigious post of cantor, (music director) of St. Thomas church in Leipzig. This was a demanding job in which Bach composed canatas for the St. Thomas and St. Nicholas churches, conduct the choirs, oversee the musical activities of numerous municipal churches, and teach Latin in the St. Thomas choir school. Bach remained at his post in Leipzig until his death in 1750. Although he excelled his forbears and contemporaries, he did not receive the respect he deserved until after his death. Bach is now regarded as one of the greatest composers of all composers and is a source of inspiration for musicians.
The effort of his devotion to music seen in his life and career hopefully will never be forgotten but also that one should take notice the sheer genius this composer displayed in his musical works. Bach's expressive genius in working counterpoint was a clear indication of him understanding and using every resource of musical language in the baroque era. He would weave several musical lines of melodies to one musical piece. Bach became a supreme master of this difficult compositional skill. Plus, through several of his pieces his religion influences him greatly. He even chose to put different cultures in his pieces. He would combine patterns of French dancers, Italian melodies, and German counterpoint all in one when he wished. As well because of the influence of a great vocalist, Buxtehude, he incorporated vocal parts in his pieces at one point in his life. However, later in his works he displayed various instruments and he used each instrument's unique properties of construction and tone quality to perfect his compositions. This was a great characteristic of the baroque.
"Bach." Classical Net. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2010. <http://www.classical.net/>. Comeau, Gilles, and Rosemary Covert. The Illustrated History of Music for Young Musicians: the Baroque Period. [Vanier, Ontario]: CFORP, 1997. Print.