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Guide to Baroque Music

Baroque at Bachtrack!
Everything's here for the baroque lover: places to go, concerts and opera to see, reviews, interviews with top performers, features about composers and works. Enjoy!
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Interviews

Pierre Audi: thirty years of mythic mystery

Pierre Audi © Sarah Wong
The director/producer of more than 400 operas tells us about La morte d'Orfeo, his last production before leaving for Aix in September, about Wagner, about working with the visual arts and more...

Recovering humanity through music: Jordi Savall

Jordi Savall © David Ignaszewski
The doyen of Early Music explains his blending of music and history, starting with his most recent project, The Routes of Slavery. We talk about the recording industry, Eastern music and more.

Bach to modern music: Mahan Esfahani

Mahan Esfahani © Kaja Smith
Perhaps the most prominent harpsichordist of today, Esfahani talks to us about Bach, new music and great harpsichordists from Wanda Landowska to the stars of tomorrow.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner on Monteverdi

© Sim Cannetty-Clarke
Read our wide-ranging interview about Monteverdi's operas, their cultural context, performing them today and why they remain as contemporary and fresh as when they were written four centuries ago.
Travel

Top ten baroque cities: a visitor's guide

© Google MyMaps
Baroque art, baroque architecture, baroque music. From Prague and Wrocław in the East to Versailles in the West to Valletta in the South, we take lovers of the era on a tour of Europe.

Top ten Handel places to visit in London

Handel's music room at Handel House © Handel House
Handel lived in London for most of his adult life, becoming the leading musical figure in the city. Handel expert Katharine Hogg traces his steps through today's London.

Photo gallery: Baroque theatres you should see

Hasse's Tito Vespasiano at Český Krumlov, Czech Republic © The Town of Český Krumlov | Libor Sváček
Feast your eyes on this marvellous collection of Europe's surviving baroque theatres.

Three festivals for Mr. Handel

William Berger in the title role of Imeneo, Göttingen © Theodoro da Silva
Sandra takes us on a guided tour round Germany's major international Handel Festivals: Göttingen, Halle and Karlsruhe.
Composers, works

Handel – the top ten of his operas, plus one

George Frideric Handel, by Thomas Hudson, 1756 © National Portrait Gallery, London
From emperors and empresses to nymphs, gods and giants by way of faithful wives, sorceresses, knights, dastardly noblemen and dazzling coloratura arias, here's your guide to the master showman of baroque opera.

Bach's St Matthew and St John Passions

Diego Velásquez: Cristo Crucificado © Wikipedia | Public Domain
Jane Shuttleworth reflects on the very different natures of Bach's St John and St Matthew Passions. 

Ten alternative versions of Bach

Historically-informed performance fanatics, look away now.

10 major Bach works on Bachtrack At Home

August Weger's 19th century engraving of Bach © Public domain | Wikimedia Commons
There’s a range of works by Bach on Bachtrack At Home. Here, we explore 10 of the best. 
Festivals
Baroque festivals

Baroque experimentalism at Oranjewoud Festival

Musica Sequenza © Sophie Schwarzenberger
Oranjewoud Festival in Friesland, the Netherlands, tempers envelope-pushing with tradition. 
Baroque Festivals

Foreign Worlds explored at the Handel Halle Festival

Handel, by Louis-François Roubiliac © Wikicommons
The Handel Festival Halle this year is programmed under the title “Foreign Worlds”, reflecting not only the cultural influences he drew from his travels abroad, but his fascination with distant lands. 
Find baroque concerts, opera and dance across the world
Upcoming eventsSee more...

MunichResidenz Serenade

Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven
Munich Residenz Solisten

LondonSemperoper Ballet: All Forsythe

Willems, Handel
William Forsythe; SemperOper Ballett Dresden

SnapeBye-Bye Beethoven

Ives, Haydn, Cage, Bach, Kurtág, Beethoven, Sanchez-Chiong
Mahler Chamber Orchestra; Patricia Kopatchinskaja; Jorge Sanchez-Chiong; Maria Ursprung; Simon Janssen
Latest reviewsSee more...

Vestard Shimkus delivers exhilarating Dreamscapes

Vestard Shimkus © Ars Produktion
Composer-pianist, Vestards Shimkus gives a compelling rendition of his imaginative 9 etudes Dreamscapes, while his Bach-Busoni 9 Chorale Preludes offers more mixed results. 
****1
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Acis and Galatea for the social media age

Lucy Hall (Galatea) © Dani Harvey
An intimate setting for the 18th-century work do from hell.
****1
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Carry on Cleo: Joélle Harvey triumphs at Glyndebourne

Sarah Connolly (Giulio Cesare) and Joélle Harvey (Cleopatra) © Bill Cooper
Interviewed at the time of this production's first outing, McVicar declared that “Entertainment is not a dirty word”. His Giulio Cesare remains a hugely entertaining opera production.
****1
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What is baroque music?

“Baroque” is a period from approximately 1600 to 1750, sandwiched between the “Renaissance” and “Classical” periods. “Baroque” initially described irregularly shaped pearls that were used in jewelry as early as the 16th century. Rousseau and other critics of Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie called the opera “baroque” because of its seemingly irregular melodies, disjunctive harmonies, and frequently changing keys and meters. Read more in Stephen Raskauskas' article.

Older articles
We interview...

Michael Chance on the new Grange Festival

© The Grange Festival
Michael Chance tells us about planned improvements to the festival-going experience and tells us about the operas that will form part of the new festival.
We interview...

L'Arpeggiata founder Christina Pluhar

Christina Pluhar © Marco Borggreve
Christina talks about improvisation, her passion for unusual voice types, combining early music with jazz and traditional styles, and more.
We interview...

A Monteverdi Odyssey: B'Rock Orchestra

B'Rock Orchestra in 2015 © Mirjam Devriendt
Ahead of their tour of Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, starting at Klarafestival, B'Rock's general director Hendrik Storme tells us about this very international young orchestra, Monteverdi's masterpiece and working with René Jacobs.
We interview...

Baroque Inquisition: Rinaldo Alessandrini

Rinaldo Alessandrini © Lorraine Wauters
The prolific recording artist and founder of Concerto Italiano answers our questions about Monteverdi and other music of the period.
Festival opera...

Theatrical feast: Hipermestra at Glyndebourne

The 1658 libretto of Hipermestra © British Library Board, General Reference Collection DRT Digital Store 11715.c.40.
This year's festival opens with the most lavish work of an exceptionally important composer. So why has it languished unperformed for so long?
We interview...

Baroque inquisition: La Venexiana

La Venexiana © Kaupo Kikkas
The madrigal specialists talk to us about the music of Claudio Monteverdi, whose 450th birthday will be in May 2017.
We interview...

Baroque Inquisition: Michael Schneider

Michael Schneider © Sven Cichowicz
The recorder/traverso specialist and conductor talks to us about the music of Telemann, whose 250th anniversary is in 2017
We interview...

Baroque Inquisition: Bernhard Forck

Bernhard Forck © Gudrun Senger
About the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin's US tour, playing Bach in the Thomaskirche, rare Telemann, lesser known works and more.
Focus on Handel

Raw and Realistic: Handel's Brockes Passion

Caravaggio: The Crowning with Thorns ( Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) © Public Domain | Wikipedia
As Concerto Copenhagen prepare a tour of Handel's unusual work, Artistic Director Lars Ulrik Mortensen tells us why he thinks it is unjustly neglected. 
Baroque revived

Alessandro Stradella: cloaks, daggers, genius

Manuscript of La Doriclea
A swindler and a seducer who met his death at the hands of a seducee's furious brothers, Stradella was also one of the pioneering figures of the baroque, whose little remembered music sounds fresh and exciting to this day.
Happy birthday...

Nicola Porpora as opera composer

Nicola Porpora (Museo internazionale e biblioteca della musica, Bologna) © Public Domain | Wikipedia
A serious competitor to the operas of Handel in his time, Porpora has fallen into neglect. To celebrate his 250th anniversary, perhaps that should change.
Celebrating women...

Top Six Women Baroque Composers

Markgräfin Wilhelmine von Brandenburg-Bayreuth (Antoine Pesne, 1683-1657) © Wikimedia Commons
Following the example of Rebecca Lentjes’ January feature “Top Ten Living Women Composers”, I have made my pick of women composers of the Baroque period in celebration of International Women’s Day.