Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
Stabat Mater for 10 voices
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Missa Brevis in A BWV 234
Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759)
Dixit Dominus HWV 232
Three composers, each of them a defining character of the Baroque, all born in 1685. Since Händel ‘went native’ in England, they can be seen as standing for three different national styles: Italian, German, and English. But Händel was the ultimate musical chameleon, and before he moved to England he drank in the Italian style of Corelli and Scarlatti father and son. His Dixit Dominus of 1707 is a firework of Latin religious fervour, and will be sung one-to-a-part and, as ever, by heart by the singers of Solomon’s Knot.
Dixit Dominus is a contrast to the more lyrical yearning of D. Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater for 10 voices and continuo, in turn influenced by an earlier polyphonic style.
Bach’s Mass in A major combines ancient choral polyphony with modern aria forms which were fashionable in the opera house and the cantata. In his ‘Gloria in excelsis’ the excited, virtuosic choral writing which one can trace directly back to Italian spice is repeatedly interrupted by contemplative, expressive arioso sections that showcase the increased importance of the individual believer.