Sally’s article on The New World features in Limelight Magazine.

The New World and Spanish Baroque

By Sally Melhuish, 5 August, 2022.

Baroque music is far from being “all the same”, as some believe, says Sally Melhuish, who writes here about the new styles and genres in Spanish Baroque music.

Some years ago, a government arts agency told me that Salut! Baroque was a great ensemble “but only ever plays Baroque music, which is all the same”. I was completely stunned, but I began to wonder whether the impression of Baroque music is often reduced to a generic recycling of Bach, Vivaldi and Handel.

As with any musical genre, the history of Baroque music is punctuated by monumental episodes of creativity, disruption and transformation. Among many examples are the seismic shift from the renaissance to Monteverdi and the development of opera; Purcell’s idiosyncratic Mad Songswritten at a time of societal voyeuristic fascination with “madness”; and the conformist Rebel (whose music had long been admired for its avoidance of the “Frightening and Monstrous”), who began his final composition, the remarkable Chaos, with what is probably the first tone cluster in the history of music.

Creativity and transformation rarely occurred without composers and musicians being exposed to other nations, cultures and techniques. As geographic boundaries shifted during the Baroque era, so too…