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Purcell, Dido and Aeneas

By metalli Nov 11, 2008 1045 Words
1.) Purcell, Dido and Aeneas, Act III, Dido’s Lament
(10 September 1659 - 21 November 1695)
Purcell was an English Baroque composer. He has often been called England's finest native composer. Purcell incorporated Italian and French stylistic elements but devised a peculiarly English style of Baroque music. His brief career began at the court of Charles II and on through the turbulent times of James II and finally into the period of William and Mary. Purcell’s music ranks among the finest in the Baroque period and because of him England gained a leading position in the world of music.

Objective Facts
Title: Dido and Aeneas (Act III)
Composer: Henry Purcell
Date of Work: 1689
Era: Baroque
Genre: Opera
Language: English
Instrumentation: Strings, Voice
Tempo: Slow
Basis: Roman epic The Aeneid by Virgil
Harmony: Minor
Texture: Monophonic
Repeated: A-A-B-B
Characters: Dido, Aeneas, Belinda, Sorceress
5-measure pattern in slow triple meter
Free Flowing Recitative


Very low sounding, tranquil, piece of music

The tempo of the song makes it very sad for one to listen to.

Very beautiful string work throughout song , complements the singers voice.

2.) Strozzi: Begli occhi

Barabara Strozzi (1619-1677) was an Italian Baroque singer and composer. It had been suggested that Strozzi was a courtesan , and while it is ture she possessed the srtistic skills of this profesion – singing, playing the lute and writing poetry- it still remains a theory. Her singing and overall musical talents were praised by her contemporaries , noting her “bold and graceful singing”. She published many of her compositions throughout her life one of them even dedicating it to Vittoria della Rovere , gran dutchess of Tuscany. Strozzi’s works show mastery of a new solo style, stile conciatato.

Objective Facts

Title: Begli Occhi
Composer: Barbara Strozzi
Era: Baroque
Date: Published in 1654
Time: 4:36
Genre: Italian secular cantata
Medium: Vocal duet and basso continuo
Text: Love Poem
Rhyme Scheme: a-b-b-c-c-d-d-c-c-e-e
Language: Italian
Instrumentation: Harpischord , Voice , Bass Lute
Rhythm: slow, fast , slow , fast , fast
Fast and Dance Like Motions
Slow and Unmeasured Section
Word Painting on “Langue” and “Mordaci”

Subjective Facts
Though not being able to understand Italian, one can immediately feel the love theme throughout the song Singers complement each other very well throughout song.
Flowing motion of voices enable to one hear the feeling this song has and the talent of it singers.

3.) Bach: Contrapunctus I, from The Art of Fugue
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and organist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the elements of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity. He came from a family of musicians so it's no surprise that the talent was passed onto him. Although Bach sang, played several instruments and composed music, he is better known for his compositions on the organ. He also began publishing his own work. Bach wrote over 300 musical pieces but always enjoyed studying music and playing instruments more than writing music.

Objective Facts
Title: Contrapunctus I (The Art of Fugue)
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Date of Completion: 1749
Date of Publication: 1751
Era: Baroque
Time: 3:12
Instrumentation: Harpichord
Form: Fugue (4 voices)
Harmony: Overall Minor harmony but closing Major Chord
Repeated Entries of Main Theme in Different Registers
Anticipation of subject statements and overlapping of subject = stretto Final Statement over sustained pedal note
Alto, Soprano , Tenor , Bass
Opening exposition has 4 voice entries without gaps
Alternation of subject with connecting sections = episode


Very occult sounding music
Mysterious and scary at the same time
Music that can fit it perfectly with a Halloween or an old horror movie

4.) Handel: Water Music, Suite in D Major, Alla Hornpipe
George Handel was a German-born Baroque composer who is famous for his operas, oratorios and concerti grossi. He spent most of his adult life in England, becoming a subject of the British crown on 22 January 1727. His most famous works are Messiah, an oratorio set to texts from the King James Bible; Water Music; and Music for the Royal Fireworks. Throughout his life he was strongly influenced by the techniques of the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the English composer Henry Purcell. Many significant composers who came after him, including Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, recognized Handel’s music.

Objective Facts

Title: Water Music , Suite in D Major , Alla hornpipe
Era: Baroque
Composer: George Halden
Date: 1717
Genre: Dance Suite
Medium: Orchestra (2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 oboes, bassoon, strings) Movements: Allegro
Alla Hornpipe
Melody: Ascending melody with leaps and trills
A-B-A Form
3/2 Major
Key: D Major
Alternation with Strings
B Section for Strings and Woodwinds
Descending Minor Key Melody
Second Movement – Alla Hornpipe


Flowing piece of music; very relaxing.

Immediately what comes to mind is seeing the Queen dancing at A Grand Royal gathering

Very colorful music
5.) Vivaldi: from The Four Seasons, Spring first movement

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (March 4, 1678 – July 28, 1741) nicknamed “The Red Priest", was a Venetian priest and Baroque music composer, as well as a famous virtuoso violinist. Vivaldi was born and raised in the Republic of Venice. The Four Seasons, a series of four violin concerts, is his best-known work and a highly popular Baroque piece. In his instrumental works he naturally favored the violin.

Objective Facts

Title: The Four Seasons (Spring Movement)
Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
Date: Published 1725
Time Frame: 3:33
Genre: Programmatic concerto for solo violin, Op. 8
Tempo: Allegro
Harmony: Major
Key: E Major
Theme: Ritornello, representing spring
Music Pictorialization of Images of Spring
First Movement - Allegro
Virtuosity of Violin Solo
Fast Running Scales and Trils
Inspiration: Based on an Italian Sonnet
Based on 4 parts : Spring , Summer , Autumn , Winter

Subjective Facts

When I first listened, I pictured a grand luxurious dance hall, only attended by the wealthy.

When listening to Vivaldi’s masterpiece several times and taking in consideration its title, I can’t resist but to appreciate how beautiful nature really s.

Manly because the song has been featured in movie several times , I still think back on a few movies this song is in.

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