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Nieves López

on 18 January 2016

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Vocal Music in the Baroque
Instrumental Music and composers
Context and Arts
- Chronology: 1600 (premier of the first preserved opera) - 1750 (Johann Sebastian Bach Death)
- "The age of the enlightenment": reason more important than faith
- Absolute monarchies (Luis XVI): the King and the aristocracy marked the artistic patron (not the church)
- Appearance of the scientific method: Newton (gravity), Harvey (circulation of blood), Kepler (the elliptical motion of planets)...
- "Baroque" terms comes from a Portuguese word that means " a pearl of irregular shape"
-Sensitive to passion and fantasy, expression of feelings, the sense of movement and contrasts, a linking for details and ornamentation.
- Architecture: featured by movement, chiaroscuro, and the majesty. Borromini, Bernini
- Sculpture: eagemess by the movement, exalted expression and gesture and theatricality. Bernini
- Painting: predilection by the naturalism, dynamism, optic effects and a strong expressivity; dramatic intensity and especial use of lights and shadows. Velázquez, Rubens, Murillo, Rembrandt
Musical Context
- Music at the service of the great European monarchies, aristocracy and the church, that used it as another manifestation of their power
- Role of the musician reduced to being a servant of his protector
- Quite high demands of performance settings, so some of the greatest quality compositions ever created came from this period.
- Chronology:
1. Early Baroque (1600-1640): homophonic and polyphonic textures
2. Middle Baroque (1640-1680): spread from Italy throughout Europe; major and minor keys.
3. Late Baroque (1680-1750): Instrumental music as important as vocal music
General Music Characteristics
Vocal Music
Opera: origin and structural parts
- It appeared in Count of Bardi's Cultural circle in Florence. The "Camerata Fiorentina" , which gathered nobles, wise men, philosophers, poet and musicians were inspired by Greek Mythology and ancient history, to flatter an identified aristocracy with this subjects and themes.
- They assumed accompanied monody, so that the music could emphasize and reinforce the expression of the word, to make text more intelligible.
- Opera is a drama that is completely sung with music. It's composed of music, orchestra, libretto, performers, costuming and stage design.

- Florence: The Camerata Fiorentina brought back Greek tragedy and created the new style. Early operas collected recitatives and occasional orchestral interludes. Monteverdi ("Orfeo and Euridice", 1607, is the first great opera because it had a rich instrumental and vocal development), Peri ("Euridice"), Caccini. Music was subservient to the words.
- Rome: the separation between recitative and aria was more marked; music started became more important and it was more focus on religious subjects.
- Venice: The opera was more popular, the first commercial opera house was opened (San Casiano, 1637). It used recitatives, arias, duets, historical subjects, elaborate stage machinery and complex and improbable plots. Monteverdi, Cesti, Cavalli.
- Naples: It became more artificial and formalized, using aria da capo (ABA) but less recitatives. The castrati, the superstars, improvised with their vocal technique and virtuosity.
Other vocal forms
CHORAL: It's a hymn used in Lutheran church service in German, adapting
folk songs and Catholic hymns. It reached its highest point with J.S. Bach.
ORATORIO: It's a large composition that contains reinforced choirs, arias, duets, recitatives, interludes and orchestra, based on sacred texts (Old and New Testament); approximate to opera but performed without scenery, costumes and action. It's got narrator. Handel ("Messiah"), Bach, Carissimi.
CANTATA: It's a non-theatrical composition, short in length, based on texts of narrative character. It contains, choirs, organ, small orchestra and arias and recitatives. It appeared as a secular form but, later, they were performed in the Lutheran service. Bach composed more than 200 sacred cantatas.
PASSION: It's a kind of oratorio about the Christ's Passion and Death. It's performed by a narrator (an evangelist), the soloists as the main characters (Christ, Virgin) and the crowd (disciples and and the people, performed by the choir). Bach wrote "Saint John Passion " and "Saint Matthew Passion", whose choirs reinforce the most intense moments of the narration.

Genres of Baroque opera
- Librettos without comic scenes, plots based on mythology and heroic topics.
- Texts that exalt virtues such as loyalty, patriotism...
- Written en Italian, addressed to Aristocracy
- Arias and recitatives are sharply separated
- Aria gained importance, while choirs declined. Virtuous arias
- Use of castratti
- Handel, Scarlatti
Instruments of Baroque
Instrumental Forms
CONCERTO SOLO: for a single soloist instrument that contrasts in constant dialogue with the orchestra. A. Vivaldi
CONCERTO GROSSO: a small group of soloist instruments contrasts with an orchestral ensemble; presents a contrast in texture between the group (tutti) and the soloists (ripieno). Corelli, Torelli, Handel.
Both types of concerts have three movements: fast, slow and fast (ritornellos form: fix parts that alternate with new ones)

SUITE: Collection of small pieces based on dances grouped into a set with the same key but different tempo, meter and character. Bach, Handel, Couperin.
ALLEMANDE German Moderate, stately 4/4
COURANTE France Quick, lively 3/4
SARABANDA Spain Slow, stately 3/4
GIGUE England Fast, lively 6/8

SONATA: It's a compound form divided into four movements with these characteristics: 1º Slow 2º Fast (fugued) 3º Slow (homophonic) Fast
It can be composed for a solo instruments, a duo or a trio; but always with the accompaniment of an instrument as a basso continuo (the organ inthe Church Sonata and the harpshichord in the Chamber Sonata)

FUGUE: a compositions (or technique) in which a theme is developed by imitative counterpoint. It starts with the exposition of the subject; later, while the second voice enters with the answer the first proceed with the countersubject. It plays with the entries of the subject separated by "episodes". It's performed by keyboards. Bach.

Antonio Vivaldi
Baroque Architecture
Bernini: Plaza de San Pedro
Borromini: Iglesia de San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane
Baroque Sculpture
Apollo and Dafne
Ecstasy of Saint Teresa
Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi
Baroque Painting
Rubens: The Three Graces
Rembrandt: The anatomy lesson
Velázquez: Las Meninas
Murillo: The assumption
of the Virgin
- Bass Continuo: a keyboard and bass instruments help to convey the harmonic support
of chords under the melody
- Major/Minor tonalities
- Functional harmony: melodic and harmonic sequences, free use of dissonance
- Doctrine of affections
- "Senza batuta" tempo / Metric beats are very strict in tempo (continuity of rhythm: rhythmic patterns that are heard at the beginning of a piece are repeated throughout)
- Contrast of dynamic, textures, rhythm, colour and number of voices and instruments
- Terraced dynamics (adding groups of instruments in order to achieve additional
volume or taking instruments away in order to achieve a quieter volume)
- Use of polyphony (rich counterpoint) and homophonic texture, and a highly decorated melodic line
- Improvisation and virtuosity
- Increase of its importance
- Use of absolute music, non descriptive music
- Inclination to contrast large against small groups of instruments (concerto grosso)
- The orchestra (as a stable and organized ensemble)
and forms such as concert, suite, sonata appear
- Some ancient instruments disappear and other news appear and they are technically evolved
- Composers detail the orchestration on the score
- Performers are specialized in one instrument
- Quite small ensemble (choirs of 12 - 25 not uncommon)
- Camerata instigated monody, recitative and opera, against Renaissance monody
- 1631: professional female singers appear on the stage
- The opera was conceived with its homophonic style to focus the listener's concentration on the poetic melody of the singer. Cantata, oratorio and passion were conceived too.
Structural Parts
- Solo vocal lines:
. Recitative: declaimed texts for passages where
the action progress. It follows the intonation and
the rhythm of speech.
. Aria: It's more expressive and melodious, serves to reflect upon the events and to express feelings. It's for more emotional texts.
- Orchestral parts: Overture (opens the opera) and Instrumental Interludes (inserted to join and put together the different parts of the opera)
- Choirs and ballets

- Inspired by popular French dramas and court ballets
-With Lully, ballets were entered into operas, creating its tragedies-lyriques
- Use of Greek myths, clear texts, important of the drama, recitative and arias merged into one another
- French overture (two parts, slow - fast)
- Ballets were the major part
- Rameau used sophisticated orchestral
- Italian operas were typically performed in London.
- They were more involved in theatrical music forms.
- Handel's operas in England, in Italian style. He used arias da capo in a strictly way, form that abandoned in "Xerxes" by strophic ones.
- Henry Purcell composed a very important opera based on mythology, "Dido and Eneas".
- With vigour, exuberance, spontaneity and charming fluency; parody of serious opera, satire and humour
- Plots and characters more down-to-earth and light, about daily life, closer to the audience
- Use of small ensemble groups, choirs, chorus, spoken dialogues instead of recitatives and popular tunes; simpler music
- Written in the main language of each country
- No use of castratti
- National names: Opera buffa in Itally, Opera Comique in France, Zarzuela in Spain, Singspiel in Germany and Ballad Opera in England.

L'Orfeo, Monteverdi: aria "Tu se'morta"
"Dido and Eneas, Purcell: Aria "When I am laid in Earth"
Rinaldo, Handel: "Lascia Ch'io Pianga"
Viento es la dicha de amor, Nebra: "Seguidilla"
Oratorio: Messiah, Handel:
Bach: Cantata n. 147,
Choral "Jesus bleibet
meune Freude"
Bach: Matthew Passion Chorale:
"Ich will hier bei dir stehen"
Baroque Orchestra
Violin, viola, cello and double bass:
Wood Wind
Timpani or kettle drum
CONCERTO GROSSO: Bach: Brandenburgo Concert nº 2 Allegro
CONCERTO SOLO. Vivaldi: The Spring, 1st movement. Soloist performer: Isaac Stern
Bach: Suite nº 1 Prelude. Performer: Yo-Yo Ma
Bach: Toccata and Fughe in D minor
- Monteverdi
- Corelli
- Purcell
- Rameau...
Johann Sebastian Bach
George Frideric Handel
He was called "The Read Priest".
He study, tought and wrote music in Venice.
Vivaldi wrote over 400 concertos, very descriptives.
He also wrote sacred music and operas. His music
wasn't well-known until the Romantic Period
He was orphaned as a young boy and
was forced to live with an older brother.
At fifteen he attended choir school and became
a well-known musician and composer. Bach spent
most of his adult life working in the church.
Between both his marriages, he had twenty
children. Less operas, he wrote all the musical
forms: sonatas, concerts, cantatas, suites, fugues,
oratorios, passions. He mixed the French rhythm,
the Italian melody and the German texture
His music best defines the Baroque musical style.
Although he was German, Handel worked most of the time in Englan. His style has got Italian influence. He began as a church organist in the cathedral, but he was
attracted to theater.
He is famous by his operas, concertos, suites and oratorios.
Instrumental Music
Full transcript