History matters, and with historical revisionism running rampant, thank G-d we have Fjordman to keep the record straight. It is essential we know who we are, where we came from and what we've accomplished. It puts steel in your spine. Stand tall, the West is the best :) Please.
Fjordman is running part 2 of his History of European Music (in five parts) exclusively at Atlas. Part I can be found here: Brussels Journal.
The History of European Music Part II by Fjordman
The era from roughly 1600 to about 1750 has in retrospect been called the Baroque period in European history. The creativity among musicians during this age paralleled new ideas in science, politics and economics embodied in the Scientific Revolution. In art and architecture as well as in music, the Baroque began in Italy. Many great works of art had been made in Renaissance Italy, among them the Pietà sculpture in St. Peter’s Basilica and the decoration of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo and those created in the Vatican by Raphael.
The theatricality of the Baroque period’s art can be seen in the works of the Italian sculptor and architect Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), who served no less than eight popes in his lifetime. Bernini’s life-size marble sculpture of the Biblical David (1623) depicts movement in an entirely new way and hence looks more dramatic than Michelangelo’s masterly nude depiction David (1501-4). Bernini’s Ecstasy of St. Teresa (1645-52) in Rome is another of his greatest marble sculptures. His most famous architectural works include the design for the spectacular square in front of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Bernini was a deeply believing Roman Catholic who felt that the purpose of Christian art was to inspire the faithful.
The Aztecs, Incas and other American peoples had rich musical traditions of their own, with songs in a variety of styles and a wide array of instruments. Much of their music was associated with dancing and religious rituals. Catholic missionaries used this native interest in music to spread Christianity, and brought over the polyphonic music used in European churches. Spanish musicians moved to the Americas to serve as cathedral musicians there.
By 1600, the flood of silver and gold from its colonies in the New World had made Spain the richest country in Europe, and arguably the most powerful nation on Earth. Its empire included the Netherlands and half of Italy, Portugal (annexed in 1580) and Portuguese possessions such as Brazil, the Philippine Islands and most of the Americas. Yet her wealth was squandered on luxury goods and failed imperial policies and did not lead to the development of major industries. Spain held on to her Latin American possessions until the early nineteenth century, with the independence movement of Simón Bolívar (1783-1830), but she had lost her dominant position within Europe itself by the mid-seventeenth century.