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Thread: Modern Baroque????

  1. #1
    Captain of Water Music Hawk Henries's Avatar
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    Modern Baroque????

    Recently I was enjoying some music written by a baroque composer. In addition I was blabbering away (inchoherently) about why this music is so appealing to me compared to more modern (classical, romantic etc) music/composers.
    My wife stopped me in my tracks with a question: "Are there present day composers who write in the baroque style??"

    Initially I answered "NO" it wouldn't be baroque. Baroque music was written between 1600 and 1750 and and and....I didn't really have any way to justify my answer so I switched subjects with some clever diversion.

    So folks a little help please:

    Is baroque music only that which was written during the agreed upon period?
    Besides date what terms would someone who is musically trained use to describe/define baroque music?
    If a composer of today worked within these definitions would their music be considered baroque music?
    Are there any modern composers writing in this form?
    I wish You Peace
    Hawk

  2. #2
    Commodore con Forza
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    Whoever appointed people called "critics" should have been shot the night before. Is there a college professor around who doesn't mostly regurgitate the same stuff he/she learned while laboring for a Ph.D.? They love to label things, and the labels tend to stick.

    It would seem that if baroque is a style of music, the timing should not matter. But that would probably break the "rules" .

    Baroque music is also called "contrapuntal" because it tends to emphasize the on-going "horizontal" direction of the music rather than the "harmonic" or "vertical" reading of chords.

    It also raises the question of whether composers tend to follow the current fad or not. There was a time when composers composed mostly because they were PAID to do it. A case could be made for saying that one Franz Joseph Haydn was an indentured slave of the Esterhazy family -- he wrote largely for their entertainment, or rather for the entertainment they put on.

    In more recent times, as in many of the arts, what seems to count is breaking all the rules and coming up with stuff nobody else can understand. Is that progress, style, or whatever you wish to call it??

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    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    The terms refer to the period the music was composed in eg



    Medieval
    (400–1400)
    Renaissance
    (1400–1600)
    Baroque
    (1600–1750)

    Classical
    (1750–1825)
    Romantic
    (1825–1915)

    20th century
    (1915–2000)
    Contemporary
    (1975–present)

     
     
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  4. #4
    Midshipman, Forte thirdcreed's Avatar
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    Baroque, at least in common usage, can be used to denote time period and style. People were writing baroque music after 1750, and people were writing music in the baroque period that wasn't baroque. I think most modern writers describe "modern baroque music" as music "in the baroque style" to avoid confusion(or censure from standardizers).
    Ultimately its just a question about language, as long as people understand you mean that a composer lives now but composes as they did then, I don't see the problem in calling a modern composer baroque.

    That being said...

    Definitions are rigid, and therefore fragile, music historians don't like their definitions bending in such away because they become less exact, and ultimately useless. "You fool! We want a word that means x and y!! not x and/or y!!!" That's what I imagine them saying; in unison; all around a conference table; in a library in Oxford.

    Everyone's qualified IMO to define anything, I wonder whose qualified to pick whose qualified. Language is big subjective mess ultimately.

    I've sort of made a mess of this answer, how about this:

    To be safe: Say "Baroque" only if time and style are baroque. Say "In the baroque-style" if only the style is baroque.
    Check out my fledgling ethnomusicology blog...leave a comment while you're at it. --> Such Harmony Is In Immortal Souls

  5. #5
    Captain of Water Music Hawk Henries's Avatar
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    thirdcreed thanks for your reply~can you suggest any contemporary composers writing in the baroque style?
    I wish You Peace
    Hawk

  6. #6
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    thirdcreed you are correct in that to day we use the term style and period.
    The edges between say baroque, classical and romantic etc have never been rigid they can’t be, they are a guide only, a present day composer writing in say the classical style is not a classical composer but simply a composer writing in the classical style.
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  7. #7
    Midshipman, Forte thirdcreed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.H.C. View Post
    thirdcreed you are correct...
    Wow,thanks for the affirmation J.H.C
    Just kidding, point taken.



    I can't think of anyone that would fit the description, certainly many (nearly all) composers rely heavily on concepts created then, but I don't know of anyone creating music purely in that style.

    The band fleet foxes lists Baroque as one of their descriptors, but that's dubious at best.
    Check out my fledgling ethnomusicology blog...leave a comment while you're at it. --> Such Harmony Is In Immortal Souls

  8. #8
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    Tchaikovsky's Suite#4 Op61 was called "Mozartiana" but bears only a slight resemblance to the classical period

    I realise Hawk asked for a contemporary composer, this was just a rambling thought
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  9. #9
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    If I may add just a tiny observation: A thoroughly schooled composer with compositional practice in all periods should, imvoho, be able to write "baroque-style" music today if they are so inclined and have the opportunity to do so. After all, they are more or less "free-artists", if I may coin a phrase.............

    Why limit yourself to just composing "contemporary music"?

    No, I know of no contemporary composer of "baroque-style" music...
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  10. #10
    Captain of Water Music Hawk Henries's Avatar
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    The type of flutes that I build have evolved tremendously since the early days. More emphasis on standardization/uniformity in voice, tuning and construction. This standardization is recent~about 10-12 years. Over the last 2-4 years some makers are begining to work out side the box and are making flutes consistent with the older way. Rediscovering the beauty and honoring the foundation....
    There are traverso makers who continue to build baroque flute's modeled after old makers. The same for oboes and many other instruments.

    Why do you suppose that contemporary composers aren't writing in styles from other period's? It seems, coming from someone who has no clue about writing, that this would open quite a broad expressive window. Is there less interest, with regards to audience, in the older forms of "art" music?
    I wish You Peace
    Hawk

  11. #11
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Hello Hawk Henries,

    In re to period instruments there is alot of validity in what you share. Bach had often used recorders instead of Flauti Traversi. The violin, viola, cello, and violone(double bass) strings were made of catgut. Oboe construction and reeds of different materials, trumpets-horns-tromba da tirarsi of differing metals and dimensions...and the list goes on.

    Composers today will write that which will earn them money, sad to say...

    Summa summarum: Period instruments and "period-style" interpretation is not a new phenomenon. Also, remember that JSBach also wrote pieces that were commissioned by "wealthy patrons" - Imagine if all the wealthy of the world commissioned pieces from living composers - In the 'baroque style' - I'd love it very much.

    Please note that I in no way have the last word on this subject - I only offered a tiny observation.

    Cheers,

    CD
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  12. #12
    Midshipman, Forte thirdcreed's Avatar
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    I do some composition, and I suppose I have written a fair number of baroque pieces, but they've all been excercises. In fact over the last month I have been working through fux's counterpoint excercises daily.

    I think that people are writing the stuff, i just don't think there's any serious market for new baroque. I learned right away that writing in the style of the masters with the aim to get published was a bad idea, because, as E.L. Lancaster told me "(paraphrased, he was nicer than this)with music this difficult, We think teachers will find repertoire in the masterworks rather than shoddy variations on the masterworks". With Bach himself having written over 6000 pieces of music, I think most composers, listeners, and publishing companies have decided that they have enough baroque music (sans copyright) to fill up every shelf in every music store in america.

    You might think, "Well couldn't you just make it your own?"...absolutely, but then it's not really in the baroque style anymore. As I said before, baroque has survived quite well, it has persisted throughout all western music, just not in it's original form.

    However, I'm intrigued by the idea of modern music for Baroque ensembles. This might be more what you meant, and my comments may have missed the mark. I think this would be an excellent expirement.

    Tell us more about these flutes you make, that sounds very interesting.
    Last edited by thirdcreed; Jan-05-2011 at 20:48.
    Check out my fledgling ethnomusicology blog...leave a comment while you're at it. --> Such Harmony Is In Immortal Souls

  13. #13
    Civilian
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    I compose in a contemporary "modern" baroque idiom, and some of my pieces can be heard here: http://www.youtube.com/user/Jalapablo I do agree, however, that there's not a very big market for them yet. There are a handful of other modern composers writing in a neo-baroque style, and most of them can be found by googling, for example, "vox saeculorum" - a society of modern baroque composers. Another society (co-founded by me) is "The Society of Contemporary Baroque Composition". If anyone is interested I can give them links.

    Probably the most prominent of all the composers leading the contemporary baroque revival is Giorgio Pacchioni, an Italian ocarina-maker living now in Brazil. He's written tons of stuff - concertos, sonatas, fugues, baroque symphonies, choral music, etc. - in a very high quality, authenticated skill level.

    Hope this helps.

    Paul

  14. #14
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    I personally don’t need any more Baroque, classical, romantic or early music there is an abundance of it if you care to investigate, and written by composers that lived in and therefore well versed in and sympathetic to that period in history, can a modern composer be 100% Au fait with a period other than his own. Just my thoughts
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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
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    Better yet: " Can ANY COMPOSER be 100% Au fait with any period of music": from my old class days I remember that one composer always was being critical of there peers that they were not composing properly according to what was acceptable at the time. Many were always after Mozart for sure.( for example )...LOL.. still goes on today whether it be a composer, organist, orchestra, conductor etc etc etc. Some times makes me wonder if anyone is ever right: but just another opinon... my 2 cents worth..
    ....To play only what is written is the domain of science. To realize what is not written is the domain of art."
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    I wish you the Best for each day, now and always.

    Bill

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