Score and part 0571568181 (fp) on sale
Commissioned by Musica Viva Australia for Andrew Manze and Richard Egarr with the financial assistance of the Ian Potter Foundation.
One observation on music of the Baroque period, particularly that of the Italian style, is that much of it is concerned with a kind of "happy virtuosity". Works such as Vivaldi concertos or fast movements of Handel oratorios are examples of this. In contrast, joyful exuberance in contemporary classical music may be frowned upon in some circles, an attitude that I find slightly puzzling. After all, it seems to me that we have a lot to be happy about.
In Baroquerie, I have made reference to selected musical characteristics of baroque period, including the notion of "happy virtuosity", and then have attempted to absorb them into my own musical style. The three movements each have their own character. The first movement is loosely cast as a Recitative and Aria. The second movement alternates between improvisatory solos for the two instruments and a melody above a gradually expanding ground bass. The third movement uses specific musical techniques from the baroque era, such as cycles of fifths, in a loose interpretation of ritornello form. The end result shouldn't be listened to as a piece of baroque music, but rather, a work of contemporary music that may or may not contain some derivations.
It may interest some listeners to know that another of the initial ideas behind this piece was to integrate aspects of rock music into the work (i.e. Ba-Rock-ery). I found this very difficult, particularly taking into account the instrumentation of the work. Whilst this idea didn't really eventuate in a substantial way, traces of this initial inspiration may be seen in some of the rhythmic figures in the second movement (soft rock guitar-type figurations in the harpsichord) and the virtuosic and overflowing nature of the last movement (volcanic rock).
© Matthew Hindson