What’s your favorite?

“What’s your favorite piece of baroque music?” I’m asked that question frequently, but it never gets any easier to answer. I like so much music of many different genres — and not just baroque music! Music speaks to me in many ways depending on my mood, the activity, the setting, and other intangible factors. So my “favorite” is a moving target, even when limiting the choice to baroque music. However, when I’m asked that question, one piece does come to mind every time: Johann Sebastian Bach’s Double Violin Concerto. Specifically, the middle movement. It expresses such tender longing, it’s an intense and expressive conversation between the two solo lines, and it is (to me) musically perfect. And there’s no one favorite performance — I enjoy hearing this music played by a variety of violinists and ensembles. That’s the tip-off to me that it’s the *piece* that speaks most strongly, not just a particularly beautiful performance of it.
What about you? What’s YOUR favorite piece of baroque music and why? What is it that “speaks” to you about it? Do you have a favorite performance, or does it move you no matter who is performing? There’s no right or wrong answer, and I hope you’ll share your thoughts and feelings about what music you love and why.

6 comments on “What’s your favorite?

    • Suzanne Bona on

      Lovely! Do you have a favorite performance? There are many “alternative” performances featuring other instruments instead of violin as the solo. Any preference?

  1. Lauren P on

    So many great works come to mind when asked this question such as “Dido’s Lament” by Purcell or Handel’s Messiah but for me, I would have to go with J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations. There’s something about that first chord of the theme that speaks to me–it draws me in with its somewhat mischievous nature. It’s as though it wants me to see just how the variations change from the original theme and it prepares to take you on that journey of modification. There’s also the fact that it reminds me of my childhood and my dad–as it was a work that was commonly played over the stereo in my house. And hands down, my favorite version HAS to be Wanda Landowska’s on harpsichord—But Glenn Gould’s is pretty cool too

    • Suzanne Bona on

      How wonderful to have extra-musical associations to enhance your appreciation of this monumental work!

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