Johann Sebastian Bach and George Friderick Handel – Сustom Literature essay

Johann Sebastian Bach and George Friderick Handel were two of the most important composers of the Baroque Period. Compare and contrast their lives and sacred musical works studied in class. Johann Sebastian Bach and George Friderick Handel are two of the most important composers of the Baroque period. Born only one month apart both in Germany. Handel lived nine more years than Bach. Coming from the same period the two composers have many qualities that are alike and some unlike. These qualities include the time frames of their childhood, adult hood and later years as well as a comparison between two sacred musical pieces.

Bach and Handel, though both born in Germany only one month apart, they came from different family lifestyles. George Handel did not come from a musical family, his father wanted him to study law. By age 9, his talent was too obvious and began to study with a local organist and composer. Whereas Johann Bach came from a long line of musicians.

Four of his own sons became composers. Bach also started as an organist and composer, but as a church organist. At the age of 18 Handel went to Hamburg and became a violinist and a harpsichordist in the orchestra.

In the meantime Bach was a court conductor for the Prince of Cothen, it was his first position that was not involved in the church or organ music. Bach later became a director of must at St. Thomas church where he stayed for the next 27 years.

At the age of 21 Handel was successfully producing operas. He later went to Italy where he associated with famous musicians and princes. Handel became knows as England’s most important composer. Bach was not considered the greatest composer of his day, but he was recognized as the greatest organist and harpsichordist. Handel wrote suites, organ concertos, concerti grossi but mostly oratorios and Italian operas. Bach wrote all forms of Baroque music, all except Operas.

Bach was a deeply religious man; Handel wrote oratorios based from stories of the Old Testament, but it was not church music. Back’s music, for example Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 is a display of virtuosity, cadenza. Highlight of the solo includes: improvising, scales, appregio, ornamentation and trills. Handel’s music has more change in texture than Bach’s. Bach’s Cantata No.

140, is one of his best known cantata’s. Unlike Handel’s Messiah, Cantata No. 140 is a 130 year old chorale tune. Messiah was composed in twenty four days. Awake, A Voice is Calling Us, was already well known. Messiah was not popular for over ten years. The use of Christian text performed in theater was not well received by some.

Messiah, is in three parts; while Awake, A Voice is Calling Us, has seven movements. Messiah was Handel’s only English oratorio that was the New Testament as also the Old Testament. Bach and Handel come from different types of family, but born in the same country and very close in age. Bach was more involved in the church than Handel, even though Handel used religious material for his music. Both of the composers were great organist and in their old age, their eyesight worsened.

Bach and Handel both continued to compose music with no or little eyesight. The most similar characteristic both Bach and Handel share is the fact that they brought amazing music to this world to share with all. Beethoven presents the best of both Classical and Romantic ideals in music. Discuss why this is so. Be sure to include in your discussion, examples of his music studied in class.

Beethoven presents the best of both Classical and Romantic ideals in music. Beethoven was known to have bridged the gap between Classical music and Romanticism. An example that can show qualities of both periods, can be done by defining each time and then comparing with a piece such as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

The Classical Period can be defined as the age of reason or enlightenment. Faith was a power of reason. Wealth and power are represented musically and with simplicity. It shows refinement, ease balance and symmetry.

For the music, texture was homophonic, rhythm had greater variety in meter, melodies were more simple, dynamics changed: crescendo and decrescendo, and the orchestras increased in size and added woodwinds and brass. Harpsichords were replaced by a piano. Sonata form was introduced for both orchestral and chamber work. The Romantic period can be described as a wealth of emotion such as jealousy, intimacy, anger and betrayal. Music is a reflection of the composers personality. Subject matters became fantasy or dreams. Nationalism became present due to show love of one’s country and to show pride.

Beethoven mostly used classical forms, but the power of emotion displayed represented Romantic qualities. Much of his style and technique was used later by other composers in the Romantic era. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 is written in sonata form of the classical period, and performed by large orchestras, yet eludes emotion as in the Romantic period. The opening theme is in minor and creates tension. As the piece progresses emotionally, it ends triumphantly is a major key. The four opening notes, short-short-short-long, sounds like a march like them from the third movement.

The march-like can be related to nationalism which is a prominent quality in Romantic music. It also shows power and wealth with whom Beethoven associated with. The most obvious characteristic in Romantic music is the fact that a composer shows so much passion and emotion or nationalism in their music. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 is a good example that possesses all of those qualities, yet is written in sonata form from the Classical period.

Word Count: 945

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