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The Classical Era
Transcript of The Classical Era
The Classical Period (ca 1750-1800)
Refers to a period of intense change in European history and the emergence of an intellectual outlook that stressed the power of humanity.
"Powerful intellectual currents bearing notions of liberty and progress challenged the established order."
Some key figures of enlightenment thought...
(1724-1804)-German philosopher who defined enlightenment as: "man's emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's understanding without guidance from another." This quote is the equivalent of Kant's phrase, or call for courage-"dare to know."
(1632-1704)-English philosopher who argued for the right of a people to overthrow a government that violates their natural rights.
These ideals transferred into revolutionary movements, the collapse of the French monarchy, and the refinement of scientific methods.
The American Revolution 1775-1781
The Declaration of Independence (1776) contains many Enlightenment propositions, such as: "that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
The Industrial Revolution
Driven by new technology:
James Hargreaves's spinning jenny
Eli Whitney's cotton gin
Thomas Newcomen's (later James Watt) steam engine
Franklin and the harnessing of electricity
Even though the Industrial Revolution sparked the creation of many new technologies and strengthened commerce throughout the world, poor sanitation and haphazard conditions led to an outbreak of disease.
The impact of Enlightenment ideals, technology, and transportation impacted music profusely.
Advances in engraving improved the efficiency of music publishing.
Purchasing and selling music became international towards the end of the 18th century.
The improved manufacturing of instruments, such as the piano, made it more affordable and accessible for middle-class households.
Despite these advancements, composers continued to be dependent on the patronage of the nobility and church for there livelihoods.
Joseph Haydn was employed all of his life, but Mozart was not so lucky.
The term "classical" refers to balance, proportion, clarity, and naturalness.
"Something that endures as a model because its elements are so poised as to represent, for all time, the miraculous illusion of perfection."
A Stylistic Overview
In other words, the music of the Classical Period-most specifically, the music of Haydn and Mozart-became the model and dominant influence on Western music.
The major elements of Classical style
became the epicenter of music during the era, mainly because it was home to many aristocratic families who supported music. Composers flocked to
to take advantage of its opportunities.
The emergence of genuine homophony and the elimination of basso continuo.
Harmony as a structural principle.
The emergence of new musical forms: symphony, sonata, concerto.
The influence of Rococo and galant style composers.
The reform of opera.
The Pleasant Dangers of the Swing
Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782)
"The London Bach"
The overshadowing of Bach by his sons.
Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings
Epitomizes the Rococo style, which
Carl Philip Emanuel Bach (1714-1788)
His expressive style influenced Haydn and Beethoven.
Christoph Wiliband Gluck (1714-1787)
"The Reformer of Opera"
Gluck followed the aims of the Florentine Camerata and did away with castrato singers, da capo arias, and the contrast between recitative and aria.
He created continuous opera, which would influence composers for decades.
(Franz) Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Born in Rohrau, Lower Austria on March 31, 1732 into a poor family.
At age eight, Haydn became a choirboy at the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Vienna. Since he was not a castrati, his voice changed and he was kicked out in 1749.
Haydn had a tough childhood and became his own teacher: "proper teachers I never had...thus little by little my knowledge and my ability were developed."
Haydn was the typical figure of the Enlightenment: "religious but not too religious, daring but not too daring, intelligent but not aggressively so, adventurous but not nearly so revolutionary as Mozart."
1759: After rising from the depths of life, Haydn was appointed music director/composer for Count Morzin, where he composed the first of his over 100 symphonies.
He made the biggest mistake of his life two years later-getting married to Maria Anna, who he later referred to as "that infernal beast."
1761: The most significant post of Haydn's life, entering the service of the Esterhazy family as Vice-Kapellmeister.
Haydn became Kapell-Meister in 1766, where he also adopted the name "Papa," because his personality was loving and generous.
The Esterhazy Palace
He was also called the
Father of the symphony, the string quartet, and the sonata.
He modernized these forms, did not invent them.
Haydn's output includes over 100 symphonies, 68 string quartets, around 50 piano sonatas, 26 operas, 4 oratorios, and about 200 pieces for the baryton.
1781: Haydn (49) and Mozart (25) became close friends and musical counterparts-each gaining from one another.
Haydn died on May 31, 1809 and Mozart's Requiem was played at his funeral.
The music of Haydn
Symphony 6: "Morning"
Symphony 101"The Clock"
Symphony 94: "Surprise"
Piano sonata in
"Sunrise" String Quartet in B Flat
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
"Never before was the greatness of the human spirit so tangible, and never has the art of composition been raised to such heights."
Born in Salzburg, Austria on January 27, 1756. Mozart's full birth name was Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophillis Amadeus Gottlieb Sigusmundus Mozart.
After realizing Mozart's miraculous musical talent, Leopold Mozart-a minor court composer-dedicated his life to his son's career.
At age five, Mozart began to compose. At six, he made his public debut at the court of Munich with his sister Nannerl-a prodigy herself.
Mozart's musical feats and performances quickly spread across Europe-he became one of the most exploited child prodigies in the history of music!
The life of a "show-biz" kid is anything but normal. "For just as this rare being early became a man so far as his art was concerned, he always remained-as the impartial observer must say of him-in almost all matters a child."
Fourteen of the thirty-six years of Mozart's life were spent touring with his father and sister, and later concerts in his adult years.
Mozart was able to internalize the influences he received from his travels and his style became a synthesis of several countries, especially Italy.
Personal challenges aside, Mozart was a master composer of all genres: opera, symphony, concerto, chamber, vocal, piano, choral. He was also the finest pianist, organist, and conductor in Europe.
One would think it would be easy for Mozart to obtain a lucrative position, but his personality and honesty got in the way.
He dreamed of finding a patron with imagination- that did not exist-so he made it on his own and became the first to do so.
He succeeded musically, but died penniless.
(sonata allegro): an organizational method for shorter instrumental pieces or individual movements of longer pieces (symphony).
Exposition-main theme of the piece.
Development-develops the ideas of the exposition by avoiding the tonic (home) key, modulates (changes key), and manipulates main themes.
Recapitulation-return of the opening theme.
Forms within the Classical Period and beyond
: a multimovement work for instrumental ensemble.
Mozart went on a job-hunting trip to Paris, where his mother died.
1779: He stayed with the Weber family and fell in love with Aloysia, however ended up marrying Constanze in 1782.
Mozart's first mature opera, Idomeneo (opera seria) was composed in 1780.
Over 40 symphonies, 27 string quartets,over 40 sonatas for piano and violin, 23 concertos, 7 operas.
The Magic Flute
Mozart is believed to have died of liver or kidney disease on December 5, 1791.
La ci darem la mano
The Queen of the Night aria
Papageno and Papagena duet
Symphony No. 40 in G minor
Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter"
Serenade in G Major "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"
A Little Night Music
Serenade No. 10 in B Flat Major "Gran Partita" Movement III