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The Hallelujah Chorus

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Music has always been the most effective channel of communication. It is an extraordinary means of conveying messages because it does not only serve to pass information but also carries emotional connotations. It is therefore one of the most powerful tools of preserving information because alongside the musical lyrics are the tones and styles. Attempts to preserve music should be clearly carried out so as to capture the relevant genre of music. This paper attempts to justify importance of preserving Baroque music done before the year 1750.

The period of Baroque music

The era of Baroque music can be described to be the period that falls between the classical period and the late renaissance which is estimated to be the century and a half between 1600 and 1750.  The era of Baroque music signaled an age of progress in knowledge and saw the rebirth of a new Europe. Baroque music is one of the earliest European music which still has fame in today’s music and can be seen in the themes from the “Hallelujah chorus” from Handel’s messiah or from the masterpiece theatre (Mouret's Suite de Symphonie). Some of the Baroque musicians worked as patrons but most of them began taking it professionally in that they performed, composed and taught the music for money purposes. However, by far the majority of the musicians preferred to work under the patronage of the church and the state. examples of baroque expressions is exhibited in the architecture of Francesco Borromini, the music of Vivaldi and the paintings of Peter Rubens (Sadie 1998). The Baroque music was always for special occasions and its composer was regarded as a craftsman rather than an artist.

The diversity in the music made it hard to group the music because each composer of the music had different style. The music was classified as either early or late Baroque music. It was also classified according to whether it was Italian, sacred, French, English, German or secular baroque music. Artists in Baroque Era composed music which suit particular kind of instruments and vocalists. With the use of haphazard contrast in volume and timing, they were able to form a strong foundation of modern music language (Grout and Claude 1996). Restructuring of instruments became necessary so as to allow playing of any key. There was a lot of key board music resulting from advancement in technology used in making musical instruments (Doty 1994).

Concertos, cantatas, suites and fungus are some outstanding genres of Baroque music. The three individuals behind this archaic style of music were Bach, Vivaldi and Handel. All these composers were incredible in holding instrument, sitting in front of piano or working on manuscript. Whatever the position everyone played, final product was superb work of art (Bukofzer 2008).

Antonio Vivaldy - representavie of Baroque music

This research paper is narrowing its focus to analysis of Baroque music done by one Antonio Vivaldi. Vivaldi is considered as one of the critical founders of concerto. Vivaldi came from Venice where he had lived for fifty years. Several Baroque pieces including cantatas, operas, sonatas and concertos in excess of four hundred and fifty are attributed to Vivaldi’s efforts. His works did not only serve to chart a new way of doing music but also opened a channel depicting importance of instruments based compositions. His reign was in the period between 1600 and 1750 which was the era that Baroque music was listened to so much.

The paper is going to focus on one type of Baroque music done by Vivaldi called “Concerto for 4 Violins & String Orchestra in B-flat Major”. This type of music was a one work piece which gave its listeners a great peaceful feeling. The song was usually emotional when performed and this refreshed those who were listening to it (Gioseffo 1986). Keen listeners of this genre of music by Vivaldi can feel the emotions carried in varying tempos and changes in volumes. Changes in tempo are accompanied by consequential alterations in listener’s mood. The emotions portrayed by these songs have made the Vivaldi Baroque music a better choice when choosing sound tracks for movies. Examples of movies that use this type of music in sound tracking include: Fantasia, Mr. Holland’s Opus and On Golden pond. The viewers of these movies are observed to be so emotional and are usually carried away by the flow of the story in the movie. All this is contributed to the effect of the sound track used.

Baroque music is admirable. Listening to them generates a strong feeling of sense culminating in amazing sigh of relief and calmness (Bambarger 1997). He noticed that the Baroque voices were highly trained and the qualities most valued in the voice included clarity, purity and agility. Although the Baroque music is not widely sung in today era, its stylistic influence is still dominant in the music making industry. Its legacy is still felt even in the modern day music.

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Despite rising as a great composer of Baroque music, Vivaldi earlier career was priesthood. After being ordained in the year 1703, he became an outstanding individual with a trademark of striking red hair. Eventually, music proved to be more appropriate for him and thus the charming nickname was only mark left showing that he was once a priest. One year after being ordained, Vivaldi advanced his career in music by joining a Venetian school of the underprivileged girls. The school specialized in developing music career in children and this gave him a greater opportunity to polish up his skills in music. The institution also offers a unique channel to female students who were ready to learn music as a future career. Students from Peita were held with high regard in the society and this was because they exhibited great skills when handling the musical instruments. The students offered a variety of music pieces to their crowds when they were performing and this earned them credit over the other students in the society. They student performed according to the demands of the listeners as they were in a position to handle any type of instrument. As a result, new talents identified in the facility benefited very much from Vivaldi’s compositional contribution (Parrish and Ohl 1951).

Despite specializing in instrumentals at earlier stages of his career, he assumed the roles of choral music composer in 1713. That is when the institution choir master had gone on vacation. For a period of six years he was charged with the responsibility of composing and teaching music. He also served in the same capacity when the position was vacant in 1737. Among his earlier works, is Gloria in d Major, RV 589. It is the most famous work done purposely for the school. As it was commonly done in baroque era, Vivaldi’s work was based on an established setting by his colleague, Giovanni Maria Ruggieri. In his setting, Vivaldi’s short Gloria passage is separated in to twelve sub-sections. Additionally, the text carries real Baroque technique, every part carefully display varying moods, vocal color and texture. Sections number two and three, namely-the “Laudamus te” and “Gratias agimus tibi”—clearly depicts a good illustration of the earlier mentioned artistic results of these juxtapositions. “Laudamus te,”-a second section of this text represents a duet comprising of two sopranos. Its lighthearted theme shows undisputed feelings of praise, ultimate joy and adoration accurately. In the subsequent “Gratias agimus tibi,” entire choral homophony moves the area of interest to God’s immense glory, while in conclusion; fugal emphasizes its longevity (Mendel and Ellis1968). Vivaldi’s contributions were humongous. It is believed that he is the man behind invention of Ritornello technique. However, if he is not the inventor, he must have been the very first artist to use this method.

Baroque music represented a transition in times. It symbolized a period starting from when Bach brought about his enormous polyphonic concertos and succeeded being virtuoso organ player and tune composer. It is no doubt that music has evolved from being conservative religious practice to popular secular music. Antonio Vivaldi is known to have produced several new sounds and rhythms which shows the dynamism in music industry in Baroque music era. Although he died a poor man, Vivaldi left behind a sea of musical work which later served as foundation of further explorations (Buelow 2004).

Conclusionaly, one of the achievements of the Baroque music was to develop an instrumental music that is without a text but can be listened to. Most of the Baroque music was composed to be performed in the church service (in Anglican, catholic and Lutheran churches). From the above observations, there is no doubt that a lot has been borrowed from ancient works of art.  For heritage purposes and history, baroque music must be preserved in durable means possible.  

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