MUH – Flashcard

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Jacopo Peri
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B:1561 D:1633 2 Important Works, Dafne & L’Euridice marked the beginning of Opera, and used to define the transition to the Baroque Era
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Claudio Monteverdi
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B:1567 D:1643 Monteverdi eased the transition from Renaissance to Baroque music by paying homage to the older styles in works labeled prima practica, while works in the newer style would be labeled seconda practica. Monteverdi began paying particular attention to harmony in his music. Monteverdi used chords to create closure in music instead of just using melodic notes. Using chords as well as melody to create tension and release in music is the basis of modern tonality. From now on, when polyphony was used, it would have to submit to certain rules of harmonic movement. To make this movement easier to follow, more attention would be paid to the highest and lowest notes in the piece of music, typically the melody and bass.
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L’Orfeo
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The Big First Opera Composed by Monteverdi
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Word-Painting
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A composition technique where the music is written to closely match or mimic the meaning of the lyrics.
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Alessandro Moreschi
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B:1858 D:1922 Last castrati singer from the bel canto tradition. Only traditional castrati who made solo recordings.
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Arcangelo Corelli
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B:1653 D:1713 Important Violinist and composer, credited with creating the concerto grosso, later evolves into the concerto for solo instruments Most famous concerto grosso is his Christmas concerto, composed and performed in 1690.
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Johann Pachelbel
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B:1653 D:1706 Canon in D in the 20th Century and first publication in 1919. Very popular, and uses an instantly recognizable ostinato (repetitive bass line), played by the cello.
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Antonio Vivaldi
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B:1678 D:1741 Born in Venice, Italy Father was a violinist and trained him at an early age. Ordained as a priest in 1703 and was music director at an orphanage in Venice for 30 years 1717-1725 traveled all over Europe, performing for royalty. (Most notably Emperor Charles 6th of Vienna) Returned to Venice in 1725 and composed The Four Seasons.
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The Four Seasons
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Divided into 4 sections named after each season. Each section is subdivided into 3 movements, so there are 12 movements in the whole work. A poem was written for each movement, making this an early example of programmatic music.
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Domenico Scarlatti
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B:1685 D:1757 Born in Naples, Italy Father Alessandro a famous composer who wrote many operas. Domenico is best known for over 550 sonatas for harpsichord.
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George Frideric Handel
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B:1685 D:1759 Born in Halle, Germany Father didn’t want him going into music, relative gave him a clavichord, which was placed in the attic. He practiced at night so that his father wouldn’t hear him. 1703, moved to Hamburg and played violin and harpsichord in the opera orchestra there. He composed operas at this time too
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Handel’s Close Call
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December 5, 1704 During a performance of Cleopatra by Johann Mattheson, Handel and Mattheson fought over who should sit at the harpsichord. Turned into a swordfigthing duel. Handel saved by a metal button, who would become one of the most popular composers of his time.
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Handel Moves to England
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1710, Handel took post of Kapellmeister to George, Elector of Hanover, Germany. George became King George 1 of Great Britain, and Handel became a naturalized English citizen. 1727, Handel composed music for King George 2’s coronation One of these pieces, Zadok the Priest, has been performed at every coronation since.
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Handel and Royal Opera
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Had a stroke in 1737 Successful satiric opera known as The Beggar’s Opera, which poked fun at opera seria. Handel left the King’s Theater in 1740, deeply in debt.
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From Opera to Oratorio
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Handel turned his attention to Oratorio, similar to opera but usually with sacred texts, and performed w/o costumes, scenery, or staging directions. It was much cheaper to produce. 1742, Handel took 3 weeks to compose a complete oratorio based on the life of Jesus Christ. First performance in Dublin, Ireland, with a choir of 26 boys and 5 men. Messiah would become Handel’s most famous work. It is one of the most famous works in the English language thanks to the popularity of the Hallelujah chorus.
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Handel’s Later Years
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Eyesight begins to fail in 1751 due to cataracts. Attempt to have eye surgery, but the surgeon John Taylor, was more of a self-promoter than a surgeon. Surgery was a failure resulting in blindness. Died 8 years later in 1759 in his home in London Was given full state of honors at his death, and his funeral was attended by over 3000 people.
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Johann Sebastian Bach
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B:1685 D:1750 German composer and organist Spent almost all of his life in Central Germany. Bach composed every type of music known at the time except opera. He was far better know for his ability to play the organ than for his compositions.
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Early Childhood
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JSB was born in Eisenach, Germany Came from a highly musical family. Most of his relatives were professional musicians. Bach’s mother died when he was 9, his father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, passed away 8 months later. Sebastian went to live with his eldest brother Johann Christoph Bach Was a good school near Hamburg called St. Michael’s. At 14, Sebastian began atteding the school, studying religion, reading, writing, arithmetic, singing, history, and science. It was a solid, well rounded education.
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Bach finally gets a job
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Bach gets his first job in 1703 in Arnstadt. It was not a good paying job, but Christoph insisted that he audition for it so that he could get valuable experience as a working musician, After the church(St. Boniface’s Church) heard Back play, they offered him a job because he was so talented he could even improvise fugues.
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Toccata and Fugue in D minor
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Tocatta, Fast piece that shows off the performer’s technique/If combined with a fugue, may or may not provide musical material for the fugue. Fugue, The most advanced form of polyphony, similar to round, stars with a monophonic subject, the next entrance of the subject is called the answer in different key, optional episodes are used to create melodic interest and to help lead to the next entry of the subject
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The Journey to Lubeck
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Bach spent 4 years as organist in Arnstadt, but nearly got fired twice. He felt like he couldn’t learn anything there. Meanwhile, in the city of LĂĽbeck in Northern Germany, there was a “rockstar-famous” organist named Dietrich Buxtehude. Bach insisted that Buxtehude was the only person who could possibly teach him anything. So, even though letters to Dietrich had gone unanswered, he ditched work for six months to walk across Germany just to gatecrash on this famous player. He walked 250 miles each way just to try and study with Buxtehude. At first, the famed musician slammed the door on Sebastian, but later allowed him to quietly observe him working. Finally Bach received lessons in counterpoint, improvisation, and fugue writing from Deitrich.
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Bach in Arnstadt
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While in Arnstadt and LĂĽbeck, Bach composed his first important organ works. During church services in Arnstadt, he would often arrange a church hymn, improvising and embellishing it with many extra notes. Unfortunately, the congregation was not musical enough to understand the ornamental notes he added to the hymn tunes. Bach got fed up with the priests who were always complaining about that. He resigned his post and walked back to LĂĽbeck, hoping to get an assistant’s position that would allow him to inherit Buxtehude’s job. Buxtehude agreed on one condition: Bach had to marry Deitrich’s daughter. Sebastian found that condition extremely unappealing, and instead took a job in MĂĽhlhausen and married his second cousin, Maria Barbara. After a year, he gave up the job in MĂĽhlhausen and moved to a larger town called Weimar.
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Bach in Weimar
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Johann Sebastian was hired as an organist to the Duke of Weimar. At the Duke’s court, there was a chapel with an organ. He became even more famous as an organist and was invited to play in other big churches. He was also asked to be a consultant when an organ was being built somewhere. In 1714 the Duke made Bach Konzertmeister, which meant he had to write cantatas for church services. In 1717 he was offered a job in the town of Cöthen, where he would earn an even better salary. The Duke was angry and did not want him to go. Bach continued to insist, sometimes angrily, on moving. The Duke put Bach in prison for a month because of Bach’s temper. After that, the Duke gave Bach an unfavorable discharge, which allowed him to leave his post and move to Cöthen,
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Well-Tempered Music
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One problem professional musicians had with music at this time was tuning: if one key was tuned perfectly, other keys sounded poor. At the turn of the 1700s, musicians like Buxtehude began to figure out how to “de-tune” the major scale so that all 12 major keys and all 12 minor keys would sound good on all instruments. Bach wrote a series of preludes and fugues in all 12 major keys and all 12 minor keys. This collection of 48 pieces was called The Well-Tempered Clavier. It was completed in 1722. It was the first collection of polished, finished compositions in all 24 modern keys. These collections are considered to be Bach’s most important contribution to music.
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Bach in Cothen
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At Cöthen, Bach worked for Prince Leopold. The Prince was very musical and a nice man to work for. Bach was Kapellmeister (director of music) and was treated well. The organ was not very good and it was not used much, so Bach did not write any organ music there. Leopold did have an orchestra and Bach was in charge of it. Nearly all Bach’s orchestral works were written in Cöthen: the Brandenburg Concertos ,the violin concertos, the orchestral suites, among others. Bach’s first wife, Maria Barbara Bach, died suddenly in 1720. The couple had seven children. Soon afterwards he married Anna Magdalena (a woman 17 years younger than he was) with whom he had 13 more children.
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The Baroque Suite
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During the Baroque era, the suite was one of the most common large-scale forms used in the composition of instrumental music, especially keyboard works, and was popular throughout Europe. The Baroque Suite is a collection of pieces that are based on dances. Almost all Baroque suites contained the following four dances: Allemande,Courante,Sarabande, and Gigue. Many were introduced with a Prelude or Overture. They may also have had an optional piece (a Gavotte ,Passacaglia, Minuet or Tocatta) placed between the Sarabande and Gigue.This is most easily remembered by the nonsense word PACSOG :Prelude/Allemande/Courante/Sarabande/Other/Gigue
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Bach in Leipzig 1
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In 1723 Bach moved to Leipzig to take the job of Kantor at St. Thomas Church, one of two large churches in the town. As Kantor he was in charge of all the music, and later was in charge of the music at the other church in town as well. He also had to compose music for the town and teach at the church-sponsored school. It was an excellent job. It was far more secure than being a court musician, and the schools were good for his sons. Bach stayed in Leipzig the rest of his life. He loved his job most of the time and worked very hard. He composed many cantatas for the church services. These services were very long, lasting about three hours. Many of the cantatas he wrote last about 30 minutes. While in Leipzig, he wrote the St. Matthew Passion and the St. John Passion. He also wrote cantatas for special occasions such as weddings or funerals.
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Bach in Leipzig 2
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Life was not always easy for Bach, and there were sometimes arguments with the people who ruled the church. On one occasion he argued with the headmaster of the school about who was allowed to choose the choir section leaders. (Bach had to do some teaching at the school.) This actually went to court. Bach lost the case. Bach often made journeys to other towns. In 1747 he visited the court of King Frederick the Great, of Prussia. The king, a music lover, gave Bach a tune to play on the harpsichord. Bach sat down and improvised a piece using this theme. The king was very impressed. Later, Bach wrote a very long composition for flute, violin, harpsichord and cello, in many movements, all based on this theme. Bach called it The Musical Offering and he sent it to the King, who was very much pleased.
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The Art of Fugue
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Bach loved writing fugues, and he decided to write a collection of pieces called The Art of Fugue . He wanted to publish it, but he died before he could finish it. In the last year of his life, he became blind and had an eye operation. The surgeon was John Taylor, the same self-promoting charlatan who would operate on Handel the following year. One newspaper of the time reported that Bach died “from the unhappy consequences of the very unsuccessful eye operation.”
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The Classical Era/ This isn’t my father’s music
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From about 1730 to 1760, there was a strong negative reaction to all the elaborate ornamentation of the Baroque era, especially in opera. This reactionary period is called the Rococo period. Sometimes it is separated from the Baroque and Classical eras, and sometimes it is included in the Classical era. In many ways, this reaction is not unlike the reaction young people have over the music preferred by their elders. Bach’s sons referred to their father as “the old wig.” By the mid-1700s, the complex polyphony of the Baroque era was being replaced by a simpler music that focused on melodies and forms which were easily identified and recognized. There was an organized effort to make sure music did not sound like the previous era.
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Carl Phillip Emmanuel Bach
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B:1714 D:1788 He was the second oldest, and most famous, son of J. S. Bach. He was the caretaker for his father’s music after 1750. He wrote a textbook for pianists that was widely used. His best known work is a keyboard piece called Solfeggieto, which is in a toccata style that his father might have used. However, Phillip places the emphasis firmly on melody instead of harmony, with the texture being monophonic most of the time. Very rarely are both hands playing together at the same time; most of the time, the hands are leaping over each other to quickly play the melody. C. P. E. Bach’s piano sonatas were largely responsible for the form of the piano sonata that was mastered by later composers. This form consisted of three movements. The first movement was usually in sonata-allegro form. The second movement was usually slow, to contrast with the first movement. The final movement was usually upbeat.
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Sonata-Allegro Form
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Also known as ternary form or A-B-A form May start with an optional introduction First A section, also called the exposition B section, also know as the development usually in a different key or different mode can be short or long in length can be totally new material Final A section, also called the recapitulation usually starts off identical to the exposition can change at the end a very different and long ending is called a coda shorter but slightly different ending may be called a codetta
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Franz Joseph Haydn
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B:March 31, 1723 D:May 31, 1809 Born in the small village of Rohrau, Austria, on March 31, 1732, Franz Joseph Haydn was the second of twelve children. His father made wagon wheels for a living, but had a hobby as a musician. The Haydn family would relax on Sundays by having giving semi-private music concerts. A cousin recognized the five-year-old boy’s talent. He offered to take young Joseph into his boarding school (where he was the headmaster) so that Joseph could receive musical instruction. Haydn’s father agreed to this, hoping that Joseph would become a priest. At the school, the students rarely had enough to eat and Haydn told his biographer later that “there was more flogging than food.” Nevertheless, Haydn studied hard, grateful for the opportunity in spite of the circumstances.
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Haydn in Vienna
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At the age of eight, Franz Joseph Haydn became a choirboy for the Viennese Cathedral. While Haydn studied there, he sang at Antonio Vivaldi’s funeral. Haydn remained at the Cathedral, learning all that he could about church music, until his voice changed as a teenager. The Cathedral only wanted young boys for their choir. He was expelled from the Cathedral when he was 17 and was put in the middle of Vienna in the winter with nothing except one change of clothes. Haydn’s father urged Joseph to enter the priesthood, but Joseph’s experience at the Viennese Cathedral made him decide not to do so. Joseph’s father was angry and disowned him because he wouldn’t become a priest. Joseph would have to make it completely on his own. Haydn found a place to sleep: he rented an attic. He found a harpsichord that had been discarded for garbage, and repaired it. He gave music lessons in the rented attic, writing music for his students. In addition, Haydn played in corner street bands, earning tips as people threw loose change into a hat.
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Haydn found and nurtured
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An open door presented itself in the form of an Italian composer and teacher named Niccolo Porpora. Porpora hired Haydn as his accompanist during music lessons. Haydn’s status was also that of a servant: he was a personal valet to Porpora as well as his accompanist. Porpora did adequately feed him—something he had not enjoyed since his very young days in Rohrau—and taught him Italian and composition. Haydn was never really taught music theory, so he took it upon himself to study counterpoint from a Baroque composer named Johann Fux, and to study and analyze the compositions of C. P. E. Bach. Haydn had some initial financial success with a comic opera The Limping Devil which had a very short run. He worked freelance for a while, but found patronage with Countess Thun, who hired Haydn as a music teacher. From there, he was employed by a couple of other wealthy patrons, most notably Count Morzin, and he felt stable enough to get married.
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Haydn and the Esterhazy’s
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Haydn’s really big break would happen in 1761 when Prince Paul II Anton Esterházy de Galantha hired him as Vice-Kapellmeister. Haydn became Kapellmeister under Nikolaus Esterházy in 1766. His duties were intense. He was responsible for managing the needs of the musicians he conducted. He had to organize and keep track of the music library. He was required to compose music for private orchestral, operatic, and chamber music performances. He also taught music lessons to the royal family. Haydn composed an remarkable amount of music for his employer. Haydn was also allowed to have his works published and to receive commissions from outside the estate, as long as they did not interfere with his duties.
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The Symphony
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A symphony is a piece of music written for an orchestra to play. It may be quite a long piece. In its most traditional form, it is divided into four parts, which are called movements . The first movement of a symphony is typically fast, and often in sonata-allegro (ABA) form. The second movement is usually slow. The third movement is traditionally a minuet (or a faster minuet called a scherzo) combined with a trio. The fourth movement is usually fast, and could be in ABA form or rondo (ABACA) form. There are lots of different ways of writing a symphony, but this is the pattern that was used most often by Haydn, who is known as the Father of the Symphony. Haydn composed 106 symphonies during his lifetime, many of them while employed at the Esterházy estate.
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The String Quartet
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A string quartet is a piece of music for four string instruments. The four instruments used in a string quartet are two violins, one viola and one cello. String quartets are one of the most popular forms of chamber music, and composers write for the string quartet to show their skills. Franz Joseph Haydn wrote many string quartets, making it a very popular form. All four parts were very clear and individual. By the time he had written his Opus 33 Quartets, he had standardized the form. There were always four movements, usually in this order: fast, slow, minuet, and fast.
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Haydn’s Later Years
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When Prince Nikolaus died, his successor got rid of the orchestra at the Esterházy estate, Haydn saw it as yet another opportunity. He packed his bags and traveled to London where he was commissioned by the entrepreneur J.P. Salomon to write symphonies and give concerts. The demand for new music was incredible. Even at the age of sixty, Haydn’s stamina was remarkable and he composed his London Symphonies including the Clock Symphony and the Surprise Symphony . He also heard Handel’s oratorios for the first time. After a return to Austria, Haydn turned to the oratorio. He wrote The Creation and The Seasons, tributes to his love of God and of nature. Haydn died at the age of 77 on May 31, 1809. His biographer wrote that Haydn passed from this world “quietly and peacefully,” just as he had lived.
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
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B:1756 D:1791
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Mozart’s Early Years
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As a three-year-old boy, Mozart played the clavier. He composed his first piece for the instrument when he had just turned five years old. At the age of six, Mozart was famous around Austria, giving public concerts and amazing everyone who saw and heard him. He soon left Austria and performed in other European countries. Mozart’s concert tours were nothing short of brilliant. Mozart’s older sister Nannerl often traveled with him, singing as he played. They traveled to Munich, Paris, and London. When Mozart was thirteen, he traveled to Rome. The Pope conferred knighthood on young Wolfgang as a tribute to his genius
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Mozart, post-child-star years
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At the age of twenty-five, Mozart married and settled in his homeland, Austria. The young couple struggled to clothe and feed themselves, and later their two children, although Mozart was for some time employed by Emperor Joseph of Austria. Musicians in the 1700’s were often not well paid, even famous ones. Despite Mozart’s notoriety and his employer’s means, the income Mozart earned was very low. Mozart’s salary was reported as less than $400 per year. Mozart composed masterpieces in every genre of music known to him, including symphonies, concertos, chamber music, church music, and operas, most of which are still famous today. Among his most acclaimed works are the operas Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute.
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Mozart’s last years
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Although Mozart died at the age of thirty-five, his legacy of music is incredible; not just in number but in diversity. His works span a wide gamut from the lively and happy to tender and gentle. His pieces are moving and sometimes sad. The eerie mystique of Mozart’s Requiem Mass, and Mozart’s preoccupation with its creation, is said by some to have been the cause of the composer’s death. Others have attributed the great maestro’s demise to poisoning by his rival, Antonio Salieri. A more likely possibility is that Mozart was inadvertently poisoned by his doctor when he was treated with mercury for rheumatic fever, a practice no longer used because of the metal’s toxicity. Other theories support diagnoses of streptococcal fever and typhus. Whatever the cause of Mozart’s death, his early death was the world’s loss. Despite his fame and notoriety, despite his brilliance as a composer, and despite his position in the Emperor’s court, Mozart was buried in a mass grave for the indigent.
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Ludwig van Beethoven
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B: December 17, 1770 D:1827 Baptized on December 17, 1770 Came from a family of musicians Child prodigy (like Mozart) Did not travel until he was in his teens In March 1787, he visited Vienna to meet Mozart and perhaps take lessons from him. Ludwig stayed in Vienna for 10 weeks. He returned to Bonn immediately upon receiving news that his mother was extremely ill. She died in July of tuberculosis. A few months later, he obtained the legal guardianship of his two younger brothers after his alcoholic father lost his job. He moved to Vienna in 1792, and began studying composition with Haydn
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Beethoven in Vienna
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When Haydn left for England in 1794, the Elector of Bonn (his patron) expected Ludwig to return home. Beethoven chose to stay in Vienna instead. Angered, his patron withdrew his support and gave him a dishonorable discharge. His first works were published in 1795. His First Symphony premiered in 1800. Beethoven had been told by one of his patrons that he would be the successor to Mozart. The work shows Haydn’s influence on Beethoven. The “Moonlight” piano Sonata, Op. 14, was published in 1802. It was dedicated to 20-year old Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, a piano student of his with whom he had fallen in love.
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The Heiligenstadt Testament
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Beethoven wrote this letter on October 6, 1802. Beethoven considered suicide after he realized he was losing his hearing, but chose to live because he felt he needed to compose more. The letter was intended to be delivered to his brothers after he died, as a way to explain to them the torment he felt and to act as a last will and testament. Beethoven never showed the letter to anyone, keeping it hidden. It was found after his death. When this letter was published in October of 1827, it enhanced a “larger than life” legend about Beethoven and his music. This “artist as hero” ideal would become an important element of Romantic era musicians.
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Beethoven’s Middle Period
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Beethoven began an unparalleled flurry of composition. His Third Symphony was originally dedicated to Napoleon, but upon hearing that Bonaparte had declared himself Emperor of Europe, an angry Beethoven furiously removed the name from the dedication, blotting the paper so hard that it tore. His Fifth and Sixth Symphonies were composed during this time. He also composed his only opera, Fidelio, during this period.
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The Third Symphony
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Beethoven would begin pushing the envelope even more with his works. The Eroica is one of his most influential works, foreshadowing some music ideas that would be followed in the later Romantic era. The work is longer than any symphony Mozart or Haydn had composed, lasting 50 minutes in performance. Earlier composers used existing material for their development sections in symphonies. Beethoven introduced new material in the development section of the first movement of the Eroica, which caused controvery. The work was premiered alongside a symphony by Anton Eberl, which got a more positive response at the time.
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The Fifth Symphony
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The first movement of this symphony may be the most famous musical work written by anyone, anytime, anywhere. The opening motif of four notes in short-short-short-long rhythm is expanded by sequences (playing the motif with different pitches) and cascading imitation so that the combination of all the motives begins to sound like one melody. It premiered on December 22, 1808 along with his Sixth Symphony.
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The Sixth Symphony
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Beethoven’s first title for this work was Recollections of a Country Scene. Beethoven normally disliked programmatic music, because he believed that programmatic titles indicated the music was inferior. He went to great lengths to let people know that this symphony was not like other “so-called music” that relied upon their titles to give the music any redeeming value. Sheet music publishers frequently added programmatic titles to Beethoven’s music in spite of his objections.
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Beethoven’s personal problems
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By 1814, Beethoven had reached the height of his fame. He was considered the greatest composer by the people of Vienna. It was also the last year he played the piano in public. His deafness made it impossible to continue performing. Beethoven had persistent romantic problems throughout his life. Because women Beethoven found appealing were from the noble class, they typically refused to have a relationship with him. He wrote a passionate letter to a woman he called the “Immortal Beloved.” While her identity cannot yet be proven, some music scholars believe she was Antonie Brentano, a diplomat’s daughter who was an art collector, philanthropist, and arts patron.
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More personal problems
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Beethoven had additional problems when his brother Caspar fell ill with tuberculosis. Ludwig took care of him, spending nearly every penny he had on treatments. When Caspar died, he left behind a son, Karl, who was nine years old. Ludwig wanted full custody of Karl because the boy’s mother had given birth to an illegitimate son, and because she had been previously convicted of theft. Ludwig had to go to court to get custody, and it took five years before he won. During this time, he composed almost nothing. For several years he looked after his nephew, but it was a difficult relationship. Ludwig insisted on the highest moral standards for Karl, and repeatedly interfered in Karl’s personal affairs. Beethoven was so overbearing that Karl attempted to kill himself in 1826. This affected Beethoven intensely, and drove Ludwig into a deep depression. Although they eventually reconciled, Karl joined the army in 1827. That was the last time they saw each other.
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Beethoven’s late period
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Beethoven began to study Bach and Handel’s music, and wanted to incorporate some Baroque elements in any future composition. Beethoven’s late period includes his Eighth and Ninth Symphonies ; the Missa Solemnis (a mass); five piano sonatas; and six string quartets, including the GroĂźe Fuge (Great Fugue). The GroĂźe Fuge was so difficult that very few people at the time understood the music. When it was first performed, critics thought that Beethoven’s deafness had finally affected his ability to compose; the music was not what audiences expected to hear. Today, people think the GroĂźe Fuge is one of the greatest works ever written for string quartet. Beethoven had foreshadowed the dissonance that would happen in orchestral music of the 20th century.
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The Ninth Symphony
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Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is often called the Choral Symphony because there is a choir and soloists in the last movement. At the time, people did not understand this either, because at that time a symphony did not use voices. Beethoven chose the words of a poem by Friedrich Schiller: An die Freude (Ode to Joy). He had wanted to put this poem to music for a long time, and when the Philharmonic Society of London asked Beethoven to write a symphony, he saw an opportunity. Beethoven began composing his Ninth Symphony in 1818, and finished in 1824. The premiere performance was not in London, but in Vienna. This famous work influenced the development of the compact disc. Philips and Sony could not agree about the size and capacity of the CD. Nico Rodenberg, president of Philips, was aware that Sony president Norio Ohga’s wife liked Beethoven. At the time, the most influential recording of the Ninth was 74 minutes long. Ohga agreed to Rodenberg’s compromise to make the CD length long enough to fit an entire performance of the Ninth.
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Beethoven’s Legacy
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Beethoven died on March 26, 1827. About 10,000 people came onto the streets to watch the funeral procession. Beethoven demanded respect from others (especially nobility). He also freely got admiration from nearly everyone. He was one of the first successful freelance artists in an era of patronage. Beethoven lived during the time of the French Revolution. He had strong views on independence and living free from tyranny. Some consider him a hero because of this. He had a wild and extreme personality; this was something that people in the Romantic Era always expected from great artists. Beethoven caused society to think of all musicians and artists as people with heroic, supernatural qualities. His music was so famous that some composers in the mid-to-late 19th century were afraid to write music and be compared to Beethoven. Other composers were superstitious and believed that after they wrote their ninth symphony, they would die. This became known as The Curse of the Ninth/
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The Romantic Era/Three Factions of Romanticism
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Progressives This group of composers wanted to expand the trends that Beethoven had started: bigger orchestras, more voices, longer compositions, new forms, epic themes, and an overwhelming use of programmatic titles. Emotion was more important than adherence to form. Nationalists This group of composers sought to create a style of music that would be identified with their country or ethnicity. This was usually done by using popular folk melodies or military marches that inspired patriotism. The titles of their works are often programmatic. Conservatives This group of composers wanted to use the expansions Beethoven had given to music, but thought they did not need to be greatly expanded further. These composers, for the most part, avoided programmatic titles except for operas, songs, and ballets.
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Franz Schubert
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B:1797 D:1828 Franz Schubert was an Austrian composer. Although he died at the age of 31 he composed over one thousand pieces of music. He is recognized as a composer who had a natural talent for writing exceptional melodies. While there were other great composers who lived and worked in Vienna (Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven), Schubert is the only one who was born in Vienna. Schubert’s songs are settings of German poems. German art songs (to contrast with peasant folk songs) are called lied or lieder. Schubert wrote a great deal of chamber music. Besides his over 600 leider, Schubert composed several string quartets and nine symphonies. His Eighth Symphony is also known as the Unfinished Symphony because it had only two movements.Schubert never worked for a wealthy patron, so he was very poor. Most of his life, he was supported by his friends who gave him manuscript paper when he could not afford it. Schubert died either from typhoid fever or syphilis. He was buried next to Beethoven at his request. Many of his greatest works only became widely known in the 1860s.Der Erlkönig (The Elf-King) is one of Schubert’s most famous leider. It tells the story of a man who is traveling home with his son, who is ill. He is experiencing visual and auditory hallucinations of an elven king who wants to take him away from his father. The piece is sung in different registers and vocal timbres to represent the narrator, the father, the son, and the Elf King.
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Hector Berlioz
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B:1803 D:1869 As a child, Berlioz studied flute and guitar. His father sent him to medical school, but Hector escaped by jumping out the window during one of his classes. His father never supported him after that, although the family reconciled after Hector became famous as a composer. Berlioz could not make any money from his compositions, so he made his living as a music critic, something he disliked. He is best known for his Symphonie Fantastique (An Episode in the Life of the Artist), written in 1827. A semi-autobiographical programmatic work, it tells the story of a man who experienced unrequited love. After a failed suicide attempt, the artist falls into a deep sleep and dreams of seeing his beloved, killing her, being tried and executed, and later attending a witch’s Sabbath where he watches his beloved join with the witches in intense worship. The piece made use of a Gregorian chant called the Dies Irae. Berlioz was not recognized as a great composer in France until after his death. He was recognized by other European countries and would frequently visit them. Berlioz wrote one of the first books on orchestration. The Symphonie Fantastique has a recurring motive called an idĂ©e fixe (fixed idea) that represents “the artist.” Matching a musical motive to a particular character would be developed during the Romantic era, especially in opera.
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Frederic Chopin
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B:1810 D:1849 Chopin is unique among composers because each of his compositions includes the piano. Nearly all of them are for solo piano. No other composer focused so exclusively on one instrument. While Chopin’s father was French, his mother was Polish, and he identified himself as Polish. Many of his pieces are based upon native Polish dances, such as the mazurka. Chopin had health problems all his life. He was especially susceptible to respiratory problems. In 1836 he was engaged, but his fiancĂ©’s parents forbid the marriage on the grounds that Chopin was too sickly to be a good husband. In 1837, Chopin met Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, a novelist who used the pen name George Sand. Chopin had a 10 year long affair with her. Chopin contracted tuberculosis after a trip to Great Britian in 1848. He died the following year in Paris.
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The Mighty Handful
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The Mighty Handful (or The Five) were a group of Russian composers dedicated to writing uniquely Russian music, largely based upon Russian folk tunes and themes that resembled Russian folk tunes. Mily Balakirev CĂ©sar Cui Modest Mussorgsky Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Alexander Borodin Tchaikovsky, perhaps the most famous Russian composer, was not part of this group because he composed in a more Viennese style.
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Franz Liszt
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B:1811 D:1886 Liszt was a Hungarian composer and pianist, and is one of the most important musicians of the 19th century. He was the greatest pianist of his time and went on lots of tours through Europe where everyone filled the concert halls to hear him. Many of his piano pieces were harder to play than anything that had been written before. In his compositions he often used new ideas which sounded very modern then. Liszt was flamboyant as a youth, and was considered one of the first international performing superstars. Liszt not only expanded the realm of piano music, but he also invented a new orchestral form, the symphonic poem. He thought that if music was telling a programmatic story, then the music should be subservient to the story. More conservative musicians would have either changed the story or refused to tell the story through music, feeling that the music was more important. Liszt had many love affairs and fathered several children from these affairs. Liszt took care of his children, even though he didn’t marry. In his later years, he took minor orders with the Catholic church and wrote religious music.
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The Development of the Phonograph
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Early experiments in acoustics resulted in the permanent recording of sound waves in a form that meant the original sound waves could eventually be played back. The phonautogram was a French invention that, in 1860, preserved the first human voice for posterity, although the recording was not played back until 2008. Edison’s original 1877 invention was not intended to reproduce music; he thought it was best suited for dictation purposes and to record telegraph signals. Cylinder recordings were replaced by flat disc records in the early 1900s. They had more storage capacity and better fidelity. The phonograph’s greatest impact does not take place until the 20th century, but it plays an important role in recreating the history of the late Romantic era.
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Johannes Brahms
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B:1833 D:1897 Johannes Brahms was a German pianist and composer. He was very self-critical and destroyed any composition he thought was not really good. He thought that people were expecting him to be the “next Beethoven,” and spent many years on his First Symphony before he allowed it to be performed. He wrote four symphonies, four concertos, a requiem, piano music, chamber music and songs. Perhaps his best known tune is Wiegenlied, also known as Brahms’ Lullaby. Brahms had a relationship with Clara Schumann, wife of composer Robert Schumann, after Robert passed away. There were many arguments in music circles over whether Brahms or Wagner was a better composer. This was because Brahms would be classified today as a Traditional or Conservative, whereas Wagner is classified as a Progressive.
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Other Nationalists
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Antonin Dvořák (B:1841 D:1904) Ninth Symphony “New World” Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (B:1875 D:1912) The Song of Hiawatha 24 Negro Melodies Deep River John Philip Sousa (B:1854 D:1932) Stars and Stripes Forever Washington Post
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Other Conservatives
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Felix Mendelssohn (B:1809 D:1847) Wedding March, A Midsummer’s Night Dream Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (B:1840 D:1893) The Nutcracker 1812 Overture
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Other Progressives
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Richard Strauss (B:1864 D:1949) Also Sprach Zarathustra Gustav Holst (B:1874 D:1934) The Planets Gustav Mahler (B:1860 D:1911) Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection” Symphony No. 8 “Symphony of a Thousand”
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Opera in the Romantic Era/Italians and Grand Opera
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The late Romantic era saw the Italians embrace opera with patriotic fervor as their own national music. Opera grew in size to become Grand Opera. One of the most famous of the late Italian Opera composers is Giuseppe Verdi (B:1813 D:1901). Verdi’s operas include Rigoletto, Nabucco ,La Traviata, Aida, Don Carlos, Otello, and Falstaff
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French Opera
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Two important composers of French opera are Georges Bizet (B:1838 D:1875) and Jacques Offenbach (B:1819 D:1880). Bizet’s opera Carmen was controversial in French society because its two main characters were a promiscuous gypsy cigarette girl and a bullfighter. Ticket sales were so poor and the reviews so negative for the first performances that tickets had to be given away. Bizet died of a heart attack before he would know how popular his opera would become. Offenbach was dissatisfied with grand opera, and began writing short one and two act operas, which he called operettas. His most famous operetta is Orpheus in the Underworld, which features the famous work Can-Can
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The Verismo Movement 1
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Verismo is an Italian literary style that was transferred to opera. It began around 1890, although Carmen (released earlier) is also an example of this style. The style is distinguished by realistic (and sometimes sleazy or violent) depictions of contemporary everyday life, especially the life of the lower classes. Famous verismo operas include: “Pagliacci” by Ruggero Leoncavallo (B:1857 D:1919) “La Bohème” by Giocomo Puccini (B:1858 D:1924) “Tosca” by Giocomo Puccini “Madama Butterfly” by Giocomo Puccini The realistic approach of verismo extends to music in that the score of a verismo opera is for the most part continuous and is not divided into separate numbers in the score, which can be excerpted easily and performed in concert. No verismo melody, fragment, or motive is composed simply because it sounds pretty. The purpose of every note in a verismo score is to convey or reflect scenery, action, or a character’s feelings.
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The Verismo Movement 2
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Placido Domingo sings Vesti, La Giubba from Pagliacci. Domingo holds the world’s record for the longest standing ovation. On June 30, 1991, after a performance of Verdi’s Otello in Vienna, Austria, the audience applauded for 80 minutes.
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German Opera and Richard Wagner
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B:1813 D:1883 Richard Wagner ) was one of the most revolutionary and controversial composers in musical history. He gradually evolved a new concept of opera as a Gesamtkunstwerk (“complete work of art”), a fusion of music, poetry and painting. In his later music dramas, he abolished the distinction between aria and recitative in favor of a seamless flow of what he called “endless melody.” He increased the role and power of the orchestra, creating scores with a complex web of recurring themes often associated with the characters and concepts of the drama. These themes would be called leitmotifs, and are similar to Berlioz’s idĂ©e fixe. Wagner was prepared to violate accepted musical conventions, such as tonality, in his quest for greater expressiveness. Wagner also brought a new philosophical dimension to opera in his works, which were usually based on epic stories from Germanic or Arthurian legend. Finally, Wagner built his own opera house at Bayreuth, exclusively dedicated to performing his own works in the style he wanted. The opera house is still active. Tickets for performances in Bayreuth sell out years in advance.
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Der Ring des Nibelungen
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Wagner wrote the libretto and music for this epic quadrilogy over the course of twenty-six years, from 1848 to 1874. The four operas that constitute the Ring are, in the order of the mythical events they portray: Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold) Die WalkĂĽre (The Valkyrie) Siegfried Götterdämmerung (The Twilight of the Gods) The plot revolves around a magic ring that grants the power to rule the world, forged by the Nibelung dwarf Alberich from gold he stole from the Rhinemaidens in the river Rhine. Several mythic figures struggle for possession of the ring, including Wotan, the chief of the gods. Wotan’s scheme, spanning generations, to overcome his limitations, drives much of the action in the story. His grandson, the hero Siegfried, wins the ring, as Wotan intended, but is eventually betrayed and slain. Finally, the Valkyrie BrĂĽnnhilde, Siegfried’s lover and Wotan’s estranged daughter, returns the Ring to the Rhinemaidens. In the process, the gods and their home, Valhalla, are destroyed. This epic was parodied by Warner Bros. in the cartoon What’s Opera, Doc?
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Tristain und Isolde
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Tristan und Isolde has often been cited as a landmark in the development of Western music. Throughout Tristan , Wagner uses a remarkable range of orchestral color, harmony and polyphony and does so with a freedom rarely found in his earlier operas. The very first chord in the piece, known even today as the Tristan chord, is of great significance in the move away from traditional tonal harmony towards atonality as it resolves to another dissonant chord. In one survey of music historians and music theorists, Tristan ranked #2 among works that changed music forever.
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English Operetta
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In Great Britain, Victorian audiences turned to the light operetta style that was originally developed by Offenbach. The most important composers of English operetta are the team of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Gilbert wrote the librettos and Sullivan composed the music. Their operas have enjoyed broad international success. Several are still performed frequently throughout the English-speaking world. Gilbert & Sullivan introduced innovations in content and form that directly influenced American musical theatre in the 20th century. The Pirates of Penzance poked fun at grand opera conventions, sense of duty, family obligation, the “respectability” of civilization, the British noble classes, and unqualified people in positions of authority, in the person of the “modern Major-General” who has up-to-date knowledge about everything except the military.
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L’Orfeo.
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Claudio Monteverdi./ 1607/ Baroque
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Canon in D
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Johann Pachelbel./ 1694/ Baroque
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Toccata & Fugue in D minor
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J. S. Bach../ 1703/ Baroque
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Concerto Grosso in D minor 2
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Arcangelo Corelli./ 1714/ Baroque
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Water Music-Hornpipe
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George Frideric Handel./ 1717/ Baroque
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Brandenburg Concerto 3-Allegro Moderato
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J. S. Bach./ 1721/ Baroque
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Well-Tempered Clavier-Fugue in C minor
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J. S. Bach/ 1722/ Baroque
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Four Seasons-Spring
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Antonio Vivaldi/ 1723/ Baroque
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Messiah
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George Frideric Handel./ 1741/ Baroque
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Solfeggietto
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Carl Phillip Emmanuel Bach. / 1759/ Classical
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Minuet K1
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart/ 1762/ Classical
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String Quartet Op1 No2 m4
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Franz Joseph Haydn/ 1763/ Classical
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Symphony 47 m3
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Franz Joseph Haydn/ 1772/ Classical
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Symphony 40 m1
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart/ 1788/ Classical
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Symphony 94 m2
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Franz Joseph Haydn/ 1791/ Classical
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The Magic Flute-Der Hoelle Rache
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart/ 1791/ Classical
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Piano Sonata 14 m1
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Ludwig van Beethoven/ 1801/ Classical
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Symphony 5 m1
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Ludwig van Beethoven/ 1808/ Classical
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Erlkonig (The Elf King)
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Franz Schubert/ 1815/ Romantic
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Symphony 9 m4
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Ludwig van Beethoven/ 1824/ Classical
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Symphony Fantasique m4 March to the Gallows
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Hector Berlioz/ 1830/ Romantic
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Hungarian Rhapsody 2
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Franz Liszt/ 1847/ Romantic
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Camptown Races-Old Uncle Ned-Ring De Banjo
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Foster/ 1850/ Romantic
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RigolettoLa Donna e Mobile
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Giuseppe Verdi/ 1851/ Romantic
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Tristain Und Isolde.
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Richard Wagner/ 1859/ Romantic
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Night on Bald Mountain
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Modest Mussorgsky/ 1867/ Romantic
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Die Walkure-hojotoho
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Richard Wagner/ 1870/ Romantic
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Carmen-Habanera
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Georges Bizet/ 1875/ Romantic
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Major Generals Song
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Gilbert & Sullivan/ 1879/ Romantic
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Arabesque 1
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Debussy/ 1888/ Romantic
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Stars and Stripes Forever
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Sousa/ 1897/ Romantic
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Hello! Ma Baby
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Howard & Emerson/ 1899/ Romantic
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Maple Leaf Rag
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Joplin/ 1899/ Romantic
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Flight of the Bumblebee
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Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov/ 1899/ Romantic
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Madame Butterfly-Un bel di vedremo
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Giocomo Puccini/ 1904/ Romantic

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