Top 10 Baroque composers

Gramophone Wed 21st December 2016

From around 1600 to 1750, the Baroque period witnessed the creation of some of the greatest masterpieces ever composed

JS Bach

Bach has been called 'the supreme arbiter and law-giver of music'. He is to music what Leonardo da Vinci is to art and Shakespeare is to literature, one of the supreme creative geniuses of history.

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Vivaldi

With Antonio Vivaldi, Italian Baroque music reached its zenith. The prosperous, cultivated world of contemporary Venice shines through all his works, composed with innate craftsmanship.

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Handel

Handel is one of the giants of musical history. His is happy, confident, melodic music imbued with the grace of the Italian vocal school, an easy fluency in German contrapuntal writing and the English choral tradition inherited from Purcell.

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Purcell

Many regard Purcell as the greatest English composer of all time. Among his most influential works are the opera Dido and Aeneas and the semi-operas The Fairy Queen and King Arthur.

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Monteverdi

Monteverdi, a composer who bridged the Renaissance period and the Baroque, can be justly considered one of the most powerful figures in the history of music. Among his most notable works are the operas Orfeo and L’incoronazione di Poppea

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Schütz

Schütz was the greatest German composer of the 17th century and the first of international stature.

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Domenico Scarlatti

Scarlatti produced the vast body of instrumental music for which he’s best known, and in particular the keyboard sonatas. These works extended the genre immeasurably, introducing a virtuosity and brilliance that broke new ground.

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Rameau

Though he was no judge of librettos, he raised the musical side of opera to a new level and in his ballets introduced many novel descriptive effects – the French loved these – such as the earthquake in Les Indes galantes.

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Corelli

Corelli was the main founder of modern orchestral playing and the composer who fashioned two new musical forms, the Baroque trio and solo sonata, and the concerto grosso.

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Telemann

Telemann was probably the most prolific composer in musical history. He wrote almost as much as Bach and Handel put together (and each of them wrote a perplexing amount) including 600 French overtures or orchestral suites, 200 concertos, 40 operas and more than 1000 pieces of church music.

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