by Daniel Hathaway
The word “Baroque” trips so easily off our modern tongues that we forget a few things about its origin. First of all, nobody in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries thought they were writing “Baroque” music. Later critics used the term (which plausibly derives from the Portuguese word for “a pearl of irregular shape”) in a pejorative sense to describe art that was too ornate, busy or emotional.
What we also forget is that the music and art of that period was meant to be inordinately decorative and hyper-expressive, pushing as it did against the cool, rational conventions of the Renaissance. To be reminded of those values, all you need to do is to check out a performance by the enterprising — and surprising — musicians of Burning River Baroque. [Read more…]