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Music in the Classical Period Franz Joseph Haydn & Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
General Characteristics of Classical Music It is meant to be easy on the ear. Direct reaction to the complexity of Baroque music. Balance, clarity, accessibility. Melody with accompaniment (homophony). Melodies are tuneful and catchy (2-4 measure phrases). Harmony is simple, logical and clear (few dissonances). No basso continuo (walking or Alberti Bass).
Three Main Qualities Melody is most important part. Tuneful and balanced. Simple harmony. Light accompaniment.
Classical Opera Opera buffa – comic opera. Simple music, amusing plot, real characters. Performed in palace and public opera houses. Reaction to problems with Baroque Opera. Mythology/historical Not real people or situations Music too heavy and complex.
Symphony Most important instrumental genre. Began as sinfonia (overture to opera). Three movements (Fast, Slow, Fast) Begins to look like the modern symphony.
Mannheim, Germany Center of symphonic composition and performance. Johann Stamitz, conductor Expanded sinfonia to four movements Mvt 1 – Fast and serious (sonata form) Mvt 2 – Slow and lyrical (aria form) Mvt 3 – Graceful and moderate (dance form) Mvt 4 – Fast and lively (Rondo form) Structure of the orchestra expanded Full strings, woodwinds (flute/oboe, horn), trumpets and drums, later added bassoons and clarinets. Mannheim Steamroller - Crescendo
Chamber Music Music for the Middle Class to play at home. String Quartet – Violin I & II, viola, cello Ideal balance to match SATB voice types. Followed the symphonic patterns. Sonatas Solo keyboard or keyboard + solo instrument. 1775 – pianoforte replaces harpsichord. Composers wrote and improvised from the keyboard (often performing their own music).
Strict Conventions and Forms Mvt. 1 - Sonata Form Exposition – state the two themes (firs in tonic, second in dominant). Development – develop the themes by changing keys, etc. Recapitulation – replay the two themes, both in the tonic key. Coda – optional ending Used for the most serious musical ideas. Mvt. 2 – Aria Form Lyrical and song- like. ABA form Triple meter Contrasting keys with new material. Less serious than Sonata Form
Forms (cont.) Mvt. 3 – Minuet and Trio Form Minuet – Dance in Binary form (AABB usually in ¾ time) Trio – Different music in binary form (CCDD) Return to original Minuet (AB) Makes for an overall ternary form (ABA). Mvt. 4 – Rondo form Simplest of all forms (most accessible). New music always returns to a main theme. ABACADA…….
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) Began musical career as choir boy in Vienna (learned to play harpsichord and violin). 1761 – hired as assistant music director to Prince Esterhazy 1762 – Palace Esterhaza built 2 large music rooms and 2 opera theatres. 1766 – promoted to Music Director
Haydn’s Musical Duties As music director he was expected to write, direct or perform 2 operas and 2 concerts each week, extra concerts for important visitors, dinner music and chamber music for the Prince’s rooms. As a result he wrote over 100 symphonies, 70 string quartets, 50+ keyboard sonatas, and numerous choral and solo voice pieces. Last 12 symphonies written in London.
Haydn’s Music Operas – Wrote many, but few are still performed today. Symphonies – Wrote well over 100. Expanded the size by emphasizing brass, clarinets and percussion. Added crescendos and accents. Father of the String Quartet First to develop the genre Masses Oratorios – The Creation & The Seasons Musical Jokes Credited with inventing the false recapitulation Surprise/Farewell Symphonies
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791
Leopold Mozart Mozart’s father was a performer, composer, author and music theorist. Wrote one of the most important contributions to music theory. Sacrificed his own career to further his son’s. Domineering personality who took Mozart on tour at a young age.
The Child Prodigy Age 4 – Learned to play harpsichord and violin. Age 6 – wrote his first compositions and started touring (10yrs). Age 10 – First Symphony Age 14 – First Opera Age 17 – Hired by Archbishop of Salzburg
Mozart’s Family Mother died while he was very young. Sister, Nanerl, also was musically gifted. 1782 Married Constanze Weber
Mozart’s Early Music Released by the Archbishop for disorderly conduct and began freelance composing. Considered too young and overqualified for most jobs. Moved to Vienna 1782 – First major opera, The Abduction from the Seraglio Wrote string quartets to emulate Haydn. Made a living by performing his piano concertos.
Mozart’s Late Music Losing fame and poorly managed money. Late works are the most impressive. Symphonies 37, 40, 41 Operas 1786 – Marriage of Figaro 1787 – Don Giovanni 1791 – Magic Flute (Die Zauberflote) Requiem
Mozart’s Characteristics Accessible and highly refined. Instilled a sense of drama in all of his music. Master of melody, tuneful and catchy. Mastered all Classical genres. Wrote more than 800 compositions in 35 years.
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