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Baroque Era

Navigator William Baffin (Eng) discovers Baffin Island and Baffin’s Bay, Canada • White settlers in Latin America begin learning about the use of rubber from American Indians • Miguel de Cervantes (Sp) publishes Part II of Don Quixote  •  
Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder - The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man 
Roman Catholic Church forbids Galileo Galilei (It) defend theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun, but permits him to discuss it as a mathematical supposition •  Explorer Sir Walter Raleigh (Eng) is released from prison to go in search of El Dorado
Treaty of Stolbovo ends war between Sweden and Russia • War breaks out between Sweden and Poland • Ferdinand II is elected King of Bohemia • Shogun Hidetada (Jap) makes determined effort to stamp out Christianity; begins executing missionaries and Japanese converts

Thirty Years' War begins with 'Defenestration of Prague’ • Philosopher and lawyer Francis Bacon Is appointed Lord Chancellor of England • Sir Walter Raleigh (Eng) is beheaded following his failure to find El Dorado • Astronomer Johann Kepler (Ger) outlines third law of planetary motion

America's first elected assembly meets in Virginia • Ferdinand II becomes Holy Roman Emperor; briefly deposed as King of Bohemia and replaced by Frederick V • First black slaves arrive in Virginia • Kepler (Ger) publishes Harmonices Mundi, further supporting the theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun

Sir Francis Bacon, c. 1618
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, (1561 –1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, and author.  After his death, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific method during the scientific revolution.



Frescobaldi completes two sets of keyboard works: his first book of Toccate, and Recercari et canzoni. Both collections are published in Rome. 

Girolamo Frescobaldi I Book of Toccatas

Frescobaldi: Canzoni, Capricci e Ricercari
01. Canzona à 4 nº 1 (0:00)
02. Canzona à 4 nº 2 (2:29)
03. Canzona à 2 nº 1 (5:27)
04. Canzona à 2 nº 2 (7:54)
05. Canzona à 4 nº 4 (10:28)
06. Canzona à 2 nº 3 (13:41)
07. Canzona à 4 nº 8 (16:05)
08. Canzona (19:03)
09. Capriccio nº 1 (21:46)
10. Capriccio nº 2 (26:58)
11. Capriccio nº 3 (31:18)
12. Canzona à 4 No. 3 (37:27)
13. Canzona à 4 No. 6 (39:54)
14. Capriccio nº 4 (43:05)
15. Ricercare (46:15)
16. Fuga y Misterio (49:58)
17. Canzona à 4 No. 7 (54:59)
18. Canzona à 4 No. 5 (57:08)
19. Ricercare (1:01:06)

Girolamo Frescobaldi Il Primo Libro di Ricercari 1615

Michael Praetorius publishes the first book of his three-volume Syntagma musicum in Wittenberg. It becomes a major document of musical life in the early 17th century, detailing musical history, notation, instruments and compositional practice. 

Johann Schein publishes his first collection of motets, Cymbalum Sionium, based on Latin and German biblical texts. This year he becomes Kapellmeister at the court of Duke Johann in Weimar. 

19 July
King James I rewards Orlando Gibbons with £150 worth of grants for ‘good and faithful 

A collection of works by the late Giovanni Gabrieli and Hans Hassler (both d. 1612) is published in Venice under the title Reliquae sacrorum concentum. Gabrieli’s second book of Symphoniae sacrae and his Canzoni e sonate are also published at this time. 

Giovanni Gabrieli - Sinfoniae Sacrae
1 - Sinfonia N° 57 - 0:00
2 - Sinfonia N° 29 - 2:42
3 - Sinfonia N° 44 - 5:32
4 - Sinfonia N° 31 - 9:02
5 - Sinfonia N° 35 - 11:52
6 - Sinfonia N° 32 - 18:23
7 - Sinfonia N° 58 - 21:21
8 - Sinfonia N° 46 - 24:15
9 - Sinfonia N° 48 - 28:22
10 - Sinfonia N° 47 - 32:13 
11 - Sinfonia N° 59 - 34:35 
12 - Sinfonia N° 62 - 37:24

Composer Christopher Gibbons, eldest surviving son of Orlando Gobbons, is born in London. 

Heinrich Schutz begins his employment at the Electoral chapel in Saxony. He serves unofficially in the capacity of Kapellmeister

29 September
Heinrich Bach, German organist, composer and a member of the Bach family, born.

Cristóbal Galán, Spanish Baroque composer, born.

Christopher Gibbons

Christopher Gibbons (1615–1676) was an English composer and organist. He was the second son, and first surviving child of the composer Orlando Gibbons.


As a child, Gibbons sang in the Chapel Royal under the direction of Nathaniel Giles. Gibbons most likely studied initially with his father as Orlando Gibbons was the leading church musician with the courts of James I and Prince (later King) Charles. After his father's early death in 1625, Gibbons moved to Exeter to live, for a short period, with his uncle, and father's eldest brother, Edward Gibbons who was also a well-regarded church musician in London and Master of the Choristers at Exeter Cathedral.

In 1638, Gibbons, himself already a noted organist and Gentleman Chorister of the Chapel Royal and Westminster Abbey, succeeded organist Thomas Holmes and began playing in the Winchester Cathedral. However, the English Civil War - which began in earnest in 1641 - lead to a suppression of Church music, and put an end to Gibbons' position. He fought for the Royalist cause but, after the execution of Charles I and the collapse of Royalist resistance following the Battle of Worcester (1651), Gibbons moved to London where he lived from late in 1651 to his death in 1676. Worthy of mention is his work with respected contemporary Matthew Locke on the masque or quasi-opera Cupid and Death in 1653 - it is one of the few works from this period that still exists in full score. From 1653 until the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Gibbons made his living primarily as a music teacher and, more occasionally, as a composer of incidental music for the restricted theatres of Commonwealth London.

With the return of Charles II to the English throne, Gibbons, in part because of his loyalty to the crown, was immediately welcomed into the artistic fold of the new court and, with church music again flourishing, was swiftly reinstated as a Gentleman and Organist of the Chapel Royal. He subsequently became one of Charles' most important post-Interregnum composers, teachers and musical advisors. Christopher Gibbons was one of the few Royalist musicians not to flee England for the safety of the continent (such as did Nicholas Lanier) during the Interregnum - and this may explain Gibbons' rapid rise in the king's favour - for it had been no easy thing to remain a known Royalist in Cromwell-controlled London and had cost some their lives.

Gibbons was well-known and influential in the later part of his life (1660-1676) - he is recorded several times in the diaries of Samuel Pepys - and importantly (given his direct link to the musical tradition of the Elizabethan period) he was responsible for the nurturing of several great Restoration composers including Blow, Humfrey and, most significantly, Henry Purcell. He became the first recorded organist of St Martin-in-the-Fields in 1674, where it is likely he composed his Voluntary for Double Organ, using the two distinct manuals of the instrument at St Martin's at that time.

Heinrich Bach

Heinrich Bach (26 September [O.S. 16 September] 1615 – 20 July [O.S. 10 July] 1692) was a German organist, composer and a member of the Bach family.


Heinrich Bach was born at Wechmar, and is the father of the so-called Arnstadt Line. After the early death of his father, his older brother Johannes Bach continued his music education and taught him organ playing. They moved to Suhl and Schweinfurt. From 1635 to 1641, he was Ratsmusikant in the Erfurt Ratsmusikanten-Compagnie led by Johannes. From 1641, he became organist in Arnstadt's St. Mary's Church and the Upper Church, a post he kept until his death. In 1642, he married Eva Hoffmann, the younger daughter of Suhl Stadtpfeiffer Hoffmann. Bach died in Arnstadt.

Three of his sons, Johann Christoph Bach, Johann Michael Bach and Johann Günther Bach, were musicians.

Christopher Gibbons
Heinrich Bach

Cristóbal Galán

Cristóbal Galán (c. 1615 – 24 September 1684) was a Spanish Baroque composer.

The first record of Galán is that in 1651 he was rejected as maestro de capilla in Sigüenza because he was married. From 1653 he was a singer and organist, then later maestro de capilla in Cagliari, Sardinia.; then from 1656 to 1659 in Morella, Castellon. From 1660 to 1663 he worked in Madrid, in an unknown position. From 1664 to 1667 he was maestro de capilla at Segovia Cathedral, then moving to the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales, Madrid, where in 1680, five years after the death of Carlos Patiño, he became director of the capilla real. He died in Madrid.

Cristóbal Galán - Ave Sanctissima Maria

​Cristóbal Galán


Bartholomaeus Praetorius publishes his dance collection Newe liebliche Paduanen und Galliarden in Berlin. 

Bartholomeus Praetorius - Paduane & Galliarde

1 March
Maurizio Cazzati, Italian composer, born.

19 May
Keyboard maestro Johann Jakob Froberger is born in Stuttgart. 

Johann Staden issues his first important work, Harmoniae sacrae, which includes some of the earliest German sacred concertos. 

Johann Staden: Cantate domino

Italian composer-poet Giovanni Valentini publishes his Secondo libro di madrigali, scored for voices and instruments. 

Giovanni Valentini: In bel giardino all'aura amena e grata (Secondo libro de madrigali, 1616)

Monteverdi entertains the Ducal Palace in Mantua with his enchanting dialogue ballet Tirsi e Clori. The short pastoral work is set in two parts: the first a madrigal for two singers with string accompaniment, the second a ballo in five parts for voices and instruments. 

Monteverdi: Tirsi e Clori (Balletto)

24 August

Maestro di cappella at St Mark’s, Venice, Monteverdi

receives a salary increase to 400 ducats, making him one of the highest paid composers in Europe. Accounts for this year show that he presides over one assistant maestro, two maestri de concerti, a 24-strong choir, two organists and 16 instrumentalists. 

St Mark’s, Venice

Johann Schein becomes Kantor of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. 

22 October
Tarquinio Merula, aged about 21, is engaged with a three-year contract as organist of Santa Maria Incoronata, Lodi. 

Johann Jakob Froberger

Johann Jakob Froberger, (baptized May 19, 1616, Stuttgart, Württemberg [Germany]—died May 7, 1667, Héricourt, Fr.), German composer, organist, and harpsichordist whose keyboard compositions are generally acknowledged to be among the richest and most attractive of the early Baroque era.

Froberger became a court organist in Vienna in 1637, but the same year he went to Rome to study under Girolamo Frescobaldi. After further employment at the Viennese court (1641–45 and 1653–57), he toured widely.

Froberger was the earliest important German composer for the harpsichord. His style represents an integration of French, Italian, and other styles with the more austere style of German keyboard music. He was the first German master of the keyboard suite. His suites in manuscript consisted of three movements, often with an interpolated gigue; but in the posthumous publication of 1693 they were arranged in the order that became standard for the suite: allemande, courante, sarabande, and gigue. Although the suites are clearly for harpsichord or clavichord, in other works, such as the partitas, it is difficult to say whether the music was intended for harpsichord or organ. His canzoni for harpsichord and organ are composed in several sections bound together by a single theme. His powerful and imaginative toccatas and fantasias, composed for the organ, show the influence of Frescobaldi and were highly regarded by J.S. Bach

Johann Jakob Froberger Cembalo Works

Johann Jakob Froberger 6 Toccatas for Cembalo

Capriccio - Johann Jakob Froberger. Organ & harpsichord

Maurizio Cazzati

Maurizio Cazzati (1 March 1616 – 28 September 1678) was a northern Italian composer of the seventeenth century.
Cazzati was born in Luzzara in the Duchy of Mantua. In spite of being almost unknown today, during his lifetime he served as a successful music director in many cities near his birthplace, including Mantua, Bozzolo, Ferrara and Bergamo, where he was succeeded by Pietro Andrea Ziani. He was so well-thought-of that in 1657 he was invited to take the position of maestro di cappella of San Petronio Basilica in Bologna, without needing to apply for it. Immediately after his appointment, he made some radical reforms that won him a general hostility from the musical community, and led to personal conflicts with other members of the cappella. 
In particular, he was bitterly criticized by Lorenzo Perti (the uncle of Giacomo Antonio Perti) and Giulio Cesare Arresti, who questioned his capability as maestro.

Likely, as Cazzati later declared, they were just jealous of his position. In 1671, he left this position, and returned to Mantua, where he served the Duchess Isabella as Maestro di Cappella da Camera until his death. While being only a small portion of his enormous printed output (66 printed volumes), his instrumental music is nowadays considered the most important and influential part. His op. 35 (1665) contains the first known example of a trumpet sonata.

Cazzati - Capriccio Sopra Sette Note

Johann Jakob Froberger
Maurizio Cazzati


Thomas Campion brings out his Third and Fourth Booke of Ayres, in London 

Campion - Faine Would I Wed (Book 4)

Heinrich Schutz, aged 31, is appointed musical director of the Electoral Court in Dresden. 

22 February
Nicholas Lanier, supplying music for Ben Jonson’s masque Lovers Made Men, makes his mark as the first English author of Italian- style recitative. 

Nicholas Lanier - No more shall meads be deck'd with flow'rs - for soprano, lute and viola da gamba

18 December
Francesco Bruni (later Francesco Cavalli), aged 14, joins the choir at St Mark’s, Venice. 

Violinist at St Marks, Venice, Biagio Marini issues his Affetti musicali (Op. 1), scored for one to two soloists and continuo. The diverse collection of ‘musical affections’—comprising sinfonias, sonatas, eanzonas and dances— represents a significant development for both violin music and the Baroque trio sonata. 

Biagio Marini," La Ponte" sonata a 2: violin or cornet and bass, from "Affetti musicali",

Johann Hermann Schein composes his instrumental variation suite Il Banchetto musicale (The Musical Banquet), containing pavanes, galliards, courantes and allemandes. The set is one of the earliest examples of the variation suite (together with Peuerl’s of 1611), although it is written without continuo, essentially in a 16th-century manner. 

J.H.Schein - "Banchetto Musicale" - 1617 - 3 Suites

29 December
John Bull is promoted to organist of Antwerp Cathedral. He gains the post having persuaded the town mayor that his exile from England was due to Catholic persecution, not for any alleged adultery.

Antwerp Cathedral, painted c. 1820 by Domenico Quaglio the Younger. 



Francesca Caccini, daughter of Giulio Caccini, completes Il Primo Libro delle musiche, a collection of 36 monodic songs (32 for solo voice, four for soprano and bass), both secular and sacred, written in various forms including madrigal, sonnet, aria, motet and hymn. 

FRANCISCA CACCINI, 'Ciaccona' (Il primo libro delle Musiche')

22-year-old French philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes completes his Compendium musicae, a treatise on the nature of music, the perception of music, and the effect of music upon the listener. It is not published until 1650. 

Rene Descartes

René Descartes (31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. Dubbed the father of modern western philosophy, much of subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day.

Charles Racquet, aged 21, is appointed organist at Notre Dame, Paris. 

Johann Hermann Schein publishes his Opella nova (Part I) containing some of the earliest examples of the German sacred concerto with continuo. Influenced by Viadanas Cento concerti ecclesiastici of 1602, the settings are mainly based on Lutheran chorales. 

Johann Hermann Schein "Vom Himmel hoch"
1. Schein Choralversion
2. Schein aus "Cunis solennibus" 
3. Schein aus "Opella nova. Erster Theil Geistlicher Concerten" Leipzig 1618
4. Hoellwerth "Nachklang"


Giulio Caccini, one of the pioneering composers of opera and the monodic style, dies in Florence, aged 67. In later life he had turned to gardening for extra income.

Michael Praetorius discusses the instruments of the day in the second book of his Syntagma musicum, entitled De organographia and published in German, in Wolfenbiittel.

A pictorial supplement to this volume is issued two years later. 

Syntagma Musicum, published in three parts between 1614-1620. It is one of the most commonly used research sources for the music theory of the seventeenth century. The second work De Organographia illustrates and describes musical instruments and their use; becoming a valuable resource for the research and reconstruction of early instruments.

The three volumes (a fourth was in progress but never published) were:

I: Musicae Artis Analecta

II: De Organographia

III: Termini musici



Giovanni Anerio publishes Teatro armonico spirituale. Mainly a collection of sacred madrigals, it includes the first Roman examples of obbligato instrumental writing and some short precursors to the mid-century oratorio. 

Giovanni Francesco Anerio: Ego quasi vitis

Rome-based composer Stefano Landi, currently at Padua, writes his opera La morte d’Orfeo

Stefano Landi - La Morte di Orfeo

Monteverdi abjures tradition in his Seventh Book of Madrigals, scored for voices and instruments and published under the title Concerto. He dedicates the assorted and innovative collection to Catherine de’ Medici, hoping for a pension in return. He is rewarded only with a necklace. 

Monteverdi: Seventh Book of Madrigals

Michael Praetorius completes his Polyhymnia caduceatrix. Reminiscent of Monteverdi’s Vespers (1610), the work melds the Venetian style with the Lutheran chorale, producing a grand set of polychoral sacred concertos with brilliant instrumental passages. This year the composer issues his third book of Syntagma musicum. 

Michael Praetorius - Sinfonia à 4 extract from Polyhymnia Caduceatrix & Panegyrica

Praetorius. Syntagma Musicum. Bourrée

Johann Rosenmüller, German composer, born.

Heinrich Schutz introduces Italian-style monody to German music with his first collection of Psalmen Davids (Psalms of David), scored for multiple choirs, soloists and concertato instruments. This year the 33-year-old composer marries the 18-year-old Magdalene Wildeck. 

Heinrich Schütz - Davids Psalmen

Composer and singer Barbara Strozzi is born in Venice. 

Jan Sweelinck publishes a collection of 37 motets for the Catholic liturgy in his Cantiones sacrae

Sweelinck - Cantiones sacrae

Containing 297 (predominantly English) keyboard works, the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book is completed in London, two years after the death of its principal compiler, Francis Tregian. Francis Tregian the Younger (1574–1618) was an English recusant.

The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book is a primary source of keyboard music from the late Elizabethan and early Jacobean periods in England, i.e., the late Renaissance and very early Baroque. It takes its name from Viscount Fitzwilliam who bequeathed this manuscript collection to Cambridge University in 1816. It is now deposited in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge. Although the word virginals or virginal (the plural form does not necessarily denote more than one instrument) is used today to refer to a specific instrument similar to a small, portable harpsichord, at the time of the book the word was used to denote virtually any keyboard instrument including the organ.

Fitzwilliam Virginal Book
00:00:00 Farmers Pavan CCLXXXVII 
00:05:41 Galliarda CCLXIX 
00:07:18 Fantasia CCXXXVI 
00:11:18 Mal sims CCLXXXI 
00:12:52 Pavana XXXIX 
00:17:19 Meridian Alman CCXCI 
00:19:00 A Maske CXCVIII 
00:21:31 Quodlings Delight CXIV 
00:24:08 Fantasia CCXXXII 
00:30:27 A Maske CCIX 
00:32:07 Wooddy-Cock CXLI 
00:38:23 Fantasia CCXXXVII 
00:42:23 Giles Farnabys Dreame CXCIV 
00:43:44 His Rest Galiard CXCV 
00:44:35 Farnabyes Conceit CCLXXIII 
00:45:28 His Humour CXCVI 
00:46:58 Fantasia CCXXXI 
00:50:10 Rosasolis CXLIII 
00:52:40 Lachrimae Pavan CCXC 
00:59:46 A Toye CCLXX 
01:00:56 A Maske CXCIX 
01:02:27 Tell mee Daphne CCLXXX 
01:03:52 Loth to Depart CCXXX 
01:07:16 For Two Virginals LV
01:08:25 Pavana of my L.[ord] Lumley XLI 
01:12:39 Galliarda to my L.[ord] Lumley’s Pavan XI 
01:15:00 Praeludium in A Minor, FWB CCX 
01:15:43 Fantasia CVIII 
01:20:12 Pavana CXXXVI 
01:24:34 Galliarda CXXXVII 
01:26:32 Pavana XXXIV 
01:33:13 Galiard to the Pavan XXXV
01:35:04 Prelude CXCII 
01:35:56 Ut re mi fa sol la LI 
01:41:39 St Thomas Wake XXXVI 
01:45:07 The Duke of Brunswicks Alman CXLII 
01:46:39 Pipers Galiard CLXXXII 
01:48:55 Variatio Ejusdem CLXXXIII 
01:51:54 The Quadran Pavan XXXI 
01:58:54 Variation of the Quadran Pavan XXXII 
02:07:05 Galiard to the Quadran Pavan XXXIII

Barbara Strozzi

(b. Venice, 1619; d. Padua, November 11, 1677)

She was the adopted (probably natural) daughter of the prominent librettist and poet, Giulio Strozzi (1583-1652), and her talents were nurtured within the highest circles of Venetian musical and literary society. A student of Francesco Cavalli, she became famous for her virtuosic performances at meetings of the Accademia degli Incogniti, the primary force behind the blending of music and drama that eventually became Baroque opera seria.

In 1644 she published a collection of madrigals, with texts by her father; after this, the majority of her published works were for solo voice and continuo, ranging in form from short, strophic ariettas to fully developed cantatas containing contrasting sections of recitative, arioso, and aria. Strozzi’s command of vocal writing is evident in her ability to respond to her texts with a combination of lyricism, dramatic techniques such as unmeasured sections and stile concitato, and the sheer virtuosic vocalism of long melismas and intricate notated ornamentation—all of which attests to her own extraordinary talent as a singer. Strozzi was remarkable not only as a fully professional female composer, but also as a composer whose works were published and known within her lifetime, a rare accomplishment in the 17th century.

The Viola da Gamba Player, c. 1630–1640, by Bernardo Strozzi, believed to be of Barbara Strozzi.

 L'amante segreto - Barbara Strozzi

Barbara Strozzi - Sino Alla Morte

Johann Rosenmüller

Johann Rosenmüller (1619 – 10 September 1684) was a German Baroque composer, who played a part in transmitting Italian musical styles to the north.
Rosenmüller was born in Oelsnitz, near Plauen. He studied at the University of Leipzig, graduating in 1640. He served as organist of the Nikolaikirche Leipzig from 1651, and had been assured of advancement to cantor. He became director of music in absentia to the Altenburg court in 1654. However, in 1655 he was imprisoned in a scandal involving alleged homosexual activities.

Escaping from prison, he fled to Italy, and by 1658 was employed at Saint Mark's in Venice. He composed many vocal works while teaching at an orphanage for girls, (Ospedale della Pietà) between 1678 and 1682. The works of Giovanni Legrenzi and Arcangelo Corelli were among his Italian influences and his sacred compositions show the influence of Heinrich Schütz.

In his last years, Rosenmüller returned to Germany with Duke Anton-Ulrich of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, at whose court he served as choir master. He died in Wolfenbüttel on 10 September 1684, and is buried there.

Johann Rosenmüller: "Sinfonie"

Johann Rosenmüller: Gloria in excelsis 

Barbara Strozzi
Johann Rosenmüller

Peter Paul Rubens (figures) and Jan Brueghel the Elder (flora and fauna) - The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man

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