Queen Anne of Austria Cardinal Mazarin
The Palace at Versailles • Hall of Mirrors • Extravagance • Versailles • Landscaping
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.
How evil is opera? 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.”
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 Music • Equal tempered tuning
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.
Harpsichord Harpsichord, ca. 1675Made by Michele TodiniRome, Italy
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.
Order of the Dance Suite Overture (Optional)Allemande Germany 4/4 time Moderate Courante French 3/4 time Moderate Sarabande Spain 3/4 time Slow Other Dances (Optional)Minuet Gavotte BourreeGigue England 6/8 time Fast
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) B: Left staff (treble clef) A: Upper staff (tenor clef) C: Right staff (alto clef) H: 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.