Learning the art of musical composition often involves an element of surveying and amalgamating the styles of others. As composers who have devoted ourselves to working in a specific historically-based idiom, we seek to go beyond this in making the Baroque musical language and aesthetic our own; not only by following historical models, but also by developing them further with the greatest artistic sensitivity and discretion.
There is a diverse continuum of new Baroque music and we recognise its validity and vibrancy. However, we seek a very special and subtle balance between faithfulness to tradition and openness to tasteful innovation which expands that tradition--as composers of the Baroque (or any historical source period, for that matter) were themselves renowned for.
Membership in Vox Sęculorum is granted by a Panel of four founding members. Criteria are as follows:
1. The individual, in his/her capacity as a composer of "classical" music, writes principally (but not necessarily exculsively) using the Baroque idiom, as opposed to experimenting occasionally with it or merely using it as a basis for study exercises.
2. While it is expected that members demonstrate facility with established Baroque forms, part of our purpose is to give currency to the Baroque musical vocabulary. We are particularly open to the use of modern, nonconventional, or even non-classical forms to accomplish this. Competency in Baroque counterpoint and harmony must be demonstrated and deviations from this must be consistent and of such a nature that the fundamentally Baroque identity of the music is not lost.
3. The composer is to submit two representative samples of his/her work in *.mp3 format. Of these, one should be a fugue, and the other a multi-movement instrumental or vocal work. These will, unless the author declines, be posted for free download at the Vox Sęculorum site.
4. The composer is to submit a *.pdf score (or *.gif image thereof) of one of these works, also to be posted for public access. Members may also decline to make scores available for download, although posting is highly encouraged.
5. The first criterion is subject to the discretion of members of the Panel, especially in instances where the compositions submitted are of an exceptional quality.
6. Prospective members who show promise as composers of the Baroque Revival but otherwise do not meet the standards of the Panel may be accepted as conditional members (although their work will not be posted) if they demonstrate genuine interest in developing their skills as composers. Guidance will be offered free of charge by members of the Panel at their convenience or by other full members who may be interested in participating. As a starting point, this article by Michael Starke will be helpful.
As musicians who make the celebration and further development of the Baroque idiom our priority, we appreciate the fact that there are many other aficionados of this and of other historical styles who are pursuing their own distinct but not unrelated or uncongenial commitments.
We are delighted to share the experience and educational resources we have come across in our endeavours, and enthusiatically lend encouragement to all composers interested in exploring historical musical idioms, either as the focus of their undertakings or as part of a broad exploration of the art of composition.