2018 Winner: Senior Recital- Baroque Violin

Project Information
Senior Recital- Baroque Violin
Music 196B- Senior Recital. Requirement for Bachelors of Music degree.
On May 6th, 2017, I presented my senior recital on baroque violin to complete a bachelor of music degree. A baroque violin is a violin made and played in the manner of the baroque period of music (roughly 1600-1750 AD). Briefly, a baroque violin differs from a modern violin in the dimensions of the instrument body, the strings (baroque uses sheep gut instead of metal), the bow (baroque bows arch outward instead of inward), and is tuned to different frequencies than modern violin. The manner in which the instrument is played is also different. The violin is positioned on the chest as opposed to on the shoulder, the bow is held higher on the stick, and the technique is less uniform and tends to break away from the standard violin technique used today. Baroque violin is a daunting undertaking for violinists who are used to the regularities of modern violin playing, but the instrument opens a vast world of unexplored and exciting repertoire that both musicians and audiences can enjoy.

The purpose of this recital was to present “early music” repertoire from composers of varying nations and time periods to new audiences, namely students, faculty, and music lovers less familiar with historical performance practice. The recital surveyed music from the Italian city states of the renaissance (Zanetti), courtly music from the French baroque (Couperin), early-baroque Italian and the burgeoning sonata musical form (Castello), German music from the mid-baroque in the Italian style (Schop), and English country dances of the early 1700’s (Playford). Each region and style of music presents its own playing challenges. The French is perhaps the most difficult to play, as simple melodies were indulgently adorned and decorated with notes during this period. Each style has its connections to histories, languages, and cultures, which are carried forth in the music and must be considered by the performer. Historical performance of early music does consider such contexts in its performance practices. My hope was to perform music from different eras and regions to show that all music transcends place and time and connects each of us through the human gift of artistic expression.
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  • Benjamin Andrew Dorsey (Porter)