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Paper 2 - 1 Enos Krystin Goldblatt David MUL 2010-4847...

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Enos, Krystin July 28, 2006 Goldblatt, David MUL 2010-4847 Essay 2 Word Count: 3,011 The Baroque period was characterized by immense amounts of musical ornamentation which was pieced together through an almost scientific process. Polyphony and homophony are further sophisticated through the use of harmony for the first time in music history. It is a time of new creativity, innovations, techniques, and sounds. Many of the works produced during the time used themes derived from the Greek and Roman cultures, yet were very sophisticated and accepted by all levels of society. The Baroque period, which covers the time from 1600 to 1750, produced many composers whose work has lasted throughout the centuries. These remarkable people include George Frederic Handel, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Antonio Vivaldi. These three men represent the epitome of the Baroque style and are all excellent contenders for the award of the best composer of the Baroque time. To choose from among them can be compared to picking a favorite diamond in a heap of gems. It is truly an impossible task. They all have their individual affects on the era which they help to define. George Frederic Handel was a German and British composer who led the Baroque Period in composing concerti grossi, operas, and oratoios. In total he wrote about 50 operas, 23 oratorios, a vast amount of church music, and some instrumental pieces. Among the organ concerti, which Handel is famous for, are the pieces “The 1 1
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Cuckoo and the Nightingale,” the Opus 3 and 6 Concerti Grossi, the Water Music , and the Fireworks Music . Handel was the father of Italian operas, and after his death they almost disappeared except for some fragments. His popularity through the 19 th and 20 th centuries is mainly from his English oratorios such as Esther , Athalia , Saul , Israel in Egypt , Messiah , Samson , Judas Maccabaues , Solomon , and Jephtha . The 1960s saw a revival of interest in Baroque music, and Handel’s Italian operas were reborn. Many have since been recorded and performed, these include Alcina , Ariodante , Orlando , Rinaldo , and Serse . Many argue however that Handel’s best operas are Giulio Cesarei and Rodelinda because of the incredible orchestral and vocal writing. Both of the operas have become part of the opera mainstream. Apart from operas, Handel also wrote a number of secular cantatas. For these pieces, he turned to classical mythology for inspiration. The products of such inspiration are such works as Acis and Galatea , Hercules , and Semele . These works are said to be very similar to the sacred oratorios but are lyrically and dramatically similar to Handel’s Italian operas. Because of these similarities they are sometimes performed by small chamber ensembles. This is why Handel is known as one of opera’s great musical dramatists on top of being known as an instrumentalist, orchestral writer, and melodist.
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