The art of improvisation was one of the defining features of the Baroque period.
Musicians were like the jazz greats of today, expected to improvise and ornament music spontaneously and with ‘good taste’, appropriate to the style and character of the piece. Musicians warmed to this freedom and performing music became a collaborative effort. Pity those needing prompting, with Roger North suggesting that notating ornaments “…is the hardest task that Can be, to pen the Manner of artificial Gracing the upper part. It hath bin attempted … but with Woeful Effect…therefore it is almost Inexcusable to attempt it.”
Salut! Baroque’s 2023 Concert Season, Inspiration & Improvisation, will explore the fascinating phases and fashions that baroque music ornamentation went through, sometimes without the composers themselves having a say in the way their music was being performed. Johann Joseph Fux (1725) protested that “excessive desire and audacity to vary has gone so far …[that] the composer is hard pressed to recognise his own composition.”
Salut!’s February concert, Cultural Journeys, celebrates...