"Bravo! An invaluable source for scholars and concertgoers.” - Library Journal
In the history of the Western musical tradition, the Baroque period traditionally dates from the turn of the 17th century to 1750. The beginning of the period is marked by Italian experiments in composition that attempted to create a new kind of secular musical art based upon principles of Greek drama, quickly leading to the invention of opera. The ending is marked by the death of Johann Sebastian Bach in 1750 and the completion of George Frideric Handel’s last English oratorio, Jephtha, the following year.
The Historical Dictionary of Baroque Music, Second Edition contains a chronology, an introduction, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has more than 500 cross-referenced entries on composers, instruments, cities, and technical terms. This book is an excellent resource for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about baroque music.
Joseph P. Swain has taught music history and theory for more than 45 years. He is the former organist and director of music at St. Malachy’s Church in Sherburne, New York, and former music director of Tapestry, the All-Centuries Singers, based in Clinton, New York. His latest work of criticism is Listening to Bach and Handel: A Comparative Critique. He has also written Sacred Treasure: Understanding Catholic Liturgical Music, Harmonic Rhythm, The BroadwayMusical, which won ASCAP’s Deems Taylor Award in 1991, and Musical Languages, as well as a companion book in this series, A Historical Dictionary of Sacred Music.
Foreword Jon Woronoff
Acronyms and Abbreviations
About the Authors
With 45-plus years as a music educator and director of period ensembles, Swain is well versed in baroque music. This new edition of his dictionary features 100 new entries (roughly 500 total), half biographical and half dealing with genres, technical aspects, important traditions, and outstanding compositions. Individual entries have expanded, and a new entry on the development of the baroque orchestra has been added. Varying in length from a sentence or two to about eight pages (for Bach and Handel), entries are more detailed than those in general music resources. The preface announces that the update's “most helpful expansion” is the bibliography, which has some 30 percent new items, most from the past decade. This 50-page, unannotated bibliography includes primary and secondary sources, internet resources, and a brief discography. A few black-and-white illustrations and tables are scattered throughout. Very welcome is the inclusion of the titles of specific notable works, particularly for less-known composers. Although this new edition, like the previous one, is well done and unique. Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty, professionals.
Swain observes that the baroque period in music, traditionally dated from 1600 to 1750, is one of the best known in the history of Western music. Its most famous composers (including Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi) are among the most prominent in classical music today. Much scholarship has been done on that era since Swain’s pioneering and well-received first edition of this book was published in 2013. The second edition includes 100 new entries, half of them about composers; other new entries are about individual compositions (e.g., Bach’s Easter Oratorio), places, technical terms, and institutions. Expanded versions of the first edition’s entries offer more historical detail and explanations. Most helpful to students and scholars is Swain’s greatly expanded bibliography, which contains 30 percent more sources, most published in the last decade. The book presupposes a good background in music theory and notation (including violin). Bravo! An invaluable source for scholars and concertgoers.