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The Classical Period

The Classical Period

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The Classical Period

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  1. The Classical Period 1750-1820

  2. Characteristics • Music should be stripped of non-essentials making it simple and easy to comprehend • Logic, order and balance • Standard genres, musical forms, and ensembles • Music is meant to please and entertain

  3. Contrast of mood • Variety and contrast of mood within pieces • Changes in mood may be gradual or sudden • Composer has firm control over conflict and contrast

  4. Rhythm • Flexibility of rhythm • Variety of rhythm patterns • Unlike continuity and predictability of the Baroque, there may be unexpected pauses, syncopations, and frequent changes from long to short notes • Changes may be gradual or sudden

  5. Texture • Homophony reigns • Polyphonic sections may be added for contrast

  6. Melody • Melodies have a folk or pop like character • Tuneful and easy to sing and remember • Symmetrical and balanced

  7. Melody (cont.) • Crescendos and decrescendos are more prominent • The basso continuo is no longer the most prominent accompaniment to melody

  8. Standard Ensembles: The Classical Orchestra • Four families: strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion are standard (see pg. 152) which provide for variety in timbres • Classical orchestra is larger than the Baroque and may vary in size (27-60)

  9. Standard Ensembles • Chamber music: music to be performed in a more intimate setting than a concert hall. Chamber music is performed by a small group of two to nine musicians • String Quartet: 2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello • Piano trio:violin, cello and piano • Violin and piano (sonatas)

  10. Musical Examples • Symphony #40 in G Minor by Mozart • String Quartet in C Minor by Beethoven • Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven • Piano Trio by

  11. Standard Compositions • The symphony: Multi movement work for orchestra • String quartet: multi movement work for four musicians (a mini symphony) • Sonata: composition for solo instrument and piano or for piano solo • Serenade: a multi-movement work for strings that in light and entertaining

  12. Standard Compositions (cont.) • The Classical Concerto: a three movement work for solo and orchestra • Mass: five sung prayers for Christian worship • Oratorios: multi-movement work for chorus, vocal soloists and orchestra • Opera buffa: Italian comic opera • Minuet and trio: ABA dance in triple meter

  13. Classical Composers • Three titans of the Classical Era: • Joseph Haydn • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart • Ludwig Van Beethoven

  14. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart1756-1791 • Austrian born child prodigy and genius • Trained by father who was a professional musician • Touring child superstar (featured with his sister, Nanerl) • Only patron was the archbishop of Salzburg His difficult personality led him to a career of free-lancing

  15. Mozart’s Compositions (cont.) • Operas Buffa: The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and the Magic Flute • Numerous symphonies, masses, sonatas, string quartets and concertos for a variety of instruments

  16. Symphony #40 in G Minor, K.550Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart • Four movements:Molto Allegro, Andante, Menuetto,and Allegro assai • First movement is in sonata form: (intro.) -exposition-development-recapitulation-(coda)

  17. Piano Concerto No. 23 in A MajorWolfgang Amadeus Mozart • Classical Concerto: Three movement work for soloist and orchestra • Cadenza:Unaccompanied virtuoso displayat the end of the first or last movement of the concerto • 1st Movement (Allegro con brio) is in sonata form

  18. Eine kleine NachtmusikWolfgang Amadeus Mozart • Multi-movement work for string ensemble • Composition is a serenade: light chamber • Third Movement: Minuet and Trio

  19. The Magic FluteWolfgang Amadeus Mozart • Opera Buffa written the last year of Mozart’s life • Theme of the opera is the brotherhood of man • The Queen of the Night is a coloratura soprano

  20. Joseph Haydn1732-1809 • Austrian born • Humble beginnings: began musical training at as a choirboy in Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral • At age 29 he became employed by the noble, wealthy, Hungarian, Esterhazy family • He worked for them for about 30 years

  21. Haydn (cont.) • Duties included conducting and rehearsing the orchestra, coaching singers, instrument manager, music librarian composer and produced two concerts, two operas, and chamber music weekly • Numerous works include chamber music, concerti, symphonies oratorios and masses

  22. Trumpet Concerto in Eb MajorJoseph Haydn • Written for a friend who had just invented the keyed trumpet which increased the number of tones the instrument could produce • Later the keyed trumpet was replaced for a valve trumpet which had a nicer timbre • Concerto has 3 movements • Listen for the cadenza in the first movement

  23. Symphony No. 94 in G Major (Surprise)Joseph Haydn • Symphony reflects Haydn’s sense of humor • Second movement is in theme and variations form • Theme has a folk like quality and is easy to remember • Listening guide is on page 163

  24. Ludwig Van Beethoven1770-1827 • Born in Bonn, Germany into a family of musicians • At age 22: left Germany for Vienna, studies with Haydn and established himself as a concert pianist and composer • At age 29: Started to go deaf, contemplated suicide but decided to live for his art

  25. Beethoven(cont.) • Eccentric, dressed sloppily, lived in 40 different places in his lifetime • Couldn’t keep a housekeeper or a cook • Musically, he was orderly, methodical, and a perfectionist • He was more deliberate in his composing than Mozart

  26. Beethoven (cont.) • Because he uses standard Classical forms with emotional intensity and power, he bridged the Classical Era with the Romantic • He wrote 9 symphonies, 32 piano sonatas16 string quartets, 5 piano concertos, two masses and one opera. • First composer to be considered and “artist”

  27. String Quartet in C Minor,Op.18, No.4Ludwig Van Beethoven • Fourth movement is in rondo form: A B A C A B A • Listen for gypsy-like rondo theme

  28. Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 • Opening rhythmic motive is fate knocking at the door or possibly Morse code • All four movements are unified with this rhythm • Listen to Movement I. Allegro Con Brio • Listening guide on page 194-195

  29. Symphony No. 9 (Ode to Joy)Ludwig Van Beethoven • First symphony to use full chorus and vocal soloists • Work is auto biographical • Last movement unifies all the movements and is theme and variations on Ode to Joy