The Baroque Era

17th to mid-18th century

(Classical Music Map)


I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner
Orff  "Carmina Burana"
II. History of Jazz

Gregorio Allegri



Little is known of Allegri's parents or home life. From the age of nine he was a choirboy in Rome, going on to become a tenor at San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, where he remained between the ages of 14 and 22. He then studied under the composer Giovanni Nanini until he was nearly 30, an intensive period of learning during which he was strongly influenced by Palestrina. From 1607 to 1621 he was a singer and composer at Fermo, then at Tivoli; finally he progressed to the rank of Maestro di Cappella at the church of Santo Spirito in Sassia (Rome), by which time he was 46 and had had 37 years of musical training and practice.

Towards the end of 1630, at the age of 48, Allegri joined Urban VIII's Papal choir. In this inspiring environment not only did his singing develop but he was able to evolve new compositional ideas. The legacy of Palestrina's teaching, together with his own experience in the Papal choir, led Allegri to write a number of works for the choir's use. Among these was his setting of the Penitential Psalm 51: the famous Miserere.

In essence, this is a simple chant on one-chord sung by an unaccompanied five-part choir with a second four-part choir adding further elements, including passages for solo treble which climb to a high С — a rarity at that time. The effect was to give a supreme, ethereal quality to the music that enhanced its celebration of the glory of God.

The Miserere was written to be part of the important Holy Week celebrations at St Peter's in Rome, and it proved so powerful that it became a traditional part of the Holy Week service sung in the Sistine Chapel every year. The musical score of the work was kept under guard; only three copies are known to have existed. To copy it was an offence punishable by excommunication. Wide-scale performance of the Miserere became possible only after Mozart, at the age of 14, wrote out the complete score from memory after listening to only one or two performances.

Allegri's music was sung for more than 100 years in the Sistine Chapel, especially his six- and eight-part Masses. In these, like Palestrina, he used the a cappella technique of writing for unaccompanied voices, featuring instruments only when they doubled the vocal parts. He also published a number of compositions that were influenced by the musical fashions of northern Italy and not suited to the religious needs of Rome. Allegri's music subtly explored new musical ground, combining his decades of discipline and experience in church music with elements of madrigals and dance rhythms.


Gregorio Allegri



Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652)



  Missa Vidi turbam magnam
  Dilectus meus
  Sinfonia in G major
  Miserere mei























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