A prayer for peace for those suffering from the astonishing acts of violence in Norway. I thought of the Et in terra pax from Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria.
I believe the insistent string accompaniment creates an atmosphere of anxiety that is emotionally relevant today. The suspensions and dissonances in the choral parts give the movement a pleading character.
It is useful to remember that the term “Baroque” comes from the Portugese “barroco” meaning “misshapen pearl”. Originally used as a derogatory term to describe music considered aesthetically excessive, it seems a useful term to describe the dramatic, even bizarre music Vivaldi composed to the text “…and peace to his people on earth”.