Important Styles and How They Influenced Life in the 1700s.
Setting the Scene
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Bach is one of the most renowned composers, and his career set the proverbial ball rolling in terms of the Baroque movement. Born in Eisenach, Germany to a musical family, Bach wrote compositions for almost all the prominent instruments of his day (i.e., woodwinds, strings, and chromatic percussion), along with several chorales. Two of his most famous works include Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and The 3rd Brandenburg Concerto. He was truly a prolific composer, writing hundreds of pieces that shaped the Baroque period.
George Frederick Handel (1685-1759)
One of Bach's contemporaries, Handel's most notable works are his oratorios, long and dramatic choral pieces with a religious theme. A native of Halle, Germany, Handel wrote in the romantic style featured in Bach's compositions. The Messiah is his most enduring work, still being sung during modern Easter and Christmas festivals. Handel also composed a series of operas throughout his life, and spend most of his life in England, where he was acclaimed for his works.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Born at the end of the Baroque era, Mozart paved the way for the next era of music, titled the classical period. An Austrian-born musical prodigy, Mozart began composing at age five. He toured with his siblings during his childhood years, performing at such grand venues as Vienna and Versailles. Mozart composed several symphonies, and is also known for his operas including The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute. This composer's work influenced the likes of Ludwig van Beethoven and Josef Hadyn, among others.
Handel (above); Below is Bach's acclaimed work, Toccata and Fugue
Bach - Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565 by EMIClassicsUS
During the course of the 18th century, the style of art shifted from Baroque to what is called rococo. Rococo art was a scaled-back version of the intense Baroque works, depicting more intimate and intricate scenes. In addition, rococo works incorporated the style of fete galante, or paintings illustrating gatherings in a garden. This art movement received its greatest appeal in France. Painters Francois Boucher, Jean Honore Fragonard, and Antoine Watteau worked for royal and aristocratic clients, creating such paintings as Bathers (Fragonard) and The Island of Cythera (Watteau).
See the differences between The Battle of the Amazons (above), a Baroque work, and The Island of Cythera (below), made during the rococo period.
The Lives of the Majority
Kozinn, Allan. “Bach, Johann Sebastian.” Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Grolier Online, 2016. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.
Landon, H. C. Robbins. “Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus.” Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Grolier Online, 2016. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.
Smither, Howard E. “Handel, George Frideric.” Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Grolier Online, 2016. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.
Zafran, Eric M. “Baroque.” World Book Student. World Book, 2016. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.⸻. “Rococo.” World Book Student. World Book, 2016. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.