Baroque Cantatas are Pretty Metal

So I touched on this in my last post and I feel it deserves to be expanded upon: some baroque cantatas are pretty metal.

When you look at it a certain way, it’s not necessarily all that surprising: “baroque cantata” covers a broad range of works and “metal”, similarly, is a large category and it can mean a lot of different things. However, I don’t think they are close enough in most people’s minds that if I were to ask someone “How would you describe BWV 199?” that the answer would be “Sweet riffs, man.”

In general of course, we’ve got a few commonalities; in general they both use simple formal structures, there exists a common element of individual instrumental solos within this framework, and they can both have a slight tendency towards the theatrical. The kind highly ornate melodic lines we often encounter in this music would easily fit into songs by bands such as Dragonforce or, if we restrict ourselves to¬†good bands, Iron Maiden.

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My Taste in Terrible Music #2: Portsmouth Sinfonia

The opening to Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra is possibly one of the most famous orchestral works ever composed – its iconic use in 2001: A Space Odyssey complements the tone poem’s philosophical origin, and its emotive power doubtless comes from its masterful harnessing of the overtone series – the simplest possible musical relation, presented in an awesomely moving orchestration:


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