The extraordinary world of baroque music – music appreciation with Roy Stratford

Ref: SWE31965

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About this course

This weekend will explore the rise of opera in Northern Italy, culminating in the richly expressive music of Monteverdi, as well as the diverse range of national styles from French, Italian, English and German composers.

Course Description

The period known as the Baroque encompasses music that is extremely familiar, for example Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Handel’s Messiah, as well as music which is less well known but also deeply rewarding, most particularly from the earlier part of that era. This weekend will explore the rise of opera in Northern Italy, culminating in the richly expressive music of Monteverdi, as well as the diverse range of national styles: French, Italian, English and German, and show how the two giants of this period, J. S. Bach and Handel represent a crowning synthesis of all that has gone before.

The recital is included in the programme for course participants. Non-resident students who would like to book dinner at the College on Saturday evening prior to the recital, should book this in advance with the Bookings Office. Additional tickets may be purchased for guests via


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • A ticket for the recital on Saturday evening.

What students need to bring

  • A notebook and pen if you wish

Additional information

Additional tickets for public/guests for the recital are available to purchase online, in advance or on the evening. Please book tickets via Tickets cost £15.

Recital by Roy Stratford

Saturday 21 September 2024, 8pm

Book your tickets for this recital by Roy Stratford, which will take place on Saturday 21 September 2024 at 8pm, in the Old Library at West Dean.

Roy will talk about and introduce Bach's Well Tempered Clavier, one of the great cornerstones of Western music, and he will be playing parts of it to illustrate.

This recital is an introduction to one of the foundations of western musical culture, a series of pieces of incredible technical and intellectual perfection which also touch the emotions in a deeply profound way.

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Roy Stratford

Roy Stratford was very lucky to have had a music teacher at school who had been a student of the great Austrian modernist composer Anton Webern and who inspired in him a great love of music and a particular interest in the Austro-Germanic tradition from Bach to Stockhausen. He went on to study music at Reading University and then the Royal College of Music ( conducting with Norman del Mar) and has since developed a very varied musical career as pianist, conductor, composer and lecturer.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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