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History of the Classical Period of Music

Introduction:

  • the term “classical period” is generally used to refer to the post-baroque & pre-romantic era of music composed between 1750 and 1830, which covers the development of the classical symphony and concerto
  • music of this period was generally of an orderly nature, with qualities of clarity & balance, and emphasising formal beauty rather than emotional expression
  • new instruments:
    • pianoforte:
      • earliest keyboard with loud & soft - Cristofori's gravicem-balo col piano e forte (c1698-1700)
      • Silbermann 1st made Cristofori-styled instruments in 1726 and improved them
      • upright piano 1st made in 1800 and perfected in 1829 and the iron frame introduced
  • neopolitan opera style (Italian style eg Handel)
    • featuring bel canto often sung by eunuchs until Napoleon banned castration of singers
    • opera seria (serious opera)
    • opera buffa (comic opera eg. Mozart “Don Giovanni”)
      • serious comedy opera (Mozart “The Marriage of Figaro” 1786)
  • music styles:
    • dance:
      • French rococo or style galant (courtly style using short trills usually on harpsichord)
      • English country dance popular in Elizabethan courts but displaced by waltz & quadrille
      • quadrille:
        • type of square dance in France becomes fashionable 1745
        • popular in court of Napoleon I in early 19thC
        • music selected from popular tunes, operatic arias & sometimes sacred works
      • minuet in France becomes fashionable 1751
      • waltz in Vienna becomes fashionable 1773
      • bolero in Spain 1780
    • symphony:
      • in 17th-18thC, a sinfonia was initially a short instrumental piece which we would now regard as an overture to an opera
      • in 18thC it became a large scale orchestral composition, usually in 4 movements, usually containing an opening allegro, followed by a slow movement, then a minuet or scherzo, and finally another allegro or rondo
      • early composers were Sammartini. Wagenseil, Gossec, J.C & C.P.E. Bach, Boyce & especially the composers of the Mannheim School, Stamitz, Cannabich, Richter and others
      • successively improved by Hadyn, Mozart and then Beethoven
      • then embellished by the Romantic era composers
    • sonata:
      • originated in 16thC, when it meant anything not sung but played
      • in baroque times, had developed into instrumental piece of 3-6 movements, like a suite, and had 2 forms:
        • sonata da camera (chamber sonata)
        • sonata da chiesa (church sonata)
      • keyboard solo sonatas developed in 18thC by Salvatore, Kuhnau, D. Scarlatti & C.P.E. Bach
      • further developed by the Viennese Classical composers (usually in 3 movements as allegro-andante-allegro), Hadyn, Mozart and then Beethoven introduced the minuet & scherzo as the 3rd movement, replacing the allegro
    • concerto:
      •  
    • string quartet:
      • 1st developed in early 18thC with A.Scarlatti, Tartini
      • flowered with compositions by Hadyn, Mozart and then Beethoven & Schubert
    • Viennese classical school: Haydn (1732–1809), Mozart (1756-91), and Beethoven (1770-1827)

Composers:

  • Haydn (1732–1809):
    • often regarded as the 'father' of the symphony (erroneously) and of the string quartet, but also wrote some treasurable vocal music
    • 1st to write string trios for violin, viola & cello (baroque trios were 2 violins and a cello)
    •  including oratorios, masses, operas as well as 450 arrangements of British folk songs
    • some of his works are part of the German music era “Sturm und Drang” (Storm and Stress) in 1760-80 which was characterised by peak of emotionalism, marked by new & audacious formal and harmonic features
      • symphonies nos 40-59 & string quartets
      • also C.P.E. Bach's compositions
  • Mozart (1756-91):
    • the natural superiority of the music he wrote changed the course of the symphony, piano concerto, string quartet, sonata and much more.
    • the brilliance and gaiety on the surface of his music contrasts with the underlying vein of melancholy, giving it an ambivalence which is fascinating & provocative (eg. Cosi fan tutte)
    • compositions include:
      • operas:
        • Don Giovanni (1787)
        • Cosi fan tutte (1789)
      • symphonies:
      •  misc:
        • Eine Klein Nachtmusik (1787)
      • concertos:
      • church music:
        • Requiem Mass (1791)
      • quartets, quintets:
      • solo piano:
        • minuets, rondos, gigue
      • songs
  • Beethoven (1770-1827):
    • a virtuoso pianist/composer who radically transformed every music form he worked on:
      • he emancipated & democratized music
      • his mastery of structure & of key relationships was the basis on the revolution in the handling of the sonata form
      • developed the symphony to its fullest as a repository for a composer's most important ideas
      • expanded the coda from a formal conclusion to a climactic splendour
      • transformed the minuet into the tempestuous, exultant scherzo
      • 1st to use 'motto themes' as a consistent formal device
      • in his slow movements, expressed a mystical exaltation which even Mozart had never approached
      • extended string quartets and piano sonatas to a vastly increased technical & expressive degree
    • discovered he was going deaf in 1798, which gradually worsened, and by 1819 he could no longer understand spoken voice
    • music composed includes:
      • symphonies:
        • No.2 Eroica (1805) -initially dedicated to Napoleon, but detracted when found Napoleon became Emperor
        • No.5 (1808)
        • No.6 Pastoral (1808)
        • No.9 Choral (1824)
      • concertos
      • orchestrals
      • piano sonatas
        • Moonlight sonata
      • other piano incl. bagatelles, Rondo a capriccio
      • chamber music
      • choral
  • Schubert (1797-1828):
    • wrote over 600 songs as well as operas, stage music, symphonies, church music, chamber music, and piano sonatas, all of which, even the happiest, had a tinge of sadness, especially his later works when he was increasingly ill.
    • Unfinished Symphony
    • torchbearer at Beethoven's funeral
    •  

 

The early Classical Period: Opera, Sonata, Symphony

The Enlightenment

  1. Reading Assignment:
  2. Descartes (on reserves)
  3. Voltaire (on reserves)
  4. Critically and carefully read the opening discussion on the Enlightenment by Palisca and Grout (1996:439-451)
     
  • Cosmopolitan age
  • “International” (European) culture
  • Vienna, Austria, as the new center of European culture in the 18th century
  • Humanitarianism
  • Expanding middle class
  • Public concerts as the new media of music patronage
  • Music publishing: new musical magazines, reviews, criticism
  • First “general” (meaning, European) histories of music with systematic approach
  • New Musical Taste

The Early Classical Period

  • Explanation of the term “classical”:
    • well-balanced
    • ymmetrical
    • formally perfected
    • structurally in equilibrium
    • simple
    • serious
    • free from excesses and exuberent ornamentations
    • referring to ancient Greek (and sometimes even ancient Roman!) culture, civilization, and the arts
  • The Classical Period is sometimes also called:
    • the Rococo
    • Classicism
    • the Galant Style, in France
    • the Empfindsam Style, in Germany (see below)
  • In its traditional understanding, the term usually refers to the period in which Haydn and Mozart, and even early Beethoven, made their music
  • New harmonic language – tonality and functional harmony
  • New melodic periodicity
  • Emotionaal contrasts
  •  
    • New and much bigger sound owing to the development of orchestra and big musical forms, especially the symphony
  • I. Opera
    • 1. Opera buffa – Early Italian Comic Opera
    • The term opera buffa stands for the 18th century comic opera in Italy, also known as the:
      • dramma giocoso, the 'jocular, comic opera'
      • drama comico
      • commedia in musica
    • six or more characters, often speaking/singing in a dialect
    • rapid recitatives, accompanied on the keyboard only
    • arias, often in da capo form, were short and tuneful
    • Composers:
      • Leonardo Vinci (ca. 1696-1730)
      • Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736)
      •  
        • Music Example  – Opera buffa (NRAWM II, CD7:1-6 [CD3:1-6])
          • a) recitative Ah, quanto mi sta male, “Ah, it doesn't feel right,”
          • b) da capo aria Son imbrogliato io, “I am all mixed up,” from the opera La serva padrona, “The Maid (as) Mistress” (1733), by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
    • 2. Opera seria – 'Serious' Opera in Italy and Austria-Germany
    • a type of the 18th century Italian opera based on serious subjects and librettos, without any comic situations
      • libretto, It. “little book”
    • cultivated all over Europe in a manner that was not much distinguishable from a country to a country
    • new emphasis on the aria:
      • famous opera singers, divas and castratos, wanted composers to write for them highly embellished arias with coloraturas and ornaments
      • this led to abuses in the 18th century opera, to be later on answered by the reform of opera (see below)
    • Librettis: Pietro Metastasio (1698-1782)
    • the librettos of the opera seria were usually those of the Italian poet Pietro Metastasio
      • 1729: Metastasio appointed the court poet in Vienna, where he stayed until his death
      • Metastasio's librettos promoted morality through entertainment
      • heroism
      • two pairs of lovers (conventional cast of the main four opera roles)
    • three-act operas
    • alternating recitatives and arias
      • recitative – dialogues, action
      • aria – dramatic soliloquy, lyric expressions and feelings, in the da capo form
    • occasional duets
    • the orchestra assumed more important role especially in recitativo obligato, and as carrier of dramatic development, not just an accompaniment
    • Composer: Johann Adolph Hasse (1699-1783)
    • Although German, who lived in Dresden, Hasse spent many years in Italy, married the celebrated Italian soprano Faustina Bordoni, and composed operas widely accepted as Italian
      •  
        • Music Example  – Opera seria (NRAWM II, CD7:7-11)
          • da capo aria Digli ch'io son fedele, “Tell him that I am faithful,” from the opera Cleofide (1731), by Johann Adolf Hasse
    • 3.  Comic Opera: Italy, France, England
    • 1760-1800: roughly a period of the emergence and flurishing of comic opera
    • contrary to the 'international style' of opera seria, comic opera carried more culture specific features of the local country in which it was practiced
      • comic opera helped in creating the emergence of national styles in 19th century Europe
    • the older term, opera buffa was replaced by the new and more acceptable one:
      • dramma giocoso, in Italy
      • opéra comique, in France
      • ballad opera, in England
    • Librettist:
      • Carlo Goldoni (1707-1793)
    • Composers in Italy:
      • Nicolò Piccinni (1728-1800)
      • Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1789)
    • Composers in France:
      • Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
      • François André  Danican Philidor (1726-1795)
      • Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny (1729-1817)
      • André Ernest Modeste Grétry (1741-1813)
        •  
          • Music Example  – Opéra comique (NRAWM II, CD7:12-15)
            • Air, aria, J'ai perdu tout mon bonheur, “I have lost all my happiness,” and recitative from the opera Le devin du village, “The village soothsayer” (1752), by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
    • Composers in England:
      • John Gay (1685-1732), The Beggar's Opera
        •  
          • Music Example  – Ballad Opera (NRAWM II, CD7:16-20)
            • Scenes 11-13 from The Beggar's Opera by John Gay
    • The Reform of Opera
    • 1750s: abuses in opera seria and the ever increasing demands of opera singer for more coloraturas (see above) were cut short by the reform of opera
    • A new attempt was made to bring opera into harmony, in which the drama and music would be in equilibrium, like in French tragédie lyrique
      • This was understood as more 'natural'
      • New emphasis on recitativo obbligato, accompanied by the whole orchestra
      • New function of the orchestra as carrier of dramatic action
      • Reintroduction of choruses in opera
    • This reformist movement in opera was led by:
      1. Nicolò Jommelli (1714-1774), worked in Stuttgart, Germany
      2. Tommaso Traetta (1727-1779), worked in Parma, Italy
    • Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787)
    • Synthesized French and Italian operatic genres
    • Reformer of opera
      • made overture an integral part of opera
      • used the opera orchestra for dramataic purposes
      • aimed at 'beautiful simplicity'
      • emphasis on the chorus
      • monumental proportions
      • amalgamation of :
        1. Italian melodic lightness
        2. German 'seriousness'
        3. French grandeur
    • Operas:
      • Orfeo ed Euridice, Vienna, 1762
      • Alceste, Vienna, 1767
      • Iphigénie en Aulide, 'Iphigenia in Aulis', Paris, 1774
      • Iphigénie en Tauride, 'Iphigenia in Taris', Paris, 1779

      •  
        • Music Example  – Reformed Opera (NRAWM II, CD7:21-25)
          • Excerpt from Act II, Scene 1, from the opera Orfeo ed Euridice (1762) by Christoph Willibald Gluck
          • Raniero de Calzabigi (1714-1795), libretto
    • Querelle des bouffons
    • 1752: the Querelle des bouffons, 'the quarrel of the bouffons, the comic actors'
      • the quarrel raged in Paris and it involved two groups:
        1. supporters of the Italian opera who oppsed the old-fashioned, stately and pompous French opera
        2. supporter of tradition and French opera
      • Jean-Jacques Rousseau supported Italian opera, and because of him and others, French opera of Lully and Rameau lost favor
      • Gluck succeeded in swaying the pendulum the other way by reforming opera and showing that, contrary to what Rousseau thought, French opera can be written and performed in French language
      • Gluck's rival in Paris was Niccolò Piccinni, the Italian composer of Neapolitan operas (see above)

II. Sonata and Symphony

  • Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
  • left italy in the early 1720s and lived in Portugal and then in Madrid, Spain, for the rest of his life
  • Scarlatti published his sonatas for harpsichord in a collection called Essercizi, 'Excercizes'
  • Scarlatti's sonata:
    • binary pattern – two movements or sections, each repeated
    • the first section ends on the dominant or relative major key
    • the second section modulates and finally returns to the tonic
    • the closing part of the first section is repeated as the closing part of the second section, but in the tonic key
    • Scarlatti's sonata form became the model for the eighteenth century sonatas
  • Music Example  – Scarlatti's Sonata (NRAWM II, CD7:26-27 [CD3:7-8])
    • Sonata in D Major, K. 119 for harpsichord by Domenico Scarlatti
  • 1.  The Classical Sonata Form
  • The form of the first movement either of the sonata form itself, or of the symphony, or the trio, or of the string quartet, from the late 18th and the early 19th century
  • The Sonata Form consists of three sections:
    1. Exposition
      • Two themes
        • The first theme is understood as 'dramatic' and is stated in the tonic key
        • The second theme is understood as 'lyric', in the dominant key, or in the relative key if the movement is in a minor key
      • The Bridge, conneting to the Development section, and usually ending on the dominant
    2. Development
      • further motivic work on thematic material from the exposition, with modulations to related or remote keys
    3. Recapitulation
      • The restatement of Exposition, but with all material in the tonic key
      • Recapitulation may end with a coda
  • 2. Early Classical Symphony Form
  • 1700: The Italian opera overture, often called sinfonia, as well as the intermezzos, have become independent pieces and performed as concerts
  • in their structure, they resembled the late Baroque concertos and trio sonatas
  • The standard three movements of the symphony, like in Torelli's concerto grossos:
    1. Presto or Allegro – fast
    2. Andante – slow
    3. Allegro assai – fast
  • Music Example  – Symphony (NRAWM II, CD7:28-30)
    •  
      • Presto, first movement, from Symphony in F Major, No. 32 by Giovanni Battista Sammartini
    • The Empfindsam Style
      • Empfindsamer Stil, the 'sentimental style', a style among the German composers in the mid 18th century, usually expressed in their keyboard pieces
      • This style may be likened to its French pendant, the galant style
      • Features:
        • contrasts in mood
        • dramatic accents
        • romantic feelings
        • freedom in ornamentation, somewhat similar in their capriciousness to François Couperin's agréments (see above)
      • Outstanding protagonists of this style were the two of sons-musicians of J.S. Bach:
        • Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710-1784)
        • Sturm und Drang
        • The empfindsam style will reach its climax in the 1760-1770s and join a similar literary movement Sturm und Drang, 'Storm and Stress', expoused by Göthe, among others
      • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788)
      • unlike his father, Johann Sebastian, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach composed musical forms that will mark the history of European music in the second half of the 18th century:
        • symphonies
        • concertos
        • keyboard sonatas
      • Two sets of keyboard sonatas:
        • Six Prussian Sonatas, 1742
        • Six Württemberg Sonatas, 1744
      • These sonatas were written for clavichord, not harpsichord, because of the necessity to create dynamic contrasts as the new empfindsam style required
      • By the mid-18th century, a new keyboard instrument, pianoforte – a forrunner of the 19th century grand piano – replaced the clavichord and harpsichord, so C.P.E. Bach's keyabord sonatas may be understood as being intended for this new medium of musical expresion, the piano
        • Music Example  – Keyboard Sonata (NRAWM II, CD7:31-32 [CD3:9-10])
          •  
            • Poco adagio, second movement, from Sonata in A Major by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
          • The Mannheim Symphony and Johann Stamitz (1717-1757)
            • The main centers of German symphonic music were:
              • Mannheim
              • Vienna
              • Berlin
            • All three cities had outstanding and widely known symphonic orchestras, among which the Mannheim symphonic orchestra was deemed the best
              • The Mannheim orchestra was known for its dymanic ranges, from a very soft pianissimo to a very loud fortissimo
              • This was an influnece of Italian opera overture
            • Johann Wenzel Anton Stamitz (1717-1757) was the conductor of the Mannheim orchestra and himself a composer of symphonies
              • Music Example  – Mannheim Symphony (NRAWM II, CD7:33-37)
                • Allegro assai, first movement, from Sinfonia a 8 in E-flat Major, La melodia, by Johann Wenzel Anton Stamitz
            • Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782)
            • The youngest of the three known sons-musicians of J.S. Bach
            • As a young man, J.C. Bach moved to Milan, where he was the organist of the Milanese Cathedral
            • Later, he moved to London
            • Wrote symphonies, piano concertos and sonatas, and other keyboard music, as well as operas
            • His Opus 7 of keyboard concertos bear the title, Sei concerti per il cembalo o piano e forte, 'Six concertos for harpsichord or pianoforte' [i.e. piano]
              • this title points to the new keyboard instrument, pianoforte, i.e. piano
            • First movements in C.P.E. Bach's concertos follow the standard late 18th century sonata form , which will be boserved by all classical composers, including Mozart and Haydn
              • Music Example  – Piano Concerto (NRAWM II, CD7:38-50)
                • Allegro di molto, first movement, from Concerto for Harpsichord or Piano and Strings in E-flat Major, Op. 7, No. 5, by Johann Christian Bach
              • Music Example  – Piano Concerto (NRAWM II, CD8:14-29)
                • Allegro, first movement, from Piano Concerto in A Major, K. 488, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
history/h_musicc1.txt · Last modified: 2019/01/15 20:03 by gary1