Modern Baroque Composers

It would be a vain and narcissistic choice of me to only mention my own music here on this website, so here I am taking the opportunity to share music by other living, breathing, modern composers who enjoy writing within the Baroque style.

Some of these composers are relative to my age, which is warming and encouraging news, and others are a little older.

Around three years ago, I discovered the group known as Vox Saeculorum which is more of an online collection of composers; their Wikipedia page is here.

Not included in the group, curiously, is the Italian virtuoso writer Federical Maria Sardelli, who is a talented flautist and conductor and has a knack for speaking the same musical dialect as Vivaldi. Sardelli has been instrumental in performing the Red Priest’s music, and even reviving a lost opera or two! You may read more about him here but I will link his music shortly.

Roman Turovsky is another excellent writer of Baroque music, and prominently he writes for the lute. Giorgio Pacchioni also has a clear sense of contrapuntal writing in his fugues. Henk Bouman is usually known for his work as a Baroque wind player, but his compositions

Another important resource is the Bach Emulation Project which brings up a very good question: how far can you go with emulation and imitation and still have your work considered your own? In the old days we might see one composer sounding like another as pure coincidence; while composers did steal and borrow, I’m not sure it would be entirely possible to steal the writing style of another writer. Today though, due to endless recordings and sources online where we can fully hear the music of a dead composer, one may see it as easy to be able to copy the composing style of someone else. But is it still yours, or an attempt to be someone else? I pose this question to myself constantly.

The notion of ‘pastiche’ is a term familiar to me. I feel that if you are writing period music unironically, and not for some petty school assignment, and you are serious in this dedication of early music, then there is no shame in that. And, another question, how do these works listed above and below differ from neo-Baroque? By definition, Neo-Baroque would include modern technique and stylistic handlings ( a different harmonic language, for example, like in the music of Ravel or Bartok). But if it’s written past the 1700’s, and sound purely like it would be from that era yet it is the modern day, then would that not be modern Baroque? For the record, I’m not a particular fan of taking older forms and styles and mixing it with modern technique.

On to more modern composers! The talented organist and keyboardist Leonard Schick offers, on his channel, improvisations at the organ and keyboard. I could never improvise on camera; I’d be too nervous and self-conscious of….everything. Gianluca Bersanetti offers a fine concerto for harpsichord, and the composer and clarinetist Thomas Bassett has written lovely Baroque music, including a fugue based on one of my subjects.

Domiano Danti also shares his excellent skills in writing counterpoint. French composer and organist Simon Lecaulle has dozens of examples of lovely vocal writing, all (or most?) of it sacred music. He has advised me a few times with tips for writing as well. Babak Mahmudian gives many listeners the pleasure of hearing his music for keyboard, this overture by composer Simen Nilsen is enjoyable too. Pablo de Llano has written a fine fugue in Vivaldi-fashion, and Adrien Piece gives a lovely fughetta at the organ.

Elam Rotem, the spokesperson of Early Music Sources is a great composer in his own right, with this vocal work rivaling Renaissance beauty. Harpsichordist Andreas Zappe offers, on his channel, not only recordings of the great Baroque composers but his own suites too. Paul West is a lutenist, known for playing the music of Weiss but presents his own music too.

Perhaps one of my favorite channels for fugal writing comes from Roman Cano, who has demonstrated his mettle for Baroque matters for quite some time. A skilled violinist and composer, Erik Schroeder has certainly made a fine name for himself. We met online via Noteflight, the website where I do all of my writing.

Another fellow composer whose music I have played is Canadian musician Frank Frontera. Primarily a guitarist, he has developed an instrument known as they keygrid, whose sound is generated via buttons and electricity. While he experiments in Baroque writing, much of his activity is dedicated to Renaissance music; he has a motet written which may be performed and recorded at some date in the future.

Last but not least, I would like to recommend the music of English composer Tamsin Jones, who has had her music performed here in America as well as throughout the United Kingdom. While she experiments in multiple genres, her writing of early music is stunning and well-crafted. Around a year ago I performed her Invention in C Major for keyboard.

So, I feel I have barely touched the tip of the iceberg in this phenomenon of new Baroque writing. The first rule of composition these days is that one should never presume to tell a composer what they can or cannot write. I feel that if you’ve found your voice and style, then nothing should stand in the way of being able to create music to your full potential.

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