The Organ in Europe in Renaissance and Baroque
The main aim in choosing such a varied programme is to offer listeners an excursus through the evolution of both the language and forms used in keyboard music in both the Renaissance and Baroque periods. This highlights the many links between the various composers and their schools of composition, in a period of time, which spans almost two centuries, and an area, which covers much of Europe. Keyboard music developed in the Renaissance along several different lines: in keeping with church music, it took its material from Gregorian plainsong and polyphony. Both sacred and secular music could be tabulated i. e. re-configured for keyboard, so that where original motets or chansons had been used they could now be embellished using diminution, ornaments, elaborated passages, and other devices to make the most of the keyboard's own individual technique. In the same way dances as well as songs all came to be adapted for the keyboard whether their original sources were learned or secular. As well as these adaptations of instrumental and vocal music there were also forms written for the keyboard, such as the ricercare, fantasia, canzona, preludio, intonazione and toccata, all of which were characterised by their use of counterpoint, improvisation and sometimes a combination of the two together.