If you’re new to listening to baroque music, or classical music in general, you may be overwhelmed by all the recommendations out there. The baroque era lasted for a century and a half, and in that time hundreds of beautiful works of art were created. Where do you even start? We’ve got you covered with the 6 most popular compositions you must listen to.
- Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi is easily one of the most beloved pieces of the baroque era. It’s comprised of a twelve-set concerto called The Test of Harmony and Invention, or “Il cimentodell’armonia e dell’inventione” in Italian. These twelve concertos are considered the boldest and most forward-thinking works of the baroque period of music.
- Suites a Violoncelle Solo senza Basso by Johann Sebastian Bach is made of six suites for the cello. It’s considered the most famous music ever written for the cello. The moment they are played, they’re instantly recognized as Bach’s work and a landmark in baroque music evolution. Interestingly, Bach’s second wife owned the rights to the hard copy of this piece of music after Bach’s death
- Messiah by George Frideric Handel was composed in only 24 days and has a beautiful story behind it. Handel’s friend, Charles Jennens, was a librettist and had an idea to create a scriptural anthology with a musical background. It was 1741, and Handel was compelled to help with this great idea. He originally planned for Messiah to be performed at Easter, but it ended up suiting Christmas much more.
- Twelve concerti grossi from Arcangelo Corelli were finally published after the composer’s untimely death. He spent years working on these pieces and the hard work is evident in the final piece. It uniquely creates a musical dialogue between the small group of soloists and the large orchestra, also called a concerto grosso. This style of composition and dialogue in music had never been done before Corelli’s work.
- For the second time on our list, Bach is recommended, specifically his Brandenburg Concertos. These concertos were written in dedication to the Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, Christian Ludwig. The year was 1721 and a gift such as this would have been an honor to receive, one that only royals would normally be gifted. The concertos are described as very upbeat and cheerful, improving the moods of all listeners.
- The Paris Quartets by Georg Philip Telemann were some of France’s most exceptional music created in the baroque The piece was written for flute, violin, viola da gamba, and continuo; these instruments created a unique combination of sounds that were not combined often at the time. Telemann was one of the only composers of the time to be self-taught.
We hope you’ve found these pieces enjoyable as you explore the wonderful world of baroque-era classical music. These recommendations are based on popularity and classics that had stood the test of time. If you have more recommendations, please submit them on our Contact Us page.