The Baroque Concerto
Barry S. Bodine Jr.
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In simple terms, the word “concerto” translates into “concert.” Motets by Vidana, madrigals by Monteverdi as well as works by Corelli and Torelli are all described by their composers as ‘concertos’. The Baroque era was one in which many different styles of music had been formulated. These differing forms of music were influenced mainly by several factors. First and foremost would be the religious thinking and beliefs of this time, along with changing attitudes in politics. These two factors influenced the form of the Baroque concerto greatly. Baroque music mainly covers the times between 1580 to 1750.
The first instance that the word ‘concerto’ was printed was in 1587 in the city of Venice (Anderson 2). This was used for Andrea Gabrieli’s piece entitled “Concerti per voci, & stromenti Musicali” (Anderson 2). Thus, in Italy the word “concerto” in its earliest form, was not a term only for purely instrumental music, but rather one for mixed groups of voices and instruments together. The concerto then evolved into something rather different than what it was first considered. It’s evolution turned into something in which both display and virtuosity soon assumed an ever-increasing dominance (Anderson 13).
Emergence of the Concerto
The concerto emerged as a distinct genre in the year 1700 (Hutchings 15). However if it was in the early beginning or towards the end of the year, historians cannot agree on. This was the year that the concerto spread outwards from Italy into the court and church orchestras of German-speaking States. The concerto had been the first orchestral form to be composed precisely for the most popular modern service of serious music, the orchestral concert (Hutchings 15).
Corelli’s only set of concertos was his Opus number 6. This set contained twelve concerti grossi for strings. That work of Corelli’s was published the year after his death in 1714, in the city of Amsterdam (Anderson 4). “The formal structure of Corelli’s...