The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Why are mornings the right time for listening to Baroque music? | April 7, 2018

By Jacob Stockinger

Recently I have spent many mornings listening to a lot of Baroque music. It was programmed on Wisconsin Public Radio.

That’s how I ended up listening to so many great concertos, sonatas, cantatas and other music by Johann Sebastian Bach (below top) and Antonio Vivaldi (below bottom) – my two favorites – as well as Georg Frideric Handel, Domenico Scarlatti, Georg Philipp Telemann and several masters of the Italian baroque. (At the bottom is Bach’s appealing Brandenburg Concerto No. 6, written for lower strings without violins, which I heard.)

Of course so much of Baroque music is appealing by itself and on its own at any time.

And I have heard it in recordings and in live performance  at all different times of the day – mornings, afternoons and nights.

But somehow Baroque music just feels most right in the morning.

I think I have some ideas why.

But it seems like a great question to ask readers about.

So, readers, The Ear asks you: What makes mornings seem so ideal for listening to Baroque music?

Do you have a favorite Baroque composer?

And do you have a favorite Baroque piece?

Leave names of composers and pieces, along with a YouTube link, in the COMMENT section.

The Ear wants to hear.


7 Comments »

  1. Bach’s “Gigue” fugue played by E Power Biggs on the Flentrop Organ. Baroque Music: It’s not just for breakfast. Enjoy it all day long….

    Comment by Bob Dinndorf — April 8, 2018 @ 9:53 pm

  2. Baroque music is good for mornings because it is so well organized and task-certain, as we want to be. But then I think of the L’Oiseau-Lyre recording of the Handel concerto for harp and lute that was so conducive to conversation and anticipation at dinner parties years ago at 133.

    Comment by Ron MCrea — April 7, 2018 @ 10:01 am

    • You want to be “organized and task-certain” only in the mornings?

      Comment by fflambeau — April 7, 2018 @ 8:49 pm

      • Yes, later I want time for daydreaming. Not everyone can be relentless 24/7.

        Comment by Ron MCrea — April 10, 2018 @ 7:27 am

  3. Lately, I have been listening to the Bach Lute Suites played on the Baroque Lute by Nigel North:

    https://tidal.com/album/60237001

    For years I listened to these pieces transcribed for the classical guitar and played by John Williams, Manuel Barrueco, and Andres Segovia but I find the original instrument performances far more satisfying. The sympathetic vibrations of the additional strings of the Baroque Lute give the music a depth and texture that the guitar, regardless of how excellently played, misses.

    As to the morning question, I believe a far more interesting question is “How do you listen to baroque music?”. If you are multitasking and think you are listening to this music, you are only getting a tiny morsel of its goodness.

    Comment by Augustine — April 7, 2018 @ 7:54 am

  4. I like Baroque music in the morning because it’s rational, often calm, sometimes exciting, sweetly mournful,
    Never in a bad mood. It almost always lifts my spirits. All qualities you might find in a good friend. What better start to one’s day?

    Comment by Ann Boyer — April 7, 2018 @ 2:23 am

  5. You’re asking a loaded question since you have already supplied your “answer.”

    For me, baroque music is fine at any time of day but I especially like it early evenings. But that’s just my own preference, not a law.

    I also love Bach, but Baroque music is also much bigger and the Italian’s (including the Red Priest) had a huge role in it. Vilvadi is usually played as the Four Seasons but he wrote such brilliant music.

    One composer of the Baroque you don’t mention but that I like immensely is Archangelo Correlli.

    And don’t forget the English and their major role in Baroque music especially Henry Purcell. The great Polish pianist, Ignaz Friedman, considered Purcell as great a composer as Bach.

    And then there is that German-Londoner, Handel, whom Beethoven called “God”.

    Comment by fflambeau — April 7, 2018 @ 1:09 am


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