The beginning of the golden Baroque days

Embracing autumn. © Charles Thibo

The harpsichord and the violin are a happy couple. What delighted princes and royal dignitaries in the Baroque era, gives me every year many happy autumn days. The Baroque repertoire for violin and basso continuo* is vast, every now I present rarities, little known composers like Heinrich I. F. Biber or Jacob Kirkman, and I am sure there are many more to be discovered by me as a listener or by musicologists and musicians as professionals.

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Through spring with a dancing clarinet

The clarinet - a spring instrument? © Charles Thibo
The clarinet – a spring instrument? © Charles Thibo

The clarinet,  ah, the clarinet! What a beautiful instrument if mastered by its owner! A few months back, I presented Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major, KV 622, but others have used this beautiful instrument. In chamber music for example. Carl Stamitz for example. The son of Johannes Stamitz, member of the Mannheim School*. In 1774, Carl Stamitz composed a set of six clarinet quartets (op. 14) and the one written in D major, a beautiful little piece, reminds me of a joyful walk in the forest with birds shining everywhere and greeting spring. It is full of joy and optimism, peace and hope. I can almost see the nymphs dancing to the gaily tunes.

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Glittering melodies are warming my heart

Stamitz, an excellent violinist, studied in Prague before moving to Mannheim. © Charles Thibo
Stamitz, an excellent violinist, studied in Prague before moving to Mannheim. © Charles Thibo

Gold. I am tempted to consider the Baroque period as the Golden Age of arts in Europe. Literally and in a more abstract way. Literally since architects used thousands of tons of gold sheets to decorate churches and palaces. In a more abstract way as powerful and rich patrons, princes and bishops alike, spend huge sums to foster literature, performing arts, painting, sculpture, music and architecture, leading to an explosion of creativity unseen in the centuries before. This in spite of the economic decline and political unrest that marked the second half of th 16th century and the 17th century in Europe.

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