Baroque Music V: Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725)

When we think of the great musical families in history, Strauss and Bach loom large. But one of the earliest family dynasties in music history arose in Naples during the middle Baroque Period: the Scarlattis. While Domenico Scarlatti's fame would eventually exceed that of his pater familias, I would argue that Alessandro remains one of … Continue reading Baroque Music V: Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725)

Interlude: Happy World Opera Day

Writing this blog, with one eye on the past while the other firmly fixed on the future, here is a sneak peak at the opera I am most excited about seeing this year. It is only fitting that the most exciting new opera of the season is based on the same myth that inspired Monteverdi, … Continue reading Interlude: Happy World Opera Day

Purcell and Opera

For me, Purcell is all about opera.  Finally, at the close of the 17th century, we finally get a composer who can rival Monteverdi in presenting searing emotion in song.  Here are two of Purcell's more famous arias, performed by two great contemporary mezzo-sopranos, Susan Graham and Anne Sophie von Otter: Henry Purcell, Dido and … Continue reading Purcell and Opera

Baroque Music IV: Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

Henry Purcell is the first in a distressingly lengthy list of composers whose lives were cut short in their primes.  Purcell, arguably the greatest English composer of all-time, was dead by the age of 36, leaving behind a wealth of wonderful compositions.  Like Mozart, he died shortly after completing his great funeral mass (Purcell's was … Continue reading Baroque Music IV: Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

Corelli and The Birth of the Orchestra

Corelli’s Opus 6 concerti grossi are his most significant achievement.  Although he did not invent the concerto grosso form, Corelli certainly popularized it, paving the way for Vivaldi (The Four Seasons) and Bach (Brandenburg Concertos), two of the high points of Baroque music and among the best-known examples of the concerto grosso form.  The Opus … Continue reading Corelli and The Birth of the Orchestra