‘BAROQUE’ – an ornate and often flamboyant style of music, and other arts, that flourished in Europe from the early 17th until the mid-18th century. The original Portuguese word ‘barroco’ related to jewelry – describing flawed pearls. The word was subsequently adopted in France as ‘baroque’ in the early 18thc. to describe music – and was not initially considered a flattering term. In a review of the première of Rameau’s opera ‘Hippolyte et Aricie’ in 1733, a critic writing in Mercure de France, complained that the opera was “…du barocque”, in that it “…lacked coherent melody, was unsparing with dissonances, constantly changed key and meter, and speedily ran through every compositional device”. The term ‘Baroque Music’, did not become common in Europe until 1920’s, and the first use of the term in English was in an article published in 1940 by the German-American ethno-musicologist, & professor at UC Berkeley, Manfred Bukofzer.

Baroque: “something baroque is overly ornate, like a red velvet jacket with tassels, or music that has a lot going on and might include a harpsichord”.

Baroque: “anything amazingly cool, so cool that indeed no other word will do – it overwhelms the senses in its awesomeness”.

Recently, the word baroque has been adopted by the fashion industry. The contemporary clothing company BAROQUE “…offers an exclusive range of pure and high quality lawn, chiffon, embroidered collection and trendy bottoms which leaves the wearer in awe of the design”. Dolce & Gabbana, & Versace (among others) have produced collections of neo-baroque fashions.

-Richard Webb