A Collection of Baroque pieces for Guitar. Easy to Advanced Level
Handel - Theme from Water Music
This exhilarating work, also titled "Alla Hornpipe," is taken from the second suite of Handel's celebrated "Water Music." "Water Music" premiered on 17 July 1717 after King George I had requested a concert on the River Thames. The king was so pleased with it that he ordered it to be repeated at least three times, both on the trip upstream to Chelsea and on the return to Whitehall.
Originally part of the orchestral suite No 3 and written for Prince Leopold, Bach's employer in the little principality of Anhalt-Cothen between 1717 and 1723, the 'Air on the G string' arrived in its current popular form over 100 year later, when German violinist August Wilhelm arranged the piece for violin and piano to be played on the evocative G-string of the violin. The theme was made famous in the UK through its use in Hamlet cigar advertising. In film and television it has been used to produce an atmosphere of serenity, perhaps most famously in the library scene of the 1995 police thriller "Se7en."
One of the most famous and well-loved of all baroque works, the four seasons are the first of 12 concerti that make up "Il Cemento Dell'armonia e dell'inventione" ("The Contest of Harmony and Invention"). They were originally written for solo violin and orchestra. The opening movement of the first of the concerto suggests all the joy and expectation of its title, "Spring."
One of Bach's most familiar pieces, "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" is a setting of a chorale from cantata 147 "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben,' written in 1723. A cantata is a Lutheran (the religion of Bach) hymn. Essentially the harmonised hymn, sung to the words "Jesu Joy" ("Jesus bleibet meine Freude"), is accompanied by joyful compound triple time quavers. It is an immensely popular setting, often heard at weddings and other festive occasions, both in its original choral form and in various arrangements.
Pachelbel's most famous work, originally for three violins and basso continuo, but since arranged for a wide variety of instruments. It has a hypnotic quality derived from its repeating chordal pattern and the inevitability with which it gathers rhythmic momentum. It often played weddings, providing an atmospheric accompaniment for the arrival of the bridal party.
Henry Purcell's Rondeau is the second movement of a suite of ten written as incidental music for a revival of Aphra Behn's play "Abdelazer" in 1695. It is the best remembered part of the suite, both in its original form and in adaptations—composer Benjamin Britten used it in his "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" (1946), it can be hard in the television series "The First Churchills" (1969) and "Pride and Prejudice" (2005) and was even used, in an arrangement by Andrew Lloyd Webber, as the election music for the British Conservative Party in the 1992 general election.