Blogging Up The Works

Monday, March 23, 2015

Baroque & Roll

I like baroque music, both orchestral and choral. I can't think of a day or an occasion that couldn't be brightened by it being accompanied by Zadok The Priest. But there is one genre of Baroque music that I can't stand. And that's Baroque Opera. My God, it's dire. I saw my first Baroque opera about 9 years ago, Dido and Aeneas. It contains one of the most famous arias, the cheerful When I am Laid in Earth. See how long you can last before having to rip your ears off.

This weekend we went and saw our second, The Prophetess or The History of Dioclesian by Henry Purcell. Some of his choral work is sublime. This isn't. It was three hours of my life I'll never get back. We went because a friend was in it. People left at the interval. We couldn't unfortunately because she would have realised. We both lost the plot of the story a few minutes in. And we lost the will to live a short time after.

It takes a lot to find something musical that makes compositions by Stockhausen sound good, but this did it. The only thing worse than Baroque Opera is Chinese Opera which sounds like a cat being put through a mangle and it's innards being used as the musical instruments.

With luck and a following wind that might be the last I ever have to hear. Unfortunately there are a number of French composers of the same era and I might then have to suffer not only a Baroque Opera but in a language I don't understand. Then again, maybe that will be an improvement.

4 Comments:

  • Zadoc the Priest is the only choral work that I truly love. My hearing problems mean that music distorts in my head and is mostly a cacophony but old Zadoc still rings almost true for me.

    Shame about those operas - I have never been to one but used to love to listen on disc before hearing failure.

    By Blogger Toffeeapple, At 6:48 PM  

  • Thank you.

    By Blogger Masher, At 9:59 PM  

  • Toffeeapple - I shall definitely have to stick with getting my opera fix from the 18th/19th century composers.
    Masher - I'm taking it you listened then.

    By Blogger kennamatic, At 10:45 PM  

  • Yup.

    I've never been a big opera fan anyway - cos it's all in foreign and I can't understand any of it.
    As such, I quite like Gilbert & Sullivan, but don't listen to it much.

    By Blogger Masher, At 5:50 AM  

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