It is time to bring the beautiful and meaningful back into our lives.
The current cultural milieu can tend to be rather harsh and so I hark back to the Baroque era for inspirational music and have a variety of art works that I like to enjoy.
I love the art work of the Pre-Raphaelites such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti (see left)
… and just look at the clarity and sharpness of colour in the Baroque work by Jan Davidz.de Heem, painted over 200 years’ earlier!
Baroque painters mixed their pigments from scratch, using ochres, minerals and charcoal combined with eggs and oils and finely ground coloured glass!
Lady of Shalott (1896) by John William Waterhouse is a well-known favourite of many and Waterhouse was prominent in the Pre-Raphaelite and Romantic styles of painting.
Take a look at the Galleries at the bottom of the page for more luscious paintings from the Masters.
I find the contrapuntal nature of the Baroque music is very conducive to mental acuity, as well as being food for the soul. It enables the mind to bring together disparate pieces of information in such a way as to make sense of concepts that seemingly have no connection. The use of counterpoint (the technique of setting, writing, or playing a melody or melodies in conjunction with another, according to fixed rules) enables the musician a certain freedom of interpretation within a guideline.
Contrapuntal means a composition of two or more relatively independent melodies sounded together. Its rather like listening to a tapestry being woven.
My favourite Baroque composers:
Antonio Vivaldi (the Red Priest) was born in Venice in 1678. He became a Roman Catholic priest and was a prolific composer. I love his Four Seasons (especially the interpretation by Nigel Kennedy), Flute Concerto in F Major, Oboe Concerto in D Minor, Trumpet Concerto in G Minor, Concerto for 2 Mandolines, Strings and B.C. in G major and Flute Concerto in D Major. He wrote sacred music, all of which is beautiful, but I especially like Gloria in D Major.
Johann Sebastian Bach was born into a musical family in Germany. My favourite J.S. Bach pieces include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, St Matthew Passion, The Well-Tempered Clavier, Mass in B Minor,
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was the second son of Johann Sebastian Bach. His second name was given in honor of his godfather, Georg Philipp Telemann a friend of Johann Sebastian Bach. The Bach family members were well-known as accomplished composers and musicians. C.P.E. Bach’s pieces are characterised by his nervous energy and dynamism which were quite sensational in his day. He also composed music for music boxes and clocks for the Prussian Court. My favourite piece by C.P.E. Bach is Magnificat in D Major.