Opera in France Tragedie lyrique: combo of dance scenes, lyrical music and plot based upon courtly love. Jean Bapiste Lully (1632-1687) father of French opera
How evil is opera? a French critic, late 1600s: Opera is a bizarre affair made up of poetry and music, in which the poet and the musician, each equally obstructed by the other, give themselves no end of trouble to produce a wretched work.
Opera was illegal in Rome in the early 1700s. an English critic, 1872: Opera is to be regarded “musically, philosophically, and ethically, as an almost unmixed evil.” How evil is opera?
Opera in England James I (r. 1603-25) Charles I (1625-490 Stuart Kings Supported musical plays called “masques” to be performed in private palaces. Very popular during this period of time.
Commonwealth Period 1649-60 Ruled by the Puritans Opera, Stage Plays, Secular forms of entertainment were forbidden. Considered blasphemous Plays set to music could be performed if set with the proper precautions. John Blow is the first English masque writer. His pupil, Henry Purcell (1659) was the first major English Opera Composer.
Dido and Aeneas (1689) Dido, filled with grief meets her death. (loss of love) Climbs a funeral pyre. Music: descending line in ground bass is a sign of grief in baroque music. Descending line paints “laid in earth.” Use of ground bass. Use of dotted rhythms to denote royalty.
Dido and Aeneas, Act III Dido’s Lament Virgil’s Aeneid Adventures of Aeneas after the fall of Troy Aeneas is stranded in Carthage, Northern African coast Falls in love with Dido, Queen of Carthage Aeneas pushes her away as he must leave for Italy…. Soon to be the founder of Rome.
After Dido... English preferred spoken drama Purcell wrote some “Semi-operas” Example: The Fairy Queen (1692) Opera had support of the monarchy in France and the public in Italy, but from neither in England
Baroque Instrumental Music This is the first time that we see instrumental music sharing the same stature as vocal music. For the first time, there was a clear separation of Vocal and Instrumental music
Baroque Instrumental Practice There were no ‘classics’, so contemporary composers were very prolific Modulations and chromatic harmonies and melodies. Virtuosity (music that shows off the technical skills of the performer)
Baroque Instrumental Evolution Early Baroque Instrumental music uplifted musical line rather than blend. Late Baroque music will focus more on the idea of blend and refined orchestration.
Keyboard Instruments Three main instruments Organ: sacred venues and some home chapels Tracker Action Great, positive, and portative organ Harpsichord: basso continuo for orchestra and dance music. Solo instrument. Strings plucked by a Plectrum. Clavichord: strings struck by hammers made originally from bone. Precursor to the piano.
The keyboard, allowed composers to think vertically (tonal system) rather than horizontally (modal system) more than one note could be played at a time.
The Baroque Suite Instrumental dance music from the Renaissance period now refined in a new style of sound and compositional technique. Pastiche of different international styles of dance forms. First function was dancing at social functions. Other functions: dinner music.
Overture (Optional) Allemande Germany 4/4 time Moderate Courante French 3/4 timeModerate SarabandeSpain 3/4 timeSlow Other Dances (Optional) Minuet Gavotte Bourree GigueEngland 6/8 timeFast Order of the Dance Suite
Types of Dances AllemandeGermanQuadruple CouranteFrenchTriple Jig (Gigue)English/French6/8 or 6/4 SarabandeSpanishTriple MinuetItalian peasantTriple GavotteFrench pastoralDuple peasant Bourree’French livelyDuple peasant PassepiedFast French minuet Triple peasant
Innovations Instrument building families Stradivarius, Guarneri, and Amati Strings Cat gut Slightly different playing technique….bowing Woodwinds: mellow sound as opposed to a more brassy sound in modern times.
Innovations Brass Originally a military instrument for signals Without valves Key changes made by inserting longer or shorter crooks in the horn.
The Concerto A three movement piece (FSF) music that is created from two masses or bodies of sound. Concertare – to contend with or to compete with.
The Two Masses of Sound Concertino: small group. Tutti or ripieno: large group (orchestra) tutti (all) ripieno (full)
The Life of J.S. Bach Born in Eisenach, Germany, which was also the birthplace of Martin Luther. Bach’s family supplied musicians. Musician’s agent, or broker. Orphaned at age of ten, raised by his older brother. Brother was an organist and Bach’s first music teacher (family apprenticeship)
Background J. S. Bach is one of the most well- researched composers with more each year
The Bach family was made up of more than 70 composers and performers in Germany from the 16th to the early 19th centuries.
His father, Johann Ambrosius Bach (1645- 1695), was a renowned violinist and was employed as a court trumpeter and music director in the town of Eisenach. Bach probably learned to play the violin at an early age from his father.
His mother, Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt (1644-1694), also came from a musical family.
Johann Sebastian Bach Over 1000 musical pieces in every genre except opera Cantatas (1 per week for 8 years) Public complained for his flowery music Protestant themes (in search of God) Musicians felt his music too difficult
Bach’s Signature J.S.Bach (musical) cross. Bach signed himself with a single note (using 4 different pitches) BB: Left staff (treble clef)clef AA: Upper staff (tenor clef) CC: Right staff (alto clef) HH: Lower staff (treble clef)
Bach’s Work Church Musician Write music for services Play organ Teach choirs Teach soloists Conduct orchestra, choirs Court Musician Wrote music for entertainment Wrote commissioned pieces School teacher Organ teacher Organ construction consultant Composer—sacred & secular music Husband/father
Bach’s Career Early positions Arnestadt, Germany 1703-07 Organist Muhlhausen Organist. These were not significant positions but rather churches with small forces for music. A good starting point for his career.
Bach became an organist in Arnstant in 1703 and stayed there until 1707, when he went to Muhlhausen until 1708. He showed a bit of his temper, having arguments with both employers. In 1707, he married his cousin, Maria Barbara. They went on to have 7 children, before she died in 1721.
The Big Three Weimar, Germany Secular position Employed by the Duke of Weimar There were many differences between the Duke and J. S. Bach.
Weimar Bach serves as an organist to the Ducal Chapel and as a chamber musician. Duke preferred the older style of hymns and accompaniment in worship. He was not interested in Bach’s innovations. Bach was resolved not to change his personal style of composition.
Weimar Bach, as a member of the patronage system was in fact considered the “property” of the Duke. He was imprisoned for almost a month for trying to leave the Duke’s employment without the Duke’s permission. Finally he was allowed to leave after Bach simply made the life of the Duke miserable.
Bach’s second position: Cothen. 1717-23 Secular position for the Prince of Anhalt- Cothen (cousin to the Duke of Weimar) Here Bach wrote his famous suites, concerti, sonatas, and a large amount of keyboard music. The six Brandenburg Concerti for the Margrave of Brandenburg.
Leipzig: The third great position Leipzig was a musical and cultural center of southeastern Germany. St. Thomas Kirche (church) was the center of religious music in Leipzig. Bach’s position. Music director Organist Cantor Responsible for all of the music for every large Lutheran church in the district. Director of the “collegium musicum”
“Since the best man could not be obtained, mediocre ones would have to be accepted.” -Leipzig town council member commenting on the hiring of Bach
Bach composed many pieces of music and they are often listed with the letters BWV followed by a number. Such as: BWV #212 or such. BWV is an abbreviation for Bach Werke Verzeichniss, which is a catalog of Bach's works. The catalog is organized by genre, not in the order the pieces were composed. During the earlier years at Leipzig, Bach’s work demonstrated his ability of storytelling using dramatic melodies or chords to represent different events of life. Example of this style include: The Passion of St. John (1723) Magnificant (1723) The Passion According to St. Matthew (1729) Christmas Oratoro (1734)
In 1721, Bach married Anna Magdalena Wilken, who was a professional singer. They ended up having 13 more children during their marriage. This brings Bach’s total of children to 20!!! Bach made a final move to Leipzig in 1723. There he became the Director of Music at the St.Thomas School and the Cantor for the St. Thomas Church. He was responsible for all music in all 4 churches in the town. It is interesting to see that Bach did not travel much during his lifetime and stayed within a small area of Germany.
Born 1685 1703-1708 1708-1717 1717-1723 1723-1750 Germany Bach’s life and work
The Cantata A multi-movement work for the Lutheran worship service that is a musical statement backing the text of the current day’s liturgy. Based upon famous hymn or chorale tunes. Aria Recitative Instrumental accompaniment (small orchestra)
Fugue Form- A – B – A 1 A – Exposition – Exposes the subject in all voices Voice 1-Subject Voice 2-Answer Voice 3-Subject Countersubject Cadence Fugue Form
Subject alone Subject in alto Subject in tenor Subject in bass EpisodeEpisode Picture this fugue:
Innovations in Orchestra Concertos Solo instruments Grosso led to orchestra works Composers notation: Specified instrumental parts Dynamic markings and speed Key signature in the title
Did you know? Bach shares his birth year with G.F.Handel. Handel also had cataract surgery performed by oculist John Taylor. American composer, Edward MacDowell said, "Bach and Handel were in every way quite different, except that both were born in the same year and killed by the same doctor”.
By 1748 Bach was nearly blind from cataracts. In March and April of 1750, he was operated on by the English oculist John Taylor. The operations and the treatment that followed them may have hastened Bach's death. Johann Sebastian Bach died on July 28, 1750.