Notes & Reviews:
The tem 'Baroque' is broadly used in the music world to refer to the period between 1600 and 1750 encompassing composers from Monteveri and Purcell in the earlier part of the period, to Telemann, Vivaldi, Ach and Handel. This 10 CD set by EMI Classics brings together the greatest musical works written during the Baroque era, forming the definitive Baroque Collection.
Beginning with early 17th century music, this set displays Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli, a piece that preserves the ideals of Renaissance music by showing the ability to communicate liturgical text through expressive writing. Following his lead, though starkly different in so many ways, is Monteverdi's Vespers publication of 1610, which can be viewed here as the logical consequence of Palestrina's work.
Vivaldi, arguably one of the most important composers of the period, combined wonderfully dramatic thematic materials with an altogether new level of virtuosity in solo writing. He is featured in this collection along with two discs devoted to Purcell, a composer famed for his work in the theatre. Purcell's overtures and 'act tunes', though very fine music, served as little more than calls to attention for the unruly audiences of the day.
Handel, an English composer of the new generation, gained immediate popular success with his opera Rinaldo in 1711. Among some of his most popular compositions are the ones available here with strong religious connections, as well as his immense instrumental output. Born the same year as Handel and known today as one of the greatest composers of the Baroque period, Bach is showcased in this collection. Each of the discs in this set concentrates on a different facet of his output; the first begins with one of the world's most famous Magnificat settings and ends with the original version of Jesu, Joy of man's desiring, the second has music for solo instruments' while the third has some of his most admired ensemble music. This collection contains all of the best and most loved music of the Baroque period.