THE question of what sort of music should be employed In opera Is a fundamental one, and has given rise to more controversies, heart-burnings, and recriminations than any other matter, since it lies at the root of all differences between schools or individuals.
In the earliest times, we find a declamatory style; in the works of the Venetians, melody asserts itself; with Scarlatti, musical learning Is pressed into service; in the epoch of Handel, a conventional form dominates the stage; the efforts of Cluck bring back something of an earlier dramatic style, with vastly increased sources in the orchestra; Mozart reverts again to a more melodic method, enforcing It with correct expression and consummate orchestral skill.
There can be no doubt that the best results In all these different styles would be due, not merely to the use of good music, but also to its proper adaptation to the dramatic situation. Whether a libretto be worthy or not is hardly a question for the musical critic, though of course it has much to do with the popularity of the opera. In the days of the eighteenth century, the drama was a much more conventional affair than at present. With
England a prey to the cunning artifice of the Pope-Dryden group of poets, France but lately emerged from the courtly superficiality of El Grand Marquee, Germany still in the grasp of Paris fashions, and Italy possessing little of the earlier Renaissance vitality, It was no wonder that literature did not show any of the free exuberance of thought that came later in the Romanticism of the nineteenth century. So even under the best circumstances there was an amount of conventionality in all the earlier librettos that forced the audiences of their day to judge largely by the music.
To quote a later saying, “Whatever was too silly to be spoken could be sung. ” When the classical period In musical history appeared, with the advent of the symphonic school, and the full orchestral resources were employed to mingle intellectual and emotional effects in their proper balance by uniting melody with harmony, it is not surprising to find a school of operatic composers who reflected the spirit of their time. They devoted all their study and inspiration to the task of producing the best possible music, and employing it in an effort to raise the standard of the stage.
If their operas are seldom given today, it is because these works are both too good and not good enough; to good for an unthinking public that considers opera merely Intended to tickle Its ears with melody, and not good enough to hold their own against the great advance in dramatic realism that has taken place since their day. When they appeared, however, their librettos possessed a passionate intensity that was new on the stage, and their pure and lofty harmonies were synonymous with all that was best in classical music.
It Is a significant fact that Germany, the country that s most appreciative of “pure music” (I. E. Instrumental compositions without the extraneous aid of any plot), should be the place where these works are most warmly received today. The first of the composers to whom this lengthy preamble is dedicated was Cherubic. Born In Florence, In 1760, he soon proved himself a genius, and by the age of twenty he had become thoroughly proficient in the old sacred style that gave Italy its renown.
During the next eight years “a change came o’er the spirit devoted himself to the production of conventional Italian operas. In 1788, however, after settling in Paris, he deliberately discarded the light Neapolitan style, and in his first French work, “Demon,” showed marked indications of the grandeur he was destined to attain in his later operas. His Parisian career thus began within a decade of Cluck’s departure, and he, rather than the indecisive Saltier, is the logical successor of the German reformer.
Despite the ignorance of the military leaders during the Revolution, and the opposition of Napoleon in the Consulate, Cherubic remained master of the musical situation in Paris, and Paris was dramatically in advance of the rest of the world. If “Demon” was an interesting suggestion, rather than a successful achievement, its promise was amply fulfilled with the production of ‘Lidos,” in 1791. This work, which made its composer famous throughout the Nor, obliterated in an instant the melodious trifles that had been in vogue since Cluck’s departure.
Its deep earnestness, its profound learning, its harmonic and melodic richness, and its great dramatic strength won instant approval, and kept the piece on the boards for nearly two hundred times during its first year. Its story, rather poorly arranged, deals with the efforts of Addition’s lover to rescue her from he castle of a more powerful rival, and introduces an assault by Tartars at the close, to make a diversion that ensures her final escape. After “Elise” (1794) came a still greater success, in the shape of “Mede” (1797).
Its grandeur and classic proportion rendered it a masterpiece, while its tremendous dramatic strength and sublimity Non general admiration. Yet the opera at first was not a success,–no doubt because TTS music was too harmonic to suit the masses. Its weak points are a poor libretto, a decided monotony in its general tone, and a too complete centering of interest in the title rГ¶el. Three years later (1800) came another great production, “Less Deuce Orionsees. ” The action of this opera takes place in the time of Cardinal Mazurka, and deals with the fortunes of the deputy Armband, who has incurred the enmity of the prelate.
The gates of Paris are strictly guarded, and all precautions are taken to prevent Armband’s escape. He is saved from capture by the water-carrier Mike’, “hose son he had once befriended, and he makes his way out of the city concealed n Mike’s water-cart. In the neighboring village of Goners, however, he is captured by the cardinal’s troops while protecting his wife Constance from the rudeness of two oldie’s. The dmonument comes in the shape of a pardon from the queen, and all ends happily.
The style of the music is so genial and natural, so full of warmth of feeling and expressive charm, that it must undoubtedly rank as Cherubim’s best opera. The attacks on the declamatory style of “Mede” were hardly Justified here, for, as Fits says, “There is a copiousness of melody in Cherubic, especially in ‘Less Deuce Journosees;’ but such is the rudeness of the accompanying harmony, and the brilliant coloring of the instrumentation, … That the merit of the melody was not appreciated at its Just value.
A more modern writer (Ritter), in reference to this and other operas of the composer, says, “They will remain for the earnest student a classic source of exquisite artistic enjoyment, and serve as models of a perfect mastery over the deepest resources and means that the rich field of musical art presents. ” The only later work of Cherubic that needs mention here is “Fantasia,” brought out in Vienna in 1806. Founded on a plot somewhat similar to “Lidos,” it Beethoven and Haydn, both of whom were anxious to bear homage to the truly great composer.
He produced several other operas in Paris, all more or less successful. Concerning “Less Pancreases,” Mendelssohn wrote that he could not sufficiently ‘admire the sparkling fire, the clever original phrasing, the extraordinary delicacy and refinement with which the whole is written, or feel grateful enough to the grand old man for it. ” The latter part of Cherubim’s long career was devoted to teaching and sacred compositions, and at his death, in 1842, his fame in church music rivaled his reputation in opera.
The works of Mull (1763-1817) and Leisure (1763-1837) are the only ones of the time that ranked with Cherubim’s. Mull, especially, was successful n continuing and improving the grand style of Cluck, and his operas are marked everywhere by a powerful directness that is not inappropriate to the stormy days of the Revolution. Leisure possessed a certain large simplicity of style, but his works are somewhat less effective than those of his compeer. The logical successor of Cherubic was Spotting (1774-1851). Born at Majolica, he soon devoted himself to the study of music, and in 1791 entered a Neapolitan conservatory.
After several years of Italian operatic triumphs, he too, decided to try his fortunes in Paris, and in 1803 he entered the gay capital. The next year saw the production of his first French effort, the one-act opera “Milton. ” Three years afterward he produced the masterpiece that gained immortality for him in the musical world,–“La Vestals. ” His renown was increased by “Fernando Cortez” (1809), but after this he brought forth nothing worthy of mention for ten years, and even his “Olympia” (1819) can hardly compare with the two earlier works.
Spotting professed a great admiration for Mozart, but his music is direct outcome of the chaste simplicity of Cluck’s style. Unlike Cherubic, he showed the prevailing fault of the Italian race,–one that has been evident in opera until Nothing the last three decades of the nineteenth century,–a lack of the harmonic sense. This very “instinct for the logic of harmony” is Just what has caused the greatness of modern music in the classical and subsequent periods, so it is not surprising to find Spouting’s works on the shelf at present.
Yet in his day he was Introit a rival in popular favor, and his compositions exerted undoubted influence on such diverse natures as Wagner and Merrymaker. The other French composers of this time, although worthy of more than a passing mention, were less definitely under he influence of the classical style that was even then known as “German music. ” Henry Montana Breton, son of that Pierre Breton who tried to make peace between Cluck and Puccini, occupied a respectable, but not pre-eminent, position in comic opera.
Cattle (1773-1830) displayed much elegance and purity of style, but unfortunately acquired a professional reputation for writing “learned music. ” Rudolph Krueger (1766-1825) composed operas that were pleasing, if not ambitious, but is better known as a master of the violin. Pursues (1769-1819) wrote much that is now forgotten, and remains in history as a great orchestral leader. More important Nas the work of Nicola Soured (1777-1818), popularly known as Nicola. He had little originality, and much of his music was commonplace, but some passages of his ‘Cocooned” and “Controlled” show great tenderness and charm.
The master of opera communique during this period was Bloomfield (1775-1834). Many of his earlier works were too trivial to last, but “Ma Tanta Aurora” (1803) brought him into popular favor, and securely at the head of his school. The latter opera is founded on episodes from Coot’s “Monastery” and “Guy Margarine,” but, like the novels of the immortal romancer, it is cast in a form that is too lengthy to suit modern standards. Bloodline’s music shows much melodic beauty, though its tenderness often degenerates into sentimentality.
He was the last representative of the school of Gartry and Monsignor, as after him came the deluge of Italians that is usually associated with the name of Rossini. In Germany, the successors of Mozart at first produced little of enduring ‘alee. S;smeary, his pupil (1766-1803), displayed a melodic facility and a peculiar popular charm, but his works lack depth and originality. Winter (1754-1825) was strong in declamation and chorus work, but is best remembered by his church music.
Neigh (1766-1846) won much appreciation by his tuneful “Cheerier Families. ” Directors (1739-99) carried on the earlier traditions of the Single, and displayed real brightness and vivacity in his comedies. But the only worthy example of the more serious and lofty operatic style was Beethoven’s solitary opera, “Fidelity,” produced in 1805. The libretto, a translation from the French, had already been used, notably in Paper’s “Eleanor. ” According to the story, Florescent, a Spanish nobleman, has become the captive of his bitterest enemy, Pizzeria.
In the state prison, of which the latter has Charge, Florescent is confined in a cell without light or air, utterly at Pizzeria’s mercy. Lenore, wife of the prisoner, has in some way discovered her husband’s plight, and, n the hope of aiding him to escape, she disguises herself in male attire, and, under the name of Fidelity, enters the service of Rocco, the head Jailer. She soon wins the admiration of the Jailer’s daughter, Marcella, who neglects her former lover, laconic, for the sake of the handsome stranger.
Meanwhile Pizzeria, learning of the approaching visit of Ferdinand, the governor, decides to kill Florescent in order to escape detection. He bribes Rocco to dig a secret grave in the cell, while Fidelity, aroused by this treachery, obtains leave to help the Jailer. Together Fidelity and Rocco proceed to the cell (Act II. ), where the unfortunate Florescent is lying overcome with starvation. When their work is over, Pizzeria himself appears, and prepares to stab Florescent; but the disguised Lenore, who has remained in the background, now rushes to Flagellant’s defense, and threatens Pizzeria with a loaded pistol.
At this moment the governor’s trumpet-call is heard from without; Pizzeria is obliged to receive him, Florescent and Lenore rush into each other’s arms, and the governor stores the prisoner to his lost honors and banishes his oppressor. This opera, like ‘The Magic Flute,” still retains traces of the old Single, in the form of spoken dialogue. But the verbal passages are few and short, and, if rightly uttered, may be made to add emphasis to the musical climaxes. In all French performances they have given way to recitative. Of the character of the music there is nothing but praise to be said.
It is all in the strongly dramatic vein that gives such power to Beethoven’s orchestral works. In an age when operatic realism was not sought after, when the harassers might pause in the midst of even the best operas and express in detail their views on the situation, the sincerity and appropriateness of the music could not fail to win its med of admiration. But now the public makes greater demands, and the music-dramatic action of “Fidelity,” like that of “Don Giovanni,” is far too deliberate for modern taste. Its many well-known numbers show Beethoven’s best advantage on the concert stage.
Especially suited for concert prima donnas is Fidelity’s well-known outburst of indignation (“Backstretches! “) and the glorious adagio (“Zoom, Huffing! “) with which it is Joined. Jonquil’s lament in the first act is also worthy of note; in this act, too, is the famous canon-quartet, “Mir sits so Underarm;” while the Jailer’s sonorous “Gold Song,” and Pizzeria’s fiery aria when he is forced to decide on Flagellant’s murder, stand out in bold relief. The second act is one long dramatic scene, and culminates in the almost frenzied duet, “O Nameless Freud! Produced at the Exhortation Theatre, in Vienna, a year before “Fantasia,” it Nas not overwhelmingly popular, and only in later times did it attain the fame of Cherubim’s operas. In Judging the classical school, as a whole, due allowance must e made for the lack of swift and natural action already alluded to. If the dramas of this epoch represented a tremendous advance over the conventional productions of Metastasis, we can only realism their force by putting ourselves in the place of their earliest audiences, and ignoring all the progress made since their day.
If we do this, En see that the formal character of the music is merely a relative matter, due to a contrast with the freer style of the present; and even today there are many who Mould find relief from the modern dissonances in the clear, well-formed themes of the older masters. Classical Of Concerto A classical concerto is a three-movement work for an instrumental soloist and orchestra. It combines the soloist’s virtuosity and interpretive abilities with the orchestra’s wide range of tone color and dynamics.
Emerging from this encounter is contrast of ideas and sound that is thematic and satisfying. The classical love of balance can be seen in the concerto, where soloist and orchestra are equally important. Solo instruments in classical concertos include violin, cello, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, horn and piano. Concertos can last anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes, and it has three movements: (l)fast, (2)slow, and (3)fast. A concerto has no minuet or scherzo. Into the first movement and sometimes in the last movement, there is a special unaccompanied showpiece for the soloist, the cadenza.
The soloist will be able to display virtuosity by playing dazzling scale passages and broken chords. Themes of the movement are varied and presents in new keys. At the end of a cadenza, the soloist plays a long trill followed by a chord that meshes with the re- entrance of the orchestra. Cadenzas are improvised by the soloist. Classical Style Anyone who has heard Charles Rosen play Bach’s Art of Fugue or the late Beethoven IANA sonata (or Debussy for that matter) will expect this book to have a hard core of Med knowledge of non-piano music and indeed of the non-musical arts.
Classical Style is a formidable subject and Mr.. Rosen is wisely selective. I have restricted myself to the three major figures of the time as I hold to the old-fashioned position that it is n term of their architecture that the musical vernacular can best defined. There is danger here of historical distortion, or at least of suppression. Mr.. Rosen seems uninterested in the Anaheim School unappreciative of the gentle lyricism for which Mozart loved J. C. Bach, and not much aware of Beethoven’s debt to Clementine. Cheering is mentioned only as being insipid, Dusked not mentioned at all and Directors dismissed as a mere tonic and dominant man though the first movement of his once-famous string quartet in Be major shows him as nothing of the kind. Rehire is mention of the Strum And Drag music Haydn wrote in 1768-1772, but not of the strange fact that many other European composer wrote Strum and Drag works at the same time. However all this is of no great importance if we accept that the book is not about classical style as a whole but about its development by Haydn Mozart and Beethoven.
Any limitation of the subject matter will almost certainly have improved it , and Mr.. Rosen was surely right to confine himself to a mere handful of musical categories. Thus he writes specifically about Heyday’s earlier symphonies but not the later ones about Mozart string squinters but not the quartets, about Mozart piano concertos but Beethoven’s, The piano sonata is not mentioned in the contents but Mr.. Rosen says a good deal about it in parenthesis; he digresses freely and fascinatingly. Beethoven is given a single chapter without subsections and (this is a act not a criticism) only half the number of pages allowed to Haydn and Mozart.
Mr.. Rosen is always interesting on classical form: ‘The musical language which made the classical style possible is that of tonality, which was not a massive immobile system but a living gradually changing language from its beginning. He rejects the terms ‘First Subject’ and ‘Second Subject’ and thinks we should ‘dismiss as merely quaint the observation that in sonatas the first subject tends to be masculine and the second subject fermions’ Haydn often managed with only one subject, while other imposers often definition of sonata form until Czerny did so after Beethoven death.
It was not defined until it was died. The great composers constantly broke the rules not knowing that there were any. Mr.. Rosen begins his own definition of sonata form as follows. The first section or exposition has two events, a movement of modulation to the dominant, and a final cadence on the dominant. Each of these events is characterized by an increase in rhythmic animation. Because of the harmonic tensions the music in the dominant (or second group) generally moves harmonically faster than that in the tonic. These events are articulated by as many melodies as the composer sees fit to use.
The second section also has two events a return to the tonic and a final cadence. Some form of symmetrical resolution (called recapitulation) of the harmonic tension is necessary: an important musical idea played anywhere except at the tonic is unresolved until it is so played. Sonata Allegro Form century as a means to organize their music. Similar to a basic essay format of introduction with a thesis, supporting body paragraphs and conclusion that restates the thesis, sonata-allegro form organizes music through an initial statement, velveteen of themes and a recapitulation of the original material.
While the origins are much older, sonata-allegro form grew to prominence as a defining Characteristic of the Classical style as used by Haydn and Mozart and then further developed by Beethoven. In an era called the Age of Reason, the aesthetic values of 18th century music emphasize logic and clarity with traits of symmetrical phrases, declarative melodies and simple accompaniment. Organization in music as well grew to prominence because of the growing interest in logic and clarity which allowed for the development of sonata-allegro form.