A Selection of Baroque Music

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The XVIIth century was obviously built upon the music of the preceding century, in that it consisted of first perfecting what the masters of the Renaissance had done, and then introduced new forms of music (opera, oratorio, concerto, sonata).

The first country to consider when examining the history of baroque music is Italy. All the new forms arose there.

The desire to imitate the chorus of the Greek tradegy led to the concept of opera. It was born in Italy around 1600, and is a big part of the evolution of the secular vocal style. Some composers, such as Caccini, began to change the role of the voice to increase personal expression and faithfulness to the poet, in tragedy as well as comedy....

Giulio Caccini (1550-1618) : Le Nuove Musiche (1601-1614)
M. Figueras, H. Smith, R. Clancy, J. Savall, X. Schindler
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi GD 77 164
Orazio Vecchi (1550-1605) : L'Amfiparnasso (1597) - Il convito musicale (1597)
Ensemble Clement Janequin - D. Visse
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 461
Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) : Il Secondo Libro de' Madrigali (1590)
Concerto Italiano - R. Alessandrini
Opus 111 OPS 30-111

In these works, the authors anticipated the future by using surprising harmonic effects. They constitute the border between the Renaissance and Baroque eras.

Monteverdi, even if not the first to compose an opera, was certainly the master who fixed that genre, serving as the basis for all subsequent opera composers. Between 1607 and 1642, the evolution of this genre became irreversible, and would influence all music composed afterward. The expression, the link between text and music, is put to the fore.

Claudio Monteverdi : L'Orfeo (1607) Il ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria (1614)
l'incoronazione di Poppea (1642)
Monteverdi Ensemble - Opernhaus Zürich - N. Harnoncourt
Teldec 91342 (9CDs)

Monteverdi also modified the style of the madrigal to take into account this evolution, and served as a model for his contemporaries in this genre as well.

Claudio Monteverdi : Il sesto libro de magrigali (1614)
Concerto Italiano - R. Alessandrini
Arcana - A66
Tarquinio Merula (1594-1665) : Arie e Capricci (1633, 1638)
M. Figueras, J.P. Canihac, T. Koopman, R. Lislevand, J. Savall
Astrée E8503
O primavera - Luzzaschi, Caccini, Marini, Frescobaldi, Monteverdi, Rossi...
C. Bott - New London Consort - P. Pickett
L'oiseau-lyre Florilegium 443 184-2

The above allows a comparison between two of Monteverdi's books of madrigals, and shows how he succeeded at putting drama in music. Merula's works illustrate how voice and instruments together can lead to emotion. The latter collection traverses the whole Baroque era.

The following generations extended this style to its apogee, such that ornamentation and virtuosity add directly to emotional expression.

Giovanni-Felice Sances (1600-1679) : Motetti e cantade a voce sola
Concerto Soave - M.C. Kiehr - S. Moquet M. Spaeter J.M. Aymes C. Pluhar
Empreinte digitale ED 13038
Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674) : Duos and Cantatas
A. Mellon - R. Jacobs - A. Zweistra - Y. Reperant - K. Junghänel
Harmonia Mundi HMA 1901 262
Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) : Cantate e Duetti
C. Miatello - C. Cavina - G. Fagotto - L. Scoppola - R. Alessandrini
Tactus TC 661901
Antonio Caldara (1670-1736) : Medea and other cantatas for alto solo
G. Lesne - Il seminario musicale
Virgin classics 0777 7590582 3
Francesco Durante (1684-1755) : Duetti da camera (1720)
J. Nelson - R. Jacobs - W. Kuijken - W. Christie
Harmonia Mundi Musique d'abord HMA 190 1014

The popularity of opera spread beyond Italy, thanks to composers who were invited to demonstrate this new art. One example is L. Rossi who came to the court of France in 1646, and accelerated the development of opera in that country.

Luigi Rossi (1597-1653) : Orfeo (1647)
A. Mellon M. Zanetti N. Rime S. Piau Les Arts Florissants - W. Christie
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 358/60 (3 CDs)
Pier Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676) : Xerse (1654)
R. Jacobs, J. Feldman, A. Mellon, G. de Mey, Concerto Vocale - R. Jacobs
Harmonia Mundi 901 175/78 (4CDs)
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) : Dorilla in Tempe (1726)
M.C. Kiehr J. Elwes P. Cantor J. Nirouet - Ens. Baroque de Nice - G. Bezzina
Pierre Verany PV 794 092 (2 CDs)

But the enrichment of music to reflect more of the beauty of the text did not touch only secular art. In Italy, we had the birth of the oratorio (a sort of sacred opera) and religious cantatas or grand motets, inspired by the same will to illuminate the text by the most expressive music. The following compositions representative of the "stile antico," coming directly from Renaissance art,

Adriaan Willaert (1490-1562) - Gabrieli : Venetian music for double choir
Ensemble Currende - Concerto palatino - E. van Nevel
Accent ACC 93101 D
Claudio Monteverdi : Missa in illo tempore a sei voci (1610)
La chapelle royale - P. Herreweghe
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 355
Pier Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676) : Requiem (1675) Musiche sacre (1656)
Akademia - F. Lasserre
Pierre Verany PV 793052

The same work on words and their relation to music (as in opera) was done, to create the "stile moderno," adding affeto to the old art. Monteverdi, represented in both styles, is again the master from whom all took inspiration. In fact his contribution to the "stile antico" was a tribute to the old Renaissance masters.

Monteverdi : Motets for 1, 2 and 3 voices (Salve regina, O quam pulchra es...)
G. Lesne B. Lesne J. Benet J. Cabre - Il seminario musicale - Tragicomedia
Virgin Veritas 7596022 8
Monteverdi : Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)
M. Figueras G. de Mey M.C. Kiehr D. Carnovich - La capella reial - J. Savall
Astrée E 8719 (2CDs)
Monteverdi : Vespro della beata Vergine (1610) - Magnificat a 6
Monteverdi Choir - English baroque soloists - J.E. Gardiner
Archiv 429 565-2 (2CDs)
Alessandro Grandi (1577-1630) : Vulnerasti Cor Meum (1610-1630)
E. Scholl M.C. Kiehr R. Jacobs A. Scholl G. Türk O. Rastbichler
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472 77281 2

The Vespers are the sacred chef d'oeuvre of Monteverdi, in which he explored every possibility for praising the Virgin, giving a marvelous account of the Venetian age.

By its variety, and constant illustration of the text by the music, Monteverdi paved the way for the oratorio (the term first being used in ~1640).

Luigi Rossi (1597-1653) : Oratorio per la settimana Santa - Un peccator pentito
A. Mellon J. Feldman G. Lesne D. Visse - Les Arts florissants - W. Christie
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 297
Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674) : Historia of Jephte - Marazzoli : 2 oratorios
J. Koslowsky M.-C. Kiehr G. Türk W. Jochens - Cantus Köln - K. Junghänel
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472 77322 2
Alessandro Stradella (1644-1682) : San Givanni Battista (1675)
C. Bott G. Lesne P. Huttenlocher - Les musiciens du Louvre - M. Minkowski
Erato 2292-45739-2
Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) : Cain il primo Omicidio (1707)
G. Banditelli C. Miatello C. Cavina - Europa Galante - Alessandrini/Biondi
Opus 111 - OPS 30-75/76

The expression of the voice alone was also appreciated for rendering those works with very strong texts, like religious motets:

Alessandro Scarlatti : Lamentazioni per la Settimana Santa (1706)
N. Rime - M. Lins - Le parlement de musique - M. Gester
Opus 111 - OPS 30-66
Alessandro Scarlatti : Motets
G. Lesne - V. Gens - Il Seminario Musicale
Virgin Veritas VC 5 45103 2
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) : Salve Regina RV616 RV618 Violin Concerto RV581
G. Lesne - F. Biondi - Il Seminario Musicale
Virgin Veritas 0777 7 59232 2 3
Antonio Vivaldi : Stabat Mater RV621 Nisi Dominus RV608
G. Lesne - M. Minkowski - B. Cocset - P. Monteilhet - J.C. Ablitzer
Harmonic Records H/CD 8720
Baldassare Galuppi (1706-1785) : Motets
G. Lesne - V. Gens - P. Harvey - Il Seminario Musicale
Virgin Veritas VC 5 45030 2
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) : Salve Regina - Stabat Mater
M. van der Sluis G. Lesne F. Biondi M. Naddeo H. Kurosaki - R. Clemencic
Accord 200 062

[As I earn no money with G. Lesne, if you find other references more appropriate please give them -:]

Italy brought also another revolution in the domain of instrumental music. The Renaissance left a legacy of krumhorns, sackbutts, shawms, but here we find new instruments such as the harpsichord, violin, transverse flute -- and above all, new forms of music.

The first instruments to benefit from technical improvements, and to gain success with listeners, were, in that country, the keyboard instruments.

150 years of Italian music (1575-1725)
Rinaldo Alessandrini (Harpsichord)
Opus 111 - OPS 30-118
Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643) : Works for Harpsichord
Gustav Leonhardt
Philips 432 128-2
Girolamo Frescobaldi : Harpsichord works
Colin Tilney
Dorian 90124
B. Storace : Selva di varie compositioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo (1664)
Rinaldo Alessandrini
Astrée E 8702
Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) : Toccate per cembalo
Rinaldo Alessandrini
Arcana A 3

All of these pieces show the Baroque contributions to keyboard practice: new forms such as toccatas, partitas, ricercars, cappricios (whose names suggest the character of these works). A great number of effects are used here, as with the voice, to break the progressions and illustrate the virtuosity of the composer/performer. In the domain of harmonic modulation and rhythmic suspension, Frescobaldi and later A. Scarlatti give an entire body of examples in the works mentioned above. And they created a way for Domenico Scarlatti (son of Alessandro), who with his 555 sonatas, gave a wonderful world, self-sufficient, to the posterity. His genious of rythm, inspiration and musicality make them one of the highest monument of baroque instrumental music. The ultimate version of these works may be found in:

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) : Complete Keyboard works
Scott Ross (Harpsichord)
Erato 2292 45309-2 (34 CDs)

But for those not rich enough to buy this highly recommandable set, here are some other references to consider:

Domenico Scarlatti : Harpsichord Sonatas
Pierre Hantaï (Harpsichord)
Astrée E 8502
Domenico Scarlatti : 19 Harpsichord Sonatas
Colin Tilney
Dorian Recordings DOR-90103
Domenico Scarlatti : 15 Harpsichord Sonatas
Igor Kipnis
Chesky CD75
Domenico Scarlatti : 56 Harpsichord Sonatas
Scott Ross (Harpsichord)
Erato 2292 45422-2 (3 CDs)

The second instrument which continued to grow in prominence during the XVIIth century was the violin. Coming from the viol, the fiddle, and the lira, the violin's strength of sound and potential for great virtuosity and expression made it the favourite instrument of Italian composers.

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1707) : Concerti Grossi Opus 6
La petite Bande - S. Kuijken
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi GD 77007
Francesco Maria Veracini (1690-1768) : 5 Ouvertures #1,2,3,4,6 (1716)
Musica Antiqua Köln - R. Goebel
Archiv Produktion 439 937-2
Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770) : Sonatas for violin Op. 1 #4,9,10 Op. 2 #7
F. Biondi - M. Naddeo - R. Alessandrini - P. Monteilhet
Opus 111 59-9205
Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762) : 5 Sonatas (2 Vls) & 2 Concerti Grossi
Purcell Quartet & Purcell Band
Hyperion CDA66264
Francesco Antonio Bonporti (1672-1749) : Serenatas & Concertinos
Luigi Mangiocavallo, Marco Mencoboni, Claudio Ronco
Nuovo Era 6939
Pietro Locatelli (1695-1764) : 4 Sonatas & Capriccio "Prova del'Intonatione"
Elizabeth Wallfisch, Richard Tunnicliffe, Paul Nicholson - Locatelli Trio
Hyperion CDA66363

Around the violin, two new forms appeared: the concerto (as well as the concerto grosso) and the sonata, showing that the violin is also well suited for chamber music. One of the Great Italian Masters is, without question, the violinist/composer Antonio Vivaldi:

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) : "L'Amoroso" RV271 (violin) RV159 (strings) RV540
S. Standage - R. Goodman - L. Beznosiuk - The English concert - T. Pinnock
Archiv Produktion 419 615-2
Antonio Vivaldi : Le quatro Stagioni (1720) + RV171 + RV163
Europa Galante - F. Biondi
Opus 111 - OPS 56-9120
Antonio Vivaldi : Concerti RV761 (violin) RV517 (2 viol.) RV547 (violin+cello)
Europa Galante - F. Biondi
Opus 111 - OPS 30-9004
Antonio Vivaldi : Concerti (RV 402,406,414) and Sonatas (RV 39,42,44) for cello
C. Coin (Cello) - The Academy of ancient music - C. Hogwood
Oiseau-Lyre 433 052-2

As Vivaldi's music on the above discs illustrates, the violin was used as a solo instrument, as well as in ensembles of string instruments. The variety of musical ideas is impressive (despite what Stravinsky thought -:). The two Biondi CDs should be viewed as theatre pieces, expressed in music, given the amount of life in the play of the instrumentalists.

Wind instruments changed also, and slowly the cornets and sackbutts gave way to the "flauto dolce" (baroque recorder) and the transverse flute, allowing more virtuosity and speed of execution.

Giovanni & Andrea Gabrielli - Giuseppe Guami : Canzoni da sonare
Hespèrion XX - J. Savall
EMI - CDM 7 63141 2
6 Italian Recorder Sonatas by Colista - Corelli - Mancini - A. Scarlatti
Conrad Steinmann, recorder - London Baroque
Claves CD50-8912
Antonio Vivaldi : Concerti per flauto, Archi e Cembalo Op. 10
F. Brüggen (recorder & dir.) - Orchestra of the XVIIIth century
RCA Seon RD 70951
Italian recorder sonatas : Corelli - Barsanti - Bigaglia - Marcello - Veracini
F. Brüggen (recorder) - A. Bylsma (cello) - G. Leonhardt (harpsichord)
Teldec 4509-93669-2

The latter is the most virtuosic style of the era: the Folia, theme with variations. On the other hand, Vivaldi used the recorder and the flute to evoke birds and tempests.

Now we just have to cross the Alps, to see that France took a lot from Italian music, at that time. From there, it developed its own musical language to arrive at a point where those for and against the Italian style were in conflict.

The origin of the Opera may be found in the "comedie-ballet" and in the "air de cour", as illustrated below:

Airs de cour (Bataille - Ballard - Guedron - Boesset - Moulinié - Boyer)
Marie-Claude Vallin (Sop) - Max von Egmond (Bar) - Lutz Kirchhof (lute)
Sony Vivarte SK 48250
Michel Lambert (1610-1696) : Airs de cour (1689)
A. Mellon - J. Feldman - G. Laurens - Les Arts florissants - W. Christie
Harmonia Mundi HMA 190 1123
Sébastien Le Camus (1610-1677) : Airs de cour - Lemoyne : Pièces pour Luth
V. Gens (Soprano) - J.P. Fouchécourt (Tenor) - P. Monteilhet (Theorbe)
FNAC Music 592 294

This work on the Opera was subsequently continued in France by Lully, who fixed the style of French opera (mainly by giving added weight to dance and declamation, inspired by theatre, and by introducing choral sections). He also created the musical tragedy, thanks to the poet P. Quinault.

Jean Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) : Atys (1676)
G. de Mey G. Laurens A. Mellon - Les Arts florissants - W. Christie
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 257/59 (3CDs)
Jean Baptiste Lully : Phaéton (1683)
H. Crook R. Yakar J. Smith V. Gens - Les musiciens du Louvre - M. Minkowski
Erato MusiFrance 4509-91737-2 (2CDs)
Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1644-1704) : Médée (1693)
L. Hunt M. Padmore B. Deletré M. Zanetti - Les Arts florissants - W. Christie
Erato 4509 96558-2 (3 CDs)
Marin Marais (1656-1728) : Alcyone (1706)
J. Smith G. Ragon J.P. Fouchécourt - Les musiciens du Louvre - M. Minkowski
Erato MusiFrance 2292-45522-2 (3CDs)

The interaction between words (the high quality of these texts is sufficiently rare in the domain of opera that it should be underlined) and music gives some famous examples of the Baroque spirit: Listen to the sleep scene of Atys, or the final fall of Phaéton: you'll never forget it.

Other genres also arose: the comedy with ballet, and the secular cantata, both inspired by opera and extending this style in all directions.

André Campra (1660-1744) : Cantates françaises (Arion - Enee et Didon...)
J. Feldman D. Visse J.F. Gardeil - Les Arts florissants - W. Christie
Harmonia Mundi Musique d'abord HMA 190 1238

In France, sacred music blossomed mainly in the form of the "grand motet." Some recordings illustrative of the entire XVIIth century:

Guillaume Bouzignac (1590-1640) : Motets - Te Deum
Les Arts florissants - Les pages de la Chapelle - W. Christie
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 471
Henry Dumont (1610-1684) : Motets pour la chapelle royale (1657)
H. Ledroit H. Crook G. Laurens P. Kooy - La Chapelle Royale - P. Herreweghe
Harmonia Mundi Musique d'abord HMA 190 1077
Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) : Grands motets - Dies Iræ - Misere + Dumont
D. Brown G. Laurens H. Ledroit H. Crook - La chapelle royale P. Herreweghe
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 167
Marc-Antoine Charpentier : Antiennes O de l'avent
A. Mellon J. Feldman G. Laurens D. Visse - Les Arts florissants - W. Christie
Harmonia Mundi 0905 124
Marc-Antoine Charpentier : Canticum ad Beatam Virginem Mariam (1671-1684)
M. Figueras M.C. Kiehr G. Lesne J. Elwes - Le concert des nations - J. Savall
Astrée E 8713
Daniel Danielis (1635-1696) : Motets for one or two voices, violins and B.C.
A. Mellon, D. Collot, R. Terakado, F. Malgoire, K. Uemura - C. Rousset
Koch Schwann 3-1031-2
Sebastien de Brossard (1655-1730) : Cantiques sacrez
N. Rime J.P. Fouchécourt I. Honeyman - Le parlement de Musique M. Gester
Opus 111 - OPS 30-69
Michel Richard Delalande (1657-1726) : De Profundis and other Motets
Choir of New College, Oxford - E. Higginbottom - King's Consort - R. King
Erato 2292-45014-2
Michel Richard Delalande : Dies Iræ - Miserere Mei Deus
La Chapelle Royale - P. Herreweghe
Haronia Mundi HMC 901 352
Louis-Nicolas Clérambault (1676-1749) : Chants et motets - Livres d'orgue
Les demoiselles de St Cyr - E. Mandrin - J. Boyer (Organ)
FNAC Music 592316 (2CDs)

The former, by a very surprising composer, Bouzignac, illustrates dialogue and ritornello motets, a capella. The latter presents a liturgical service from Clérambault for women's voices only. Charpentier and Brossard were probably the most influenced by the italian art, and the works presented here count among the most beautiful of the whole century.

However, "classical" forms were not absolutely neglected, and present -- though rare -- some of the most beautiful pieces in French Baroque music.

André Campra (1660-1744) : Requiem (~1700)
E. Baudry M. Zanetti J. Benet J. Elwes - La Chapelle royale - P. Herreweghe
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 251
Jean Gilles (1668-1705) : Requiem - Diligam Te
A. Mellon V. Gens H. Crook H. Lamy - La Chapelle Royale P. Herreweghe
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 341

Even though we don't have many works by Gilles, the percussion at the beginning of the Requiem shows all the nobility of this music.

Marc-Antoine Charpentier : Leçons de Ténèbres du Vendredi Saint
A. Mellon G. Lesne I. Honeyman J. Bona - Il Seminario Musicale
Virgin Classics 0777 7 59295 2 2
François Couperin (1668-1733) : Leçons de Ténèbres du Mercredy Saint
G. Lesne S. Dugardin J. Cabre M. Bothwell - Il Seminario Musicale
Harmonic Records 9140
François Couperin : Leçons de Ténèbres du Mercredy Saint
J. Belliard - H. Lamy - I. Piveteau - P. Foulon
Le Chant du Monde CLB 0278 809
Jean Gilles : Leçons de Ténèbres - G. Bouzignac : Motets
The Boston Camerata - A. Azema F. Jodry D. Mc Cabe W. Hite C. Kale - Joel Cohen
Erato 4509 98480-2

The Lesson genre, first brought to perfection by Victoria, is restricted here to one or two voices, in order to express the austere grandeur of the text. This music is the most moving you can imagine.

In France, a rich instrumental school also appeared, but at the beginning it concentrated more on keyboard and lute. For the latter, composers formalised the suite.

François Dufaut (? - 1670?) : Pièces de luth en manuscripts (1640-1670)
Hopkinson. Smith
Astrée E 7735
Ennemond Gaultier (1575-1651) : Suites for lute
Hopkinson Smith
Astrée E 8703
Robert de Visée (1650-1723) : Suites for lute
Hopkinson Smith
Astrée E 7733

This instrument reflects the ambivalence of that era: grand preludes juxtaposed with charming dances and melancholy sarabandes.

The keyboard composers took the art of the suite developed by the lutenist, along with many style effects: unmeasured prelude, ornaments, etc. This was called "brise," the broken style typified by arpeggiated chords.

J. Champion de Chambonnieres (1601-1672) : Suites, Pavanes & Preludes (1670)
Skip Sempé (Harpsichord)
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472 77210-2
Louis Couperin (1626-1661) : Suites and Pavane
Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichords)
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77058
Louis Couperin : Pièces de clavecin
Bob van Asperen
EMI Reflexe CDC 7 54340 2
Jean-Henry d'Anglebert (1635-1691) : Pieces for keyboard (1689)
Scott Ross (Harpsichord/Organ)
Erato MusiFrance 2292-245 007-2 (2 CDs)

Even though Chambonnieres is known as the father of the French harpsichord school, the real innovations came with Louis Couperin, whose style seems to be one of the most completely developed in terms of melodic invention, poetry and rhythm. His nephew François realised the apotheosis of that art, with magnificent descriptive works, taking the best part of the Italian art.

François Couperin (1668-1733) : Third Book of harpsichord works (1722)
Olivier Baumont (Harpsichords) +D. Moroney
Erato MusiFrance 4509-92859-2
The Couperin Family (Louis, François, Armand-Louis) : Harpsichord works
Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord)
Philips 420 939-2
Antoine Forqueray (1672-1745) : Suites (1747 by his son)
Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord)
Sony Vivarte SK 48 080

But at that time, there was no distinction made between harpsichordists and organists. To the suite of dances illustrated by the first, follows the spiritual style of the second typified by their organ masses.

François Couperin : Messe à l'usage des Paroisses (1690)
Jean-Charles Ablitzer (Organ/St Nazaire & Carcassonne/France) - Ens. Organum
Harmonic Records H/CD 8613
Noëls pour orgue (Lebegue - Dandrieu - Daquin - Balbastre)
Marie-Claire Alain (Organ/Albi/France)
Erato 2292-45455-2
Nicolas de Grigny (1672-1703) : Organ Mass
Andre Isoir (Organ/St Pierre de Poitiers/France)
Calliope CAL 9911
Nicolas de Grigny : Hymns (1699)
Bernard Courdurier (Historic Organ of Cintegabelle), Ensemble Alternatim
BNL Productions 112813
Plaint-Chant Parisien - Mass from Christmas Day - Campra - Delalande
Ensemble Organum - Les pages de la chapelle Marcel Pérès (Organ & Direction)
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 480

Except for the third, these discs are liturgical services of complete masses. We may also remind the reader of the 2CDs of Clérambault (above), which contain two organ suites along with the vocal music.

This illustration is very important, as the organ kept its importance for French composers until the present day.

We can see that F. Couperin is omnipresent in the instrumental arena, and this is also true when we examine the evolution of French music for strings.

As opposed to Italy, the viol kept its role in France until about 1750. Perhaps this was true in part because it was easier to move people with that instrument, with its deep sounds, capable of expressing melancholy and exhibiting great virtuosity (along with the lute).

Monsieur de Ste Colombe (A. Dautrecourt) : Concerts à 2 violes egales (vol 2)
Jordi Savall - Wieland Kuijken
Astrée E 8743
Marin Marais (1656-1728) : Pièces de viole (4th Book) (1717)
Jordi Savall (Viol) - Ton Koopman (Harpsichord) - Hopkinson Smith (Lute)
Astrée E 7727
François Couperin : Pièces de violes (1728)
Jordi Savall (Viol) - Ton Koopman (Harpsichord) - Ariane Maurette (Basse)
Astrée E 7744
Antoine Forqueray (1672-1745) : Pièces de violes
Jordi Savall (Viol) - Ton Koopman (Harpsichord) - Christophe Coin (Viol)
Astrée E7762

Marin Marais, now well-known, is a composer whose melodies really stay in the mind after you have heard them. They are the perfect representation of the French Baroque, art and ideas.

The violin was used in France mostly in the context of a group of instruments, rather than alone.

Jean-Féry Rebel (1666-1747) : Les Éléments - Les caractères de la danse (1715)
Les musiciens du Louvre - Marc Minkowski
Erato MusiFrance 2292-45974-2
François Couperin : Les Nations
Hespèrion XX - J. Savall
Astrée E7700

The stunning modernity of Rebel is really a means to have an idea of what is behind the word "baroque".

In France, the flute remained an instrument loved by composers:

Marin Marais : 6 suites for Recorder (1692)
K. Boeke - W. van Hauwe - W. Möller - B. van Asperen
Teldec 9031-77617-2 (2 CDs)
Michel de la Barre (1670-1744) : Suite for flute (1710)
S. Preston - J. Savall - B. Verlet - H. Smith
Astrée E 7786
Michel Blavet (1700-1768) : 5 sonatas for transverse flute
Masahiro Arita (flute) Chiyoko Arita (Harpsichord) Wieland Kuijken (Viol)
Denon CO-79550
J. Marie Leclair (1697-1764) : 5 Sonatas for Flute & B.C. from Op. 1, 2 & 9
Barthold Kuijken (Transverse Flute), Wieland Kuijken (Viola da Gamba),
Robert Kohnen (Harpsichord)
Accent ACC58435D
Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1689-1755) : 8 Son. for 3 Recorders & B.C. Op 7,34
La Fontegara Amsterdam
Globe GLO5033

We can't leave France without mentioning the now well-known music of the film Tous les matins du Monde:

Tous les matins du Monde (Marais - Sainte Colombe - Couperin - Lully)
C. Coin M. Figueras M.C. Kiehr P. Hantaï F. Biondi J. Savall...
Valois V 4640

Now that all the basis are in place, french music may find its consecration through its first great composer: J.-P. Rameau. He showed his art in all the above mentioned genres: opera, instrumental or vocal music. He was the spiritual son of Couperin and Lully.

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) : Les grands motets
S. Daneman N. Rime P. Agnew N. Rivenq - Les Arts Florissants - W. Christie
Erato 4509 96967-2
J.P. Rameau : Les Indes Galantes (Opéra Ballet)
C. McFadden S. Piau N. Rime H. Crook - Les Arts Florissants - W. Christie
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 367.69 (3 CDs)
J.P. Rameau : Castor et Pollux (Tragédie lyrique)
H. Crook J. Corréas A. Mellon V. Gens - Les Arts Florissants - W. Christie
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 435.37 (3 CDs)
J.P. Rameau : Platée (Ballet Bouffon - Comédie lyrique)
G. Ragon J. Smith G. de Mey V. Gens - Les Musiciens du Louvre - M. Minkowski
Erato 2292 45028-2

After the motets, composed in his youth, Rameau after 1730 composed mainly opera music, and touched all styles: ballet, dramatic, comic, pastorals and short pieces. By the importance he gave to the choir and to the instrumental music in his operas, he should be more considered as a successor of Lully, rather than an "enemy" as the "querelle des bouffons" tried to illustrate. Each of the above CDs is of an high importance to the knowledge of this composer.

J.P. Rameau : The complete works for harpsichord (1706-1747)
Scott Ross (Harpsichord)
Stil 2107 SAN 75, 2307 SAN 75, 2407 SAN 75 (3 CDs)
J.P. Rameau : Masterpieces of french harpsichord music + Le Roux - Royer - Duphly
G. Leonhardt (Harpsichord)
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi RD 77924
J.P. Rameau : Suite "Les Paladins" (1760)
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment - G. Leonhardt
Philips 432 968-2
J.P. Rameau : Pièces de clavecin en concerts
F. Brüggen - S. Kuijken - W. Kuijken - G. Leonhardt
Teldec Das Alte Werk 9031 77618-2

I would particularly underline the necessity for the beginner to hear the harpsichord pieces, as they are among the best ever written for that instrument full of charm and poetry. The orchestra suite shows the art that Rameau had in the use of the orchester, and of the sounds of each instrument to underline a dramatic effect.

With Rameau, some representative of the "french" movement in the "querelle des bouffons" are represented through some of their works by the following discs:

Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764) : Scylla et Glaucus (1746)
D. Brown H. Crook - Monteverdi choir - English baroque soloists J.E. Gardiner
Erato 2292 45277-2 (3 CDs)
Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville (1711-1772) : Titon et L'Aurore (1753)
J.P. Fouchécourt C. Napoli - Les Musiciens du Louvre - M. Minkowski
Erato 2292 45715-2 (2 CDs)
Antoine Dauvergne (1713-1797) : Les troqueurs (1753) - Concert de symphonies
M. Saint Palais - N. Rivenq - Cappella Coloniensis - W. Christie
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 454
Jean-Joseph Mouret (1682-1738) : Les amours de Ragonde
M. Verschaeve, J.P. Fouchécourt - Les musiciens du Louvre - M. Minkowski
Erato 2292 45823-2

The nice examples of pastorale (Titon), opera buffa (troqueurs) or comedie en musique (Ragonde) should not refrain the reader to hear one of the most beautiful opera (Scylla), unique in the production of Leclair, and showing his sensitivity and art of the musical line for the singers.

[Someone to give good references for Gluck (Gardiner ?), Piccinni ?]

To go on with geography, we may now cross the Channel and arrive in England. Here, one name alone sums up the art of vocal & instrumental music: Henry Purcell; in opera, musical theatre, masques, airs, trio sonatas etc.

Henry Purcell (1658-1695) : Dido and Aeneas
C. Bott E. Kirkby J.M. Ainsley The academy of ancient music - C. Hogwood
Oiseau-Lyre 436 992-2
Henry Purcell : Dido and Aeneas
V. Gens N. Berg S. Marin-Degor C. Brua - Les Arts florissants - W. Christie
Erato 4509 98477-2
Henry Purcell : King Arthur (1691)
J. Smith, G. Fischer, A. Stafford, P. Elliott, Monteverdi Choir, J.E. Gardiner
Erato 4509 96552-2 (2 CDs)
Henry Purcell : The Fairy Queen (1692)
N. Argenta, L. Dawson, J.P. Fouchécourt - Les Arts Florissants - W. Christie
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 308.09 (2 CDs)
Henry Purcell : Songs and Airs
E. Kirkby - A. Rooley - C. Hogwood - C. Mackintosh - R. Campbell
Oiseau-Lyre 417 123-2
Henry Purcell : O Solitude, Music for a while (1692)...
A. Deller - W. Kuijken - W. Christie - R. Skeaping
Harmonia Mundi HM 90 249

This last CD shows all the melancholy possible, with great musical expression of the ideas in the text. For the same sort of ideas, the death of Dido should give you shivers when she sings it. Christie's version is a chamber one but with a lot of energy. Other composers illustrated themselves in the genre of the opera.

Matthew Locke (1621-1677) : Psyche
C. Bott - C. Robson - A. King - P. Agnew - New London Consort - P. Pickett
Oiseau-Lyre 444 336-2

Motets (based on latin texts) and Anthems (based on english texts) benefited from Purcell's genius too.

Henry Purcell : Come ye sons of art (1694) Music for funeral of Q. Mary (1695)
F. Lott C. Brett J. Williams T. Allen, Monteverdi Choir & Orch. J. E. Gardiner
Erato 96553
Music of the "Chapels Royal" - Purcell - Locke - Blow - Humfrey
Monteverdi Choir - English Baroque soloists - J. E. Gardiner
Erato 2292-45987-2
Henry Purcell : Hail! Bright Cecilia - Ode for St Cecilia's Day (1692)
Choir of New College, Oxford Higginbottom - King's Consort, R. King
Hyperion CDA 66349

In the first disc, you will find both the expression of great joy (Sound the trumpet) and of great sadness (Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our Hearts and the march following). The second disc is a survey of motets and anthems from Purcell's time.

Concerning instruments, the viol, as in France, was also in favour with composers, mainly in the form of the consort of viols.

John Jenkins (1592-1678) : All in a Garden Green
Rose Consort of Viols
Naxos 8.550687
Mathew Locke (1621-1677) : Consort of fower parts (1650)
Hespèrion XX - J. Savall
Astrée E 8519
William Lawes (1602-1645) : For ye Violls Consort setts for 5&6 viols and organ
Fretwork, Paul Nicholson
Virgin Veritas 59021
Henry Purcell : Fantasias for the viols (1680)
Hespèrion XX - W. Kuijken S. Watillon M. Müller P. Pierlot - J. Savall
Astrée E 8536
Viola da Gamba Recital (Abel - Ortiz - Schenck - Telemann - Simpson - Hume)
Wieland Kuijken
Denon CO-75659

Even if the latter is more a survey of the use of the viol throughout Europe, the first three CDs show the richness of the sound of the consort, in the line of Renaissance composers such as Dowland and Gibbons. And the fourth is one of the chefs-d'oeuvres you may find in this list, presenting a high spiritual interpretation of that captivating music. A more general overview may be found thanks to these discs presenting the variety of instrumental music in England:

Tobias Hume (1569-1645) : Poeticall musicke (1605/07)
M. Figueras - P. Hillier - Hespèrion XX - J. Savall
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi RD 77165
Maskes & Fantazies (Johnson, Coperario, Tomkins, Locke, Lawes, Adson...)
Le concert français - S. Marcq - J&P. Hantaï - V. Charbonnier - E. Joye
Astrée E 8504
William Lawes : Fantasia-suites for two violins, bass viol & organ
London Baroque
Harmonia Mundi 901 423
A Gift of Nature : Brade, Byrd, Jenkins, Lawes, Matteis, Simpson...
M. Huggett - Trio sonnerie - S. Stubbs - A. Lawrence-King
Teldec 4509 90841-2

This music is not really from the Renaissance, and neither from the Baroque, even if by its character -- full of fantasy, of changes in harmony and rhythm -- it is a good illustration of the English Baroque art. Here is a baroque proper example:

Henry Purcell : Twelve Sonatas of Three Parts (1683)
London Baroque
Harmonia Mundi 901 439

Back to the continent, we now arrive in Germany. Though German music did not quite have a precedent in the field of opera, when it comes to sacred music, the Italian influence was predominant. H. Schütz' art illustrates this fact well.

Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) : Psalmen Davids (1619)
Kammerchor Stuttgart - Musica Fiata Köln - F. Bernius
Sony Vivarte S2K 48042 (2CDs)
Heinrich Schütz : Musikalische Exequien (1635) - Motets
A. Mellon G de Reyghere H. Crook P. Kooy - La Chapelle Royale P. Herreweghe
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 261

The historical role of Schütz was to integrate Italian art with German thought. As a consequence, he refused to go the route of virtuosity and superficiality. His intention was to serve the Church and God by the most beautiful music he could write. He transmitted these ideas to his spiritual sons, as illustrated by this CD:

Samuel Capricornus (1628-1665) : Theatrum Musicum
D. Collot I. Honeyman - Le parlement de Musique - M. Gester
Opus 111 30-99

Schütz also laid the foundation for a genre which was developed and improved throughout the Baroque period, to reach a new perfection in the works of J.S. Bach: the sacred cantata.

Some surveys of early baroque sacred cantatas:

Schütz - Tunder - Bruhns - Weckmann - Strungk - German Baroque Cantatas
M. Zedelius - M. Schopper - Musica Antiqua Köln - R. Goebel
Archiv Produktion/Collectio Argentea 437 079-2
Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707) : Cantata Membra Jesu Nostri
B. Schlick M. Frimmer M. Chance - Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra - T. Koopman
Erato 2292-45295-2
J.Michael, Georg Christoph and J. Christoph Bach - Cantatas
M. Zedelius - P. Elliott M. Schopper - Musica Antiqua Köln - R. Goebel
Archiv Produktion/Collectio Argentea 437 090-2

These cantatas are written mainly in German (except for Buxtehude's), and show a great expressive strength. As in France, classical forms are rare but important, because they show that "old" styles did not benefit as much from the evolution of musical thinking.

H. I. Biber (1644-1704) : Requiem - F. Valls (1665-1747) : Missa Scala Aretina
S. Piau M.v.d. Sluis J. Elwes H.v.d. Kamp - dir: G. Leonhardt
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472 77277 2
H. I. Biber : Requiem a 15 - Vesperæ a 32
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir - T. Koopman
Erato 4509 91725-2
Biber : Missa Alleluja a 36 - J. H. Schmelzer (1620-1680) : Vesperæ Sollennes
Gradus ad Parnassum - K. Junghänel
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472 77326 2

Other genres are also represented as the lieder and the motets.

Deutsche Barocklieder : Nauwach - Albert - Fischer - Krieger - Hagen - Görner
A. Scholl - M. Märkl - K.E. Schröder - A. Verzier - P. Valetti - S. Pfister
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 505
Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) : Motets + J.C. Bach and J. M. Bach
Cantus Köln - K. Junghänel
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472 77305 2
Johann Adolf Hasse (1699-1783) : Motetti virtuosi
M. Zanetti - J. Lane - Le Parlement de Musique - M. Gester
Opus 111 OPS 30-100

The first disc is an anthology of songs with the outstanding support of Scholl's voice. The two others present motets composed with two different references, Germany for the first and Italy for the second.

In Germany, if the opera is poorly represented, this is not the case for instrumental music, whose variety and science are the beginnings of Bach's art. This art also begins in close proximity to that of the Renaissance.

Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654) : Ludi Musici (1622/27)
Hespèrion XX - J. Savall
EMI CDM 7 63067 2
Johannes Hieronymus Kapsberger (?-1651) : Libro quatro di chitarone (1640)
Rolf Lislevand - E. Eguez - B. Feehan - L. Duftschmid - P. Estevan
Astrée E 8515
Johann Rosenmüller (1619-1684) : Sonate da Camera & Sinfonie (1654-1682)
Hespèrion XX - J. Savall
Astrée E 8709

In Germany also, the influence of the Italian musicians is predominant, and the two instruments in favour in Italy became the favourite means of expression for German composers. The violin knew here another master, equal to Vivaldi, and perhaps more original if that is possible: Heinrich Biber.

Heinrich Biber (1644-1704) : Violin Sonatas (1681)
Romanesca : A. Manze - N. North - J. Toll
Harmonia Mundi HMU 907 134.35 (2 CDs)
Heinrich Biber : Sonatas - Georg Muffat (1653-1704) : Suite & Concerto
Concentus musicus Wien - Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Archiv Produktion 437 081-2
Heinrich Biber : Die Rosenkranz Sonatten (1674)
Reinhard Goebel (Violin) - Musica Antiqua Köln
Archiv 431 656-2 (2 CDs)

The first illustrates the amazing facility of both technique and melody, while the battalia of the second CD is a descriptive work full of reality.

The second main instrument, and certainly first in terms of plebiscite, is the keyboard. The organ was used more and more as a liturgical instrument, and the compositions became larger and more complex, always in order to better celebrate God.

North German Organ Music (Lorentz, Weckmann, Scheidemann, Ritter, Strungk)
Gustav Leonhardt (Organ/Roskilde Cathedral/Denmark - Organ Norden/Germany)
Sony Vivarte SK 53371
Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707) : Organ works (Vol. 2)
Olivier Vernet (Organ)
Ligia Digital Lidi 0 104 013-94
Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) : Hexacordum Apollinis. Chaconne
John Butt (Organ)
Harmonia Mundi HMU 907 029

By the diversity of their music, and the number of forms used, Buxtehude and Pachelbel are certainly the composers who most anticipated J.S. Bach.

For the harpsichord, the news was made by Froberger, a pupil of Frescobaldi (also influenced by Louis Couperin); he was admired by J.S. Bach and is a very moving composer. Through him, we see the European composer, aware of all styles, and taking from each what suits his aims.

Johann Jacob Froberger (1616-1667) : Works for Harpsichord
Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord)
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi GD 7923
Johann Jacob Froberger : Works for Harpsichord
Christophe Rousset (Harpsichord)
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 372
Georg Böhm (1661-1733) : Works for keyboard
Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord/Clavichord)
Sony Vivarte SK 53114
Joseph Hector Fiocco (1703-1741) : Suite for harpsichord (1730)
Ton Koopman (Harpsichord)
Astrée E 7731 (2 CDs)

The latter was a Belgian composer, influenced by the Italian art. On the other hand, Böhm developed a more personal style, illustrative of German thought.

The suite, the toccata, all of these forms will later be extended in the great art of J.S. Bach, but the roots of his knowledge are found here.

Recorder and lute were also in use of course.

Sylvius Leopold Weiss (1686-1750) : Suonata & fantasie
Hopkinson Smith (lute)
Astrée E 8718
Concerti di flauti (Heininchen - Schickardt - Telemann - Marcello - Vivaldi)
Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet - The academy of ancient music - C. Hogwood
Oiseau-Lyre 436 905-2

The latter will give you the ability to decide whether you prefer the sweet melodies and virtuoso effects of the Italian composers or rather the more austere German music -:). To go on listening to concerti, Dresden is a place to take in consideration, because a lot of composers, from various origins, lived there and showed their art.

Johann David Heinichen (1683-1729) : Dresden Concerti
Musica Antiqua Köln - R. Goebel
Archiv 437 549-2 (2 CDs)
Concerti "per l'orchestra di Dresda": Heinichen - Fasch - Pisendel - Veracini
Musica Antiqua Köln - R. Goebel
Archiv 447 644-2

This last disc is of great interest to those wanting life, various compositions and composers, and an excellent engagement of the interprets, with a great virtuosity and precision.

Among the most important composers that this region of Europe gave to humanity, the first to consider is not the most famous, but is seen as the Czech Bach. Originated of Bohemia, more precisely, he worked in Germany, especially in Dresden and his art is essentially dedicated to sacred and liturgical music.

Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745) : Lamentationes Jeremiæ Prophetæ (1722)
R. Jacobs - G. de Mey - K. Widmer - Schola Cantorum Basiliensis
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi GD 77112
Jan Dismas Zelenka : Tenebræ service for Holy Friday (1722/1733)
Ens. vocal de Nantes - Ens. Stradivaria - Le concert St Martin - P. Colleaux
Adès 204312
Jan Dismas Zelenka : Missa Dei Filii (1740) - Litaniæ Lauretanæ (1741)
N. Argenta - M. Chance - KammerChor Stuttgart & TafelMusik - F. Bernius
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi RD 77922
Jan Dismas Zelenka : Hipocondrie - Sonata #2 - Ouverture a 7 (1723)
Concentus Musicus Wien - Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Teldec 244 692-2
Jan Dismas Zelenka : Sonatas for oboes and fagott 1, 3 and 4
A. Bernardini - R. Alessandrini - M. Kraemer - Ensemble Zefiro
Astrée E 8563

The quality of his music, his invention, mainly for rhythms and harmonies, are shown in the last record. But his religious inspiration, through the three first discs, will let you understand why he was admired by Bach and Telemann.

This latter composer, himself underrated today, gave us a enormous set of compositions, in all domains. More than 1000 cantatas, 100 oratorios, 40 operas, 600 french ouvertures.... he is the most prolific composer, but this is not to the detriment of the quality, as shown through these recordings dedicated to the recorder.

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) : Recorder sonatas and Fantasias (1728-40)
F. Brüggen (recorder) - A. Bylsma (cello) - G. Leonhardt (harpsichord)
Teldec 4509 93688-2
G. P. Telemann : Trio for recorder or traverse flute (1718-40)
F. Brüggen A. Bylsma G. Leonhardt W. van Hauwe P. Dombrecht W. Kuijken
Seon BMG B18D-38020-21 (2 CDs)
G. P. Telemann : Essercizii musici trios solos & fantaisies
S. Marq (recorder) - Le concert français - P. Hantaï (harpsichord)
Astrée E 8554

Telemann wrote a lot of chamber music, and among these works, many were composed for amateur people. By the way played as in the above recordings, they become real virtusos works. In any case, the melodic line is here as always full of invention.

G. P. Telemann : Concerto for 3 horns - La Bouffonne - Alster ouverture
S. Standage - Collegium Musicum 90
Chandos CHAN 0547
G. P. Telemann : Wasser Musik - 3 Concerti for orchestra
Musica Antiqua Köln - R. Goebel
Archiv 413 788-2
G. P. Telemann : Darmstadt overtures
Concentus Musicus Wien - N. Harnoncourt
Teldec 4509 93772-2 (2 CDs)
G. P. Telemann : Der Tag des Gerichts - Ino
Alexander, Equiluz, van Egmond - Concentus Musicus Wien - N. Harnoncourt
Teldec 9031 77621-2

The vocal works of Telemann are rarely recorded, but as shown in the above CD, they have nothing less than Bach's sacred cantatas or oratorios.

After Telemann, the second big name of that period is also a german, but made the essential of his carrer in England: Handel. Some of his instrumental works are among the most famous baroque chefs d'oeuvre.

Georg Friedrich Handel (1685-1759) : Water music - music for royal fireworks
Le concert des nations - J. Savall
Astrée E 8512
Georg Friedrich Handel : Concerti grossi op 3
Les musiciens du Louvre - M. Minkovski
Erato 4509 94354-2
Georg Friedrich Handel : Sonatas for recorder
F. Brüggen (recorder) - A. Bylsma (cello) - G. Leonhardt (hapsichord)
Teldec 8.48222 (old reference)

The lyric character of these pieces, the synthesis of german and italian art, and the light of his musical line, between work and improvisations, made them very interesting and charming to hear. And all these qualities are also present and developped in his vocal production.

Georg Friedrich Handel : Dixit Dominus - Coronation anthem #1
F. Palmer - C. Brett - Monteverdi Choir and orchestra - J.E. Gardiner
Erato ECD 88072 (old reference)
Georg Friedrich Handel : Ode for St. Cecilia's day
F. Palmer - A. Rolfe-Johnson - Concentus musicus Wien - N. Harnoncourt
Teldec 8.42349 (old reference)
Georg Friedrich Handel : Israel in Egypt - 2 coronation anthems
R. Holton, A. Stafford, Monteverdi Choir English bar. soloists - J.E. Gardiner
Philips 432 110-2
Georg Friedrich Handel : Messiah
L. Dawson, D. James, M. George - The Sixteen choir and orch. - H. Christophers
Hyperion CDA 66251-2 (2 CDs)

[Isn't Gardiner a best choice ?]

Handel shows a great ability to move his auditors thanks to choirs. Those of Israel in Egypt, given with such a vitality, should bring you into rapture. But Handel also knows how to bring out the voice of solists, as in these cantatas and airs.

Georg Friedrich Handel : Mariam Cantatas & Arias
Anne Sophie von Otter (mezzo) - Musica Antiqua Köln - Reinhard Goebel
Archiv 439 866-2
Georg Friedrich Handel : Lucrezia - cantatas for alto solo
G. Lesne - Il seminario musicale
Virgin 0777 59059-2

[I need references for Handel's opera from people who really love them :-]

All of the musicians represented above present the changes, sometimes small, sometimes big, which transformed the music of the Renaissance: from the chanson to the grand motet, from dances to suites and toccatas, from easy lines to highly ornamented ones. The roots are there now, for us to see the master of what we call "Baroque music". In fact he represents a synthesis of this whole evolution, in the treatment of voices and instruments, an achievement of perfection in a certain part of Baroque art, as we will see below.

Please let us introduce you to: *** J.S. Bach *** (drums)

[To be finished later]

In Spain, as we've seen for France, music was very important in the theatre, as shown by this CD:

Lope de Vega (1562-1635) : Intermedios del Barroco Hispánico
M. Figueras - Hespèrion XX - J. Savall
Astrée E 8729

In fact due to political reasons, the countries of the Iberian peninsula were hardly touched by the Italian revolution, and most of the compositions in the sacred area are closely related to those of the stilo antico.

João Lourenço Rebelo (1610-1661) : Vesper Psalms and Lamentations
Huelgas Ensemble - P. van Nevel
Sony Vivarte SK 53 115
Joan Cererols (1618-1680) : Missa pro defunctis (1650) - Missa de Batalla
La capella Reial - J. Savall
Astrée E 8704

The only significant evolution that we may mention in these works is the appearance of instrumental support for the voices. Rebelo is the most innovative of the group, copying the Venetian style.

Juan de Araujo (1648-1712) : L'or et l'argent du haut Perou
Ens. Elyma - Maîtrise Boréale - G. Garrido
K617 038
Nueva España : Close encounters in the new world, 1590-1690
A. Azéma, D. Hanchard, D. Lee Ragin - the Boston Camerata - Joel Cohen
Erato 2292 45977-2
Il Secolo d'Oro nel Nuovo Mondo : Villancicos e orationes del '600
M.C. Kiehr, A. Fernandez, J. Cabré - Ensemble Elyma - G. Garrido
Symphonia SY 91S05

The luxury exhibited in the Araujo CD is reflective of that used by the Spanish to impose their domination in South America. Here the influences are not only European, but also indigenous, American Indian. The two other CDs are anthologies showing all the links between old and new wolds, in both sacred and secular repertoires.

As in the rest of Europe, viol, lute and harpsichord are here also the preferred instruments of Spanish composers.

Francisco Guerau (1649-?) : Poema Harmonico (1694)
Hopkinson Smith (baroque guitar)
Astrée E8722
Jose Antonio Carlos de Seixas (1704-1742) : 11 Harpsichord Sonatas
Robert Wooley
Amon Ra CD-SAR43
El Barroco Español (Hidalgo, Durón, Cabanilles, Marin, Martin y Coll...)
Hespèrion XX : M. Figueras - J. Savall - T. Koopman - H. Smith - C. Coin
EMI Reflexe CDM 7 63418 2
Barroco Español Vol 1 - Mas no puede ser
Al Ayre Español - El Banzo
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi DHM 05472 77325-2

The last two present both songs and instrumental works from that era.

Bruno Cornec