In its simplest form, the term baroque refers to a specific period of music with highly embellished melodies and fugal or contrapuntal forms.
The English word baroque is derived from the Italian barocco, meaning bizarre, though probably exuberant would be a better translation more accurately reflecting the sense.
usage of this term originated in the 1860s to describe the highly decorated style of 17th and 18th century religious and public buildings in Germany and Austria, as typified by the very baroque angelic organist adorning the Gottfried Silbermann organ completed in 1714 for the Cathedral in Freiberg, Saxony.
Later, during the early-to-mid 1900s, the term baroque was applied by association to music of the 17th and early 18th century, and today the term baroque has come to refer to a very clearly definable type or genre of music which originated, broadly speaking, around 1600 and came to fruition between 1700 and 1750.
If you listen to music of the 1200s and 1300s you'll find that it is relatively primitive in terms of melody and harmony. In the 1500s there is a great difference, as Italian music began to blossom and English composers like Dowland, Morley and Tomkins produced the wonderful melodies and surprisingly sensitive poetry which accompanied them - or vice versa.
A major theme underlying music at that time however was the
exploration of form. There was still so much new to discover: new melodic lines and harmonic progressions to be explored, new combinations of instruments, and new forms in music such as the fugue,
canon, and variations on a bassline, a popular tune or a chorale. As the 1600s progressed, so these different musical forms took on definite shape, and the period from 1700 to 1750 can clearly be seen as the "high baroque".
Two geographical influences were at work here. In north Germany and Holland, composers such as Froberger, Kerll, and particularly Dietrich Buxtehude were concentrating mainly on the art of counterpoint, especially the fugue. Here, organ and voice were the major elements. At the other end of Europe, in Rome, the instrumental forms of the sonata and concerto were formalized. Every period in
music has certain recognizable clichés, and much of what is typical in baroque music, specific cadences and snatches of melody, can be traced back to one Archangelo Corelli, who seems to have influenced just about everybody, from his Italian contemporaries and students to Handel who sojourned in Rome from
1704 to 1710. From Rome, the "Italian" influences spread northwards while the stricter north German
forms flowed southwards, intermingling to produce a common baroque vocabulary. Indeed, the
inter-mingling of musical trends from different parts of Europe was surprisingly extensive, considering the
relatively primitive methods of travel and communication. Vivaldi, Geminiani, Corelli, Scarlatti, Handel and many others all met one another or were thoroughly conversant with one another's music. Bach
journeyed north from his "base" in Thuringia and Saxony, southern Germany, to hear Buxtehude, and his
later travels included Dresden and Berlin. Bach owned and/or copied the music of many of his
contemporary composers, often re-writing them for different instruments. Indeed this was a recognized
method of study widely practised in baroque times.
It is also important, when studying the composers and their music of the baroque or indeed any
age, to review the circumstances in which composers worked. Take Vivaldi for example. Though he
wrote many fine concertos (like the Four Seasons and the Opus 3) he also wrote many works which
sound like five-finger exercises for students. And this is precisely what they were. Vivaldi was employed
for most of his working life by the Ospedale della Pietà. Often termed an "orphanage", this Ospedale was
in fact a home for the female offspring of nobelmen and their numerous dalliances with their mistresses.
The Ospedale was thus well endowed by the "anonymous" fathers; its furnishings bordered on the
opulent, the young ladies were well looked-after, and the musical standards among the highest in Venice.
Many of Vivaldi's concerti were indeed exercises which he would play with his many talented pupils.
Two major influences in Germany were the Church and the State, or rather, States. Neither Italy nor
Germany existed then as we know them today. Germany was a complex mass of small princely states,
each with its own Court and, with any luck, Court Musicians. Alliances came and went as princely
families inter-married thus uniting, for a time anyway, their respective territories. That is why so many
princely titles of those days were hyphenated, as for example, Anhalt-Köthen or Saxe-Coburg. Many a
composer's success rose or fell with the status accorded to music at the court in which he was serving, and
composer-musicians would try to seek a position in a city or court where music was known, for the time
being anyway, to be thriving under the patronage of an enthusiastic king or prince. The direction of Bach's
music was influenced in his early years by several courts at which he was employed; the greater part of his
working life however was spent in Leipzig where his position as Cantor of St Thomas' Church required
church cantatas in abundance (200 have come down to us, some 100 more are supposed lost).
A brief look at the life of Handel illustrates both the mobility, and the influence of royal patronage
on a composer typical of the baroque age.
Georg Friederich Händel was born in Halle (Germany), on February 23rd,1685, just a month before JS
Bach was born in Eisenach, not so far to the south.
Handel's father intended him for the law, but his own musical inclinations soon prevailed. Following his
studies in Germany, Handel went to Italy where he spent more than three years, in Florence, Rome,
Naples and Venice. In Rome he studied with Corelli, and no doubt met and exchanged ideas with a
number of other Italian composers.
Handel left Italy early in 1710 and went to Hanover, where he was appointed Kapellmeister to the Elector,
George Louis. The Royal Houses of Britain and Europe had always been closely inter-related, and
England's Act of Settlement of 1701 which secured the Protestant succession to the Crown, placed
George directly in the line of succession. In 1705 George was naturalized by Act of Parliament, and in
August 1714 the death of Queen Anne made him King of England. Handel, who had already visited
London and apparently found it to his liking, was to follow the Elector in adopting British nationality, and
indeed part of Handel's success in London was due to the royal patronage of the Elector of Hanover, now
King George I.
Handel became deeply involved, both artistically and commercially, in the growing London opera scene.
Later, during the 1730s he would lean more to the English musical forms, the oratorio, ode and the like,
and his Messiah belongs very much to the anglican anthem tradition. When Handel died on April 14th,
1759 he was buried in Westminster Abbey, recognized in England as the greatest composer of his day. In
his association with royalty and royal occasions, Handel followed a tradition set fifty years earlier by
Purcell, and is still regarded as one of England's greatest composers.
In the music of JS Bach, the different forms and styles of the baroque came together and were brought
to perfection. Johann Sebastian Bach came from a musical family stretching back through many
generations, and the Bachs were well-known throughout their "home ground" of Thuringia in what is now
southeast Germany. The Bach family members were church and court musicians, teachers, and one or
two were instrument-makers. Though Bach himself traveled less than some of his contemporaries, he
seems to have been able to draw freely and widely on the developments taking place throughout the
western musical world as indeed were all the other major composers. Later in Bach's life, during his
Leipzig years, his son Carl Philipp Emanuel wrote that "no musician of any consequence visiting Leipzig would fail to call upon my father". Leipzig was an important and cosmopolitan university city, and visiting
musicians would call upon Bach or stay at his apartments in the Thomas School building where they would make music together on whatever ensemble of instruments the occasion could muster. Many of
Bach's later concertos were written or modified for such occasions - the 3 and 4 harpsichord concertos for
When Bach died in 1750 he left a legacy which summarized his art, his life's work in which he had, by
general recognition, brought baroque musical forms to the peak of their development. He left 48 Preludes
and Fugues for the keyboard adopting the new "equal temperament" enabling all keys to be played equally
and modulation between keys; he left us the Art of the Fugue (complete, though many deny this, attaching
an incomplete fugue which is not part of the "Art"), and the Goldberg Variations, a set of 30 Variations on
a popular tune. He also left numerous collections of chorale variations, canons, and fugues, as well as
many pieces in more standardized form such as preludes, sonatas and concertos. Add to that, some 200
cantatas, the Passions, and the monumental B-Minor Mass (plus the Four Shorter Masses which Bach
"assembled" drawing upon what he considered as his finest cantata movements).
After Bach music took a different turn. Even the music of his sons, with the possible exception of
Wilhelm Friedemann, was quite different in character, expressing the new "gallant" style which was lighter,
with less stress on pure form - and having its own set of "clichés"! Here we find composers such as
Haydn and Mozart, to be followed by the "romantic" composers such as Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. It
was however in the baroque period that the essential language of music was defined, and it is interesting to
note how successive composers would often "return to base", studying and playing Bach's works, writing
fugues in the baroque style, or adapting the works of baroque composers. Mendelssohn led the baroque
revival, while Mozart, Schumann, Beethoven and many others produced fugues in strict baroque style.
Max Reger, as well as writing many pieces in baroque contrapuntal style, adapted Bach's Six Brandenburg
Concertos for two pianos.
Many instruments reached the peak of their development at the height of the baroque era; the organs of
Arp Schnitger (north Germany) and Bach's close friend Gottfried Silbermann (Saxony, south Germany)
were among the period's finest and are still regarded as such today. Likewise the violins and other stringed
instruments of the baroque Italian masters are the prized possessions of today's professional string players.
The domestic, and later concert keyboard instrument provides an example of disappearance, replacement,
then rediscovery. The baroque age favored the harpsichord, in which the strings are plucked and the
player cannot vary the tone through finger touch.
After 1750 the piano took over, offering touch
sensitivity, and developing later into the "iron grands" needed for concert-hall performances of the great
romantic concertos by such as Beethoven. Interestingly however it was the organ builder Gottfried
Silbermann, working with Bach, who contributed substantially to the development of the piano. King
Frederick the Great is said to have owned no less than fourteen Silbermann fortepianos (as they were then
called) in his Sans Souci palace at Potsdam, just west of Berlin, and it was ostensibly in order to "try out"
such an instrument that JS Bach was invited to Potsdam in 1747. The result of this visit was the Musical Offering.
Music which is melodious yet so constructed as to reflect the "perfect order" of the universe: that
is the essence of the baroque. In the words of baroque composer and theorist Johann Joseph Fux: "A
composition meets the demands of good taste if it is well constructed, avoids trivialities as well as
willful eccentricities, aims at the sublime, but moves in a natural ordered way, combining brilliant
ideas with perfect workmanship."
These days more and more people are seeking a return to music for the mind, music combining beauty
with the order of an underlying architecture and structure. So we are witnessing a resurgence of interest in
the baroque, and those who are fortunate enough to be as yet unfamiliar with it have a wonderful
experience awaiting them.
It has become fashionable over the last ten years
to talk of “authentic” performances as if others
are not. But in truth, the attempt to rediscover baroque music and its spirit has been with us for the whole
of this century and much of the last.
But if that is so, then how was it lost in the first place? There is much evidence that until Bach’s death in
1750 the musical tradition was very much continuous. The music played and sung in the Leipzig church
services when Bach was Cantor (from 1723 until his death in 1750) was not confined to what we would
now call baroque. Far from it. Interwoven into the service among Bach’s own compositions were chorales
and plainsong chants going back one, two and three hundred years in an unbroken tradition.
After Bach’s death however, music took on a different style, and, perhaps for the first time in musical
development, the older style was considered “unfashionable”. There was a major break with the past. The
break was not complete of course, but it was such that baroque music could be “rediscovered” a hundred
years later as something of a new revelation. Mendelssohn and his sister played Bach regularly in their
home, their favorite works being the "48" Preludes and Fugues. It was Mendelssohn's promotion of the St
Matthew Passion in 1829 which marked the first public "revival" of Bach and his music.
This ground-breaking performance was given with a choir of some three or four hundred - certainly not at
all as Bach would have known it. But this was not an intentional "romanticization" of Bach; rather it was
something of a relief to Mendelssohn personally, and ultimately a triumphant re-birth.
Mendelssohn himself, though personally enthusiastic and dedicated to the revival of the St Matthew
Passion, had been very dubious as to its reception by the public; indeed he was equally dubious as to his
choir’s reception of it. If they didn’t like it they would slowly drift away. Would he be left with a “choir”
of four voices by the end of rehearsals?! And would anybody be at the concert to hear it? In fact the
opposite was the case. Such was the choir’s enjoyment of this work that its numbers swelled with every
rehearsal as the word went around. Hence the rather over-large vocal section, which may not have been
ideal for a Bach performance, but in the circumstances made Mendelssohn very happy!
Wilfred Blunt gives this account in his detailed and perceptive biography of Mendelssohn:
The choir of the Singakademie, which it had been feared would gradually fade away as rehearsals
proceeded, grew ever larger and ever more enthusiastic under Felix's inspired direction: they noticed,
too, that he knew the work so intimately that he dispensed with a score; his musical memory was
Excitement in the cultural world of Berlin mounted as the great day approached, for the choirs, three or
four hundred strong, had passed the word round that the work was a revelation: that old Bach was after
all capable of drama, passion and melodiousness; that here was 'an architectonic grandeur of structure'
undreamed of by those familiar only with his smaller instrumental works.
Everything had gone so well it seemed impossible that on the day itself the standard achieved during
rehearsals could be surpassed. Yet it was. 'Never', wrote a contemporary participant, 'have I known any
performance so consecrated by one united sympathy. Our concert made an extraordinary sensation in
the educated circles of Berlin. If only old Bach could have heard our performance!' The King and his
whole Court were there, and the hall was completely full. More than a thousand people had been unable
to get tickets, and two further performances which were called for followed almost immediately.
That performance marked the beginning of the move towards what we would now call a baroque revival.
The Bach Gesellschaft (Society) began in 1850 the task of publishing all Bach’s works (all that could be
found that is), a project which they completed fifty years later in 1900.
In the early years of our present century, Wanda Landowska "re-invented" the harpsichord, which had
been almost completely supplanted by the piano for home and concert performance. Her great "iron
grand" was, to say the least, unlike anything built during the baroque period. But to have the prestigious
Paris firm of Pleyel temporarily abandon their piano manufacture in order to attempt a re-creation of this
peculiar antique instrument was a major pioneering achievement in the rediscovery of the baroque.
Landowska’s performances, incidently, though the recorded sound is not of today’s technical quality, are
still exemplary, and Landowska's interpretations are rarely matched today in their insight and technical
So the movement of rediscovery gradually progressed. In 1950 the advent of the long playing record
created a new vehicle and a new public for classical music, followed in 1960 by stereo with the parallel
improvement both in recording equipment, and in the standard of home sound reproduction.
During the 70s and 80s further valuable research was conducted into the music and performance of the
baroque, applied in practical recording and concert performance. It was during this period that
performances began to bear the title "authentic" or "on period instruments".
At the same time however, it should also be understood that performance to a major degree reflects the
spirit of the times, and some of today's "authentic" performances have less to do with historical accuracy,
attempting rather to produce a performance which, in John Eliot Gardiner's words, will "excite modern
listeners". Thus it is that "authentic" performances, while aiming to please modern tastes, often make
presumptions which lack historical authenticity and which fail to bring out the full potential inherent in the
Nor has "authenticity" fully percolated through to the recording and balance engineers, who are still failing
to pay enough attention to contrapuntal clarity which requires very delicate balancing - the harpsichord
particularly suffers consistently from adverse balancing treatment.
Tempi, balance, and instrumental timbre: these key issues of performance and recording practice may be
reviewed one by one.
Many "authentic" performances of Bach's cantatas adopt a fast, almost racy tempo which would never
have been considered or tolerated in the staid atmosphere of a Lutheran church service in 1730. Tempi if
anything would have been slower and more deliberate than we today would probably want to accept.
Likewise many "authentic" performances of orchestral and solo works adopt a tempo the speed of which
may display the players’ dexterity but obscures much valuable and enjoyable detail. Many a time I have
listened to a racy performance; having heard many slower and clearer performances and studied the
scores I at least know what I’m missing, but I feel sad for those listening for the first time, who will miss
so much wonderful detail.
Another issue of authenticity might also be considered in relation to tempi: the question of relative tempi
as between movements of a concerto. Many believe that the ultra-slow middle movement contrasting with
excessively fast and often hectic outer movements was a 19th century creation. The respected
Romanian/French conductor/composer Georges Enesco believed that the three movements of a baroque
concerto (or sonata for that matter) should be approximately equal in duration, that the slow movements
should be faster than current practice, and the "fast" movements should be slower. He put this principle
into practice in his wonderful Bach clavier concerto recordings, now long ago deleted. Internal evidence of
the music itself suggests that the difference between the outer, and the middle movement was one of
character not speed. The outer movements would be lively and outgoing, while the center movement
would be more introspective or lyrical. Thurston Dart, a major pioneer in the search for authenticity in
performance during the 1960s, was also of this view.
Many "authentic" performances also adopt unsteady tempi, so that the music seems to move in waves, or
fits and starts, ignoring the fact that a regular tempo was universally accepted in baroque times when the
major concern was keeping unruly players and singers together. Indeed it was quite usual for conductors
to beat time with a heavy object on a desk, or, more commonly still, on the floor with a staff. The French
composer Lully was conducting a Te Deum to celebrate Louis XIV's recovery from illness; he was
banging loudly on the floor with a staff when he struck his foot with such force that it developed an
abscess, from which the unfortunate Lully died shortly after. Slow, steady and deliberate tempi were the
order of the baroque day. And clarity of contrapuntal line was paramount, which itself dictated a slow and
The importance of contrapuntal clarity leads to the issue of balance. Many recording engineers and
studios will record a harpsichord concerto one session and a piano concerto the next; in both cases there is
a keyboard soloist set against the orchestral background. Yet while the piano is given prominence in the
piano concerto, the harpsichord will be pushed into the soundscape background for the harpsichord
concerto! It is not always easy to find recordings of Bach's harpsichord concertos in which the
harpsichord is given correct prominence; and as for the poor Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, often (and
rightly) billed as the world's first Triple Concerto, it seems impossible to find one recording from the
zillions available in which the harpsichord is given the same prominence as the violin and flute, the other
two solo instruments. The harpsichord is doing lots of wonderful things, but balance and excessive speeds
usually render most of the player's work inaudible. When the harpsichord emerges into its beautiful solo
cadenza it is barely audible; indeed in one recent "authentic" recording the harpsichord volume is actually
turned up for the solo, either during the recording, the mixing or mastering - a shameful practice hardly
worthy of any self-respecting recording company!
The tradition of the Inaudible Harpsichord is probably based on the perception of the harpsichord as being
solely a continuo instrument, there only to keep the rhythm and to fill in the background harmony. While
this may be a true reflection of the harpsichord's major traditional role, this fine instrument was obviously
much more significant to Bach, who pioneered its use as a solo-in-concerto.
Another example of poor balance which fails to reflect Bach's own view of the harpsichord's role can
almost universally be found in his sonatas for violin and keyboard. These were written as 3-part Trio
Sonatas, one part for each keyboard hand, and the third for the violin. But once again the harpsichord is
generally relegated to the rear of the sound spectrum, the result being an almost solo violin with a faint
tinkling in the background. Thus when the counterpoint moves from violin to harpsichord it is all but lost.
The same applies with the sonatas for flute - or viola - and harpsichord. In choral music too, balance is
often inappropriate musically, when for example the choir is given prominence over the instruments,
although baroque composers generally and Bach in particular wrote equally for instruments and voices,
taking the musical lines freely from one to the other.
There are, in short, many assumptions made by the "authentic" movement, and practiced in their
performances, which are not demonstrably authentic and which do nothing to enhance the enjoyment of
On the other hand, there are some important areas of historical practice which still remain to be discovered
and put to use in performance. One is the matter of timbre, or sound quality produced by the instruments,
in particular the violin and the harpsichord.
The harpsichord sound generally associated with most "authentic" performances is, in the words of one
outspoken reviewer, "tinny and jangly". Was this the sound Bach would have preferred from his own
harpsichord? This is not a rhetorical or unanswerable question, for we can ascertain Bach's taste in
harpsichord sound with some accuracy. Bach was often quoted as saying that he preferred the softer
clavichord, but that the harpsichord had mastery and strength necessary for certain pieces. However he
clearly preferred the stronger, less jangling type of harpsichord sound, for he worked hard during his
lifetime to promote his own version of a "keyboard-lute" or "lautenclavicimbel", a keyboard instrument of
plucked strings similar to the harpsichord, yet so constructed as to produce the softer tone of the lute. The
inventory of Bach's possessions at the time of his death reveals that he owned two such instruments, as
well as three harpsichords, one lute and a spinet.
Though an actual example of a lute-harpsichord has not survived, there are historical records of orders and
specifications, and a wonderful reconstruction has been made for Gergely Sárközy (among others) whose
equally wonderful performances of Bach can be heard on the Hungaraton label. It would seem fairly
conclusive that this is the sort of sound Bach would have preferred.
Similarly in the case of the violin, the research movement into "authentic performance" has totally
overlooked one very important aspect of baroque performance on stringed instruments generally: the
ability of the performer to produce true chords, a technique which required a type of bow widely used in
German baroque performance.
The German baroque violin bow was quite different from its Italian counterpart, reflecting differences in
German musical taste. The Italian bow was slim, light, almost straight, and very similar to those in general
use today. The German bow was heavier and deeply arched; the strings were loose, and the tension was
maintained by the pressure of the player's thumb which was placed under the bow strings. The more
cumbersome method of holding the bow which this required, would have dictated slower performance
speeds. But more significantly, the tension, being maintained by the player’s thumb, could be tightened for
single-line melody, or loosened to play chords on three or all four strings simultaneously. This technique
was expounded by one Emil Telmanyi who recorded Bach's solo violin sonatas and partitas for German
Decca (Das Alte Werk series) many years ago using a modern reconstruction of the baroque German
violin bow. His performance brought out for the first time the alternation between chord and solo line
which is such an important feature of Bach's solo string writing - all other performances play broken
arpeggios which are not the same as true chords.
There need be no doubt as to the historical validity of the arched German baroque bow, with its associated
technique of using the thumb to control tension and play chords or single line as required. A cursory
glance at the frontispiece to the Musikalishes Lexikon published in 1732 and edited by Bach's cousin
Gottfried Walther clearly shows players using arched bows, their thumbs holding the tension of the
bowstrings. And there is other documentation, as for example in the written comments by Georg Muffat
(1698). A further point is that Bach was not the sort of slapdash musician who would write chords for an
instrument incapable of playing them. His solo flute sonata has no “chords” which the player must
replicate with arpeggios. Bach wrote chords in his solo string sonatas and partitas because chords were
what he intended to be played and chords were what he himself would have played (he learned the violin
at an early age and was very fond of the viola). In the absence of a revival of the baroque German bow
and a fund of expertise in its use, the only way at present to render a truly authentic performance of
Bach's solo violin and solo cello sonatas and partitas - authentic in the sense of how Bach visualized and
would have heard them - would be to use a quartet.
Another very prominent feature of string playing in today's "authentic" performances is the almost total
absence of vibrato, resulting in a flat, plaintive and lifeless tone. That there is little or no mention of
"vibrato" until the 1800s is no reason to suppose that it was unknown and unused during the 1700s and
earlier. To the contrary in fact. Musical instruments in those days were not maintained to the same high
standard of tuning as they are today, since they were usually stored and often played in damp, cold
conditions. It was often recommended that instruments play in groups of at least three in order to
minimize this problem. Vibrato would have overcome the perception of imperfect tuning. Certainly vibrato
was well known and much valued during baroque times in its application on the clavichord, known in
German as Bebung. There are also many references in baroque musical literature, both to the importance
placed on warmth and vibrato in vocal performance, and to the ideal in violin playing of replicating the
A word or two might also be said about the use of the term "period instruments". Some rare and unusual
instruments have indeed been revived, but with very few exceptions, these are more relevant in the
performance of mediaeval music rather than baroque. The use of the (wooden and much softer) baroque
flute is important, as opposed to its more strident metal counterpart - this is a matter of balance, between
the flute and harpsichord or other instruments. In the case of stringed instruments however, few stringed
instrument players of any standing have ever used an instrument produced more recently than the
mid-1800s. The violin, viola and cello players recorded in the 1960s, 70s and 80s were all proud owners
of original baroque instruments. Thus the use of the term "period instruments", while it may be
indisputably accurate, should not be taken to imply that this is an exclusively modern-day revival
While the debate on authenticity in baroque performance will continue, certain essential characteristics
should be present. The musicians must first and foremost show a respect and an affection for the music;
this is most important. A violinist or singer performing with real sensitivity, even just for a few lines,
immediately seizes one's attention. Tempi also are extremely important; if the tempo is too slow the piece
drags; too fast and vital detail is lost as the musicians scramble to grapple with unnecessary challenges of
physical dexterity. Too many performances today reflect this unseemly haste. Balance is vital too, so that
everything can be heard.
In the performance itself it is very important, particularly in the works of JS Bach, to display the
"architecture" of the piece, especially in his organ preludes and fugues, many of which are constructed in
the form of an arch with side pillars at beginning and end, curves and a keystone at the top, with
excursions into carved embellishments along the way. A good performer will study the architecture and
reflect it in performance through changes in registration; all too often today such considerations are
dispensed with, and indeed there is a school of thought which supports performance from start to finish on
one manual with one selection of stops.
A good Bach performance and recording might be summarized in one simple objective: "if Bach wrote it,
the listener should hear it".
There is a spirit to every age, every composer, and every piece of music. In baroque times secular and
sacred life were very much inter-related, and music was to be enjoyed, but also respected as a spiritual
gift. More importantly, the spirit of the baroque is characterized above all by clarity, for the music is very
contrapuntal (fugal/canonic) and every note, every line has its place. Love and respect for the music,
enjoyment in performance, and above all, clarity in the articulation, ensemble and recording balance.
These are the true essentials of baroque music. If performance practices billed as "authentic" on "period"
instruments can reveal these qualities and this spirit then that is true authenticity. If modern instruments
can do the same, then that too is authenticity. It’s the spirit that counts.
Adapted from Michael Sartorius,
musicologist and classical recording producer.
His Copyright notice says: "Permission is hereby given to quote or copy freely
without further request or formality."
Many thanks to
Dearest for everything!