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Copy of The Classical Period

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Shari Cathcart

on 2 April 2013

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Transcript of Copy of The Classical Period

1750 - 1810 The Classical Period The Symphony The Concerto The symphony (meaning 'sounding together').
The symphony was a sonata for orchestra.
It grew from the Italian overture (often called sinfonia) which had three sections, contrasted in speed: quick - slow - quick.
In the early Classical symphony these became three separate movements; later, the usual number became four, with the minuet and trio (a dance borrowed from the Baroque suite) inserted between the slow movement and the brisk finale.
The movements of a Classical symphony, well contrasted in speed and character, are usually set out according to this basic plan:
First movement: at a fairly fast speed; usually built up in what is known as sonata form.
Second movement: at a slower speed, and more song-like; often in ternary form (ABA), or variations, or perhaps sonata form again.
Third movement: At this point, Haydn and Mozart wrote a Minuet and Trio; Beethoven later transformed this into a much brisker and more vigorous Scherzo.
Fourth movement: (Finale) at a fast tempo and often light-hearted in mood; in Rondo form (ABACA ...), or Sonata Form, or perhaps in a mixture of both; sometimes, variations. The Classical concerto, featuring a solo instrument in competition with the orchestra, grew from the Baroque solo concerto.
It is written for a soloist and orchestra to show off a soloist's skill.
Towards the end of a movement, the soloist may play alone for a few minutes. This is called a cadenza. It is the soloist's chance to end with a flourish.
Classical soloists often improvised the cadenzas. Later composers wrote them in themselves. It is in three movements (fairly fast; slow; fast) that corresponds to the movements of the symphony, but without the minuet. Mozart (1756 - 1791), a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era, showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty.
At 17, he was engaged as a court musician in Salzburg, but grew restless and traveled in search of a better position, always composing abundantly. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and portions of the Requiem, which was largely unfinished at the time of his death. The circumstances of his early death have been much mythologized. He was survived by his wife Constanze and two sons.
Mozart learned voraciously from others, and developed a brilliance and maturity of style that encompassed the light and graceful along with the dark and passionate. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers, and his influence on subsequent Western art music is profound. Haydn (1732 - 1809) was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms. He was also instrumental in the development of the piano trio and in the evolution of sonata form.

A lifelong resident of Austria, Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Esterházy family on their remote estate. Isolated from other composers and trends in music until the later part of his long life, he was, as he put it, "forced to become original". At the time of his death, he was one of the most celebrated composers in Europe. Classical Composers Characteristics of the Classical style Lighter, clearer texture than Baroque, less complicated; mainly homophonic - melody above chordal accompaniment (but counterpoint by no means forgotten).
An emphasis on grace and beauty of melody and form, proportion and balance, moderation and control; polished and elegant in character with expressiveness and formal structure held in perfect balance.
More variety and contrast within a piece: of keys, tunes, rhythms and dynamics (now using crescendo and sforzando), frequent changes of mood and timbre.
Melodies tend to be shorter than those of Baroque, with clear-cut phrases and clearly marked cadences.
Orchestra increases in size and range; harpsichord continuo falls out of use; woodwind becomes a self-contained section.
Harpsichord is replaced by the piano: early piano music often thinnish in texture, often with 'Alberti Bass' accompaniment (Haydn and Mozart), but later becoming richer, more sonorous and powerful (Beethoven).
Importance given to instrumental music - main kinds: sonata, trio, string quartet, symphony, concerto, serenade, divertimento.
Sonata form is the most important design - used to build up the first movement of most large-scale works, but also other movements, and single pieces (such as overtures). During the second half of the eighteenth century, in art and architecture as well as music, people liked formal, balanced structures. A lighter, more graceful style replaced the grandeur and intricacy of Baroque music.

Composers found a new audience: wealthier members of the public would pay to attend concerts. Musicians began to make a living without depending totally on patronage. Early Classical style is called style galant - a 'courtly style' which aimed chiefly to please the listener. Much of this music is lacking in depth, but at its finest - in the music of Bach's sons, Carl Philip Emanuel and Johann Christian, and the early compositions of Haydn and Mozart - it is polished, polite and extremely elegant.


Later, as Classical style matured, it came to emphasise more and more the qualities we associate with Classical architecture: grace and beauty of line (melody) and shape (the form or design used by a composer to build up his music), proportion and balance, moderation and control. In particular the Classical composer strikes a perfect balance in his music between expressiveness and formal structure. The orchestra - started to grow.
Harpsichord continuo was still included at first, mainly as a means of knitting the texture together. In time, though, the continuo fell out of use and composers began to use wind instruments, especially the horns, to bind the texture.
In the earlier part of the Classical period, orchestras were still small and variable: a basis of strings, to which were usually added two horns and one or two flutes or a pair of oboes.
Soon, however, composers were including both flutes and oboes, one or two bassoons, and occasionally two trumpets and a pair of kettle drums.
Clarinets found a regular place towards the end of the 18th century, then making the woodwind a self-contained section of the orchestra. The Orchestra The Piano During the Classical period, for the first time in musical history, music for instruments became more important than music for voices.
Many works were written for, or included, the pianoforte - usually called 'piano' for short.
The piano had been invented as early as 1698 by Bartolomeo Cristofori in Italy. By 1700 he had built at least one instrument of this kind. He called it gravicembalo col piano e forte - 'a harpsichord with soft and loud'. But whereas in a harpsichord the strings were plucked, in Cristofori's instrument they were struck by hammers - lightly, or more forcefully, according to the amount of pressure made by the player's fingers upon the keys.
This was to give the piano considerable powers of expression and offer exciting possibilities. Not only might a pianist make sudden contrasts between soft and loud, he could also control all the various shades of tone and volume in between. Sounds could be to grow gradually louder, or gradually softer, and further contrasts might be made between legato (smooth and sustained) and staccato (crisp and detached). A player might shape an expressive melody in cantabile ('singing') style with the right hand against a quieter accompaniment with the left hand. The Sonata Sonata (meaning 'sounded').
Sonata was the name a Classical composer gave to a work in several movements for one or two instruments only - for instance: piano, or violin and piano.
If three instruments took part he called his work a trio; if four, he called it a quartet; five made it a quintet; and so on. Beethoven (1770 - 1809) is a massive figure in the history of music. Like Monteverdi, two centuries earlier, he strides across two eras. He has been described as the last of the Classical composers and, at the same time, the first of the Romantics. Unlike most composers before him, Beethoven did not write music to please a wealthy patron. He composed in order to please himself.
It is usual to divide Beethoven's life and work into three periods. The first, showing the influence of Haydn and Mozart, includes the first two symphonies, the first three piano concerts, the first six string quartets and the first dozen or so of his 32 piano sonatas. By the time Beethoven had written these works he was thirty, and had already noticed signs of approaching deafness.
The works of the second period are written in a more individual personal style - on a grander scale, and with greater depths of feeling. To this middle period the Third to Eighth Symphonies, the Fourth and Fifth Piano Concertos and the Violin Concerto, the three 'Razumovsky' String Quartets, the 'Moonlight', 'Waldstein' and 'Appassionata' Piano Sonatas, and Beethovenn's only opera Fidelio.
To the third period belong the Ninth Symphony ('Choral'), the Mass in D, and the last string quartets and sonatas. During this last period Beethoven's deafness became total, completely cutting him off from the world of sound except in his imagination.
Drama and conflict are essential ingredients in Beethoven's style, stemming from a powerful, often violent, rhythmic drive, a sharper use of discords, frequently marked sforzando (forcing the tone), and striking contrasts - of timbres (tone-colours), pitches (high against low) and dynamics (loud against soft). During a crescendo, when the loudest chord is expected, Beethoven will often take the listener by surprise by making a sudden drop to piano.
Beethoven increased the size of the orchestra. To that used by Haydn in his last symphonies he adds a third horn in the Third Symphony ('Eroica') and piccolo, double bassoon and three trombones in the Finale of the Fifth Symphony. These instruments are used again in the Ninth Symphony which also includes solo voices and mixed chorus. Bass drum, cymbals and triangle are added to the percussion, and the number of horns is increased to four. Beethoven Mozart Haydn An opera is generally referred to as "a stage presentation or work that combines music, costumes, and scenery to relay a story. Most operas are sung, with no spoken lines." The word "opera" is actually a shortened word for opera in musica. It takes a lot of time, people and effort before an opera finally makes its premiere. Writers, librettists (dramatist who writes the libretto or text), composers, costume and stage designers, conductors, singers (coloratura, lyric and dramatic soprano, lyric and dramatic tenor, basso buffo and basso profundo, etc.) dancers, musicians, prompters (person who gives cues) producers and directors are some of the people who work closely together in order for an opera to take shape. Different singing styles where developed for the opera, such as:

•recitative
- imitating the pattern and rhythm of speech
•aria
- when a character expresses feelings through a flowing melody Types of Operas

•Comic Opera - Also known as light opera, this type of opera often tackles light, not so delicate subject matter where the ending often has a happy resolution.

•Serious Opera - In Italian it's opera seria, also referred to as Neopolitan opera mainly due to the volume of composers who were from Naples who contributed to this type of opera. Often, the story revolves around heroes and myths, emphasis is also given to the solo voice and bel canto style. Opera
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