Music That Changed Me - 2

Should I go in chronological order, or backwards from what is most important to me now? I’ll focus today on someone and something that has been important to me since the mid-80’s, and continues in that role. I speak of Baroque music generally, and Trevor Pinnock in particular.

Anyone looking for some sort of music-theory analysis of Baroque music will have to go elsewhere. As I explained in the last post, Baroque music has been special to me, out of all the “classical” musics, becuase it seemed that it was the highest development of pre-Enlightenment music, informed by the Christian tradition. I’ve since discovered Renaissance and even Reformation music on CD, but Baroque stays at the top of my charts.

One of the earliest ensembles to capitalize on the Compact Disc format was Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert, published by the Archiv record sub-label of Deutsche Grammophon. I remember seeing an early copy of their Vivaldi’s Four Seasons which still had some of the numerals printed in that silly “LED” computer font which several early CD’s were sold with. (It didn’t take long for publishers to realize that was a mistake and didn’t sell extra CD’s.) I early obtained copies of their Royal Fireworks Music and Water Music by Handel, along with the Four Seasons and others.

Trevor Pinnock was and is a proponent of “period” performances: playing music with instruments and styles of the same time periods in which the music was written. I’m sure a lot of his interpretations sounded bold when they were first performed, but to me, they just sound like Baroque music ought to sound. Every Trevor Pinnock CD is performed with the utmost accuracy but with great emotion and style. Every CD that I’ve owned is also recorded with the very highest sound quality. I have no hesitation in saying that for any piece you want to own, if there is a Trevor Pinnock version to buy, you will be delighted with it. Currently I own 14 of them, and I want more.

Pinnock has moved on, and the English Concert is now directed by Andrew Manze. I haven’t heard any recordings with the new combination, but I can vouch for the old one. This is music that will last you a lifetime.

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3 Responses to “Music That Changed Me - 2”

  1. GravyGal Says:

    Hey Pops, these two posts have been a great inspiration to me. Like Pizzaman said, I am very glad to have grown up in your house where there was always some type of music in my ears. I have a great appreciation for the classical music I was brought up on, and I’m happy to report that if you come to my house you will most certainly hear Bach mixed in with the 60s Rock.

    Ps. Pinnock is the best. (you could buy me some ;)

  2. rachel tsunami Says:

    Ditto gravygal. And Mark, if you would recommend 1 Pinnock cd (to *start* with, of course), which one would it be?

    I’ll go with Pinnock on a great recommendation like that.

  3. Mark Ritchie Says:


    It is a hard choice because I like them all so much. I’ll cheat and say my favorites are probably the three discs of Bach’s keyboard concertos, which go together although they were sold as separate CD’s. Besides that it might be Handel’s Water Music or Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.


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