Baroque And Classical Music Essay Research Paper

Baroque And Classical Music Essay, Research Paper

Part 1: Music of the Late Baroque (1700-1750)

Italian opera was composed all over Europe. Metastasio was a famous librettist who supplied Italian opera stories to composers of the late baroque and classic periods.Two of Handel’s best-known Italian operas are Giulio Cesare and Rodelinda.The Italian city to the south of Rome that became the trend-setting center of opera was Naples. Two famous composers that worked there were Leonardo Vinci and Leonardo Leo.When Handel came to Italy he worked primarily in the city of Rome.A choral work from his Italian period was his Dixit Dominus. The Dixit, as well as the Magnificat belonged to the liturgical service known as the Roman Catholic and Anglican Vesper Services.Handel’s best known oratorio in English is The Messiah. Two of his other oratorios with English texts are Judas Maccabaeus and Israel in Egypt.Handel also wrote instrumental music in the Italian style, notably two sets of concerti grossi. Another composer, an Italian, who wrote many concerti grossi in England and also reworked music by Corelli to add to his repertoire was Vivaldi. London’s Royal Academy of Music was not a music school. The purpose of the society was to firmly establish Italian opera in London.


Like Bach and Telemann in Germany, Vivaldi was in charge of music at a church school. Vivaldi’s school was called the Pio Ospedale della Pieta. He wrote concertos for so many different instruments because of the variety of talents represented among the student body. J.S. Bach transcribed some of these works for himself to play at the harpsichord. However, Vivaldi’s best known set of concerti is for violin and is called La Stravaganza. Vivaldi also wrote quite a bit of church music. Vivaldi’s better known choral compositions include the Magnificat, Gloria, and Vespers.



When reading about Johann Sebastian Bach we frequently hear about Erdmann Neumeister. In addition to influencing Bach, Neumeister was also much admired by Telemann. Erdmann composed religious poetry and 9 cycles of cantata texts, some of which were used by Telemann. Telemann’s best known music today is his chamber music, including the Paris Quartets and his Tafelmusik.


Before Bach’s time, the dance suite consisted of a great number of movements, and we think that not all of them were to be used in every performance. By Bach’s time, however, the form was standardized into a set of five dances they were allemade, courante, sarabande, gigue, and gavotte. Sometimes they used not the French term suite, but the Italian term partita.

Compared to his contemporaries, Bach published very little music during his lifetime. Works that were published included, the Art of the Fugue, 3 Partitas and 3 Sonatas for unaccompanied violin, the Well-Tempered Clavier, the Goldberg Variations, and the Brandenburg Concerti.

Rameau contributed greatly to the development of Music Theory.

Rameau contributed greatly to the development of Music Theory. Rameau believed music was a science, and wrote the Traite de lharmonie this deals with the basic elements and physics behind music as we know it.

Rameau also wrote some wonderful operatic music, such as Hippolyte et Aricie and Castor et Pollux.

Part II: Music of the Classical Period


Two of the great political events of that time were the French and American Revolutions. A third great political event toward the end of the classical period was Congress of Vienna.

When discussing musical aspects of the classical period the term sonata principal is often used. It is a movement in sonata form that is part of a larger work. Composers’ affinity for subito pianos and sforzandos can be explained as influence from the dramatic arts. The term associated with such dramatic volatility is known in German as Sturm und Drang and is translated as Storm and Stress.

Bologna and Paris set the style for Baroque orchestral music. During the Classic period the trend setter was a German city called Vienna.

F.J. Haydn was employed for the majority of his productive life by a princely family called Esterhazy. His international success was assured by two visits to London. He was asked to come to London by J.P. Solomon, where he wrote 12 symphonies.

Aside from a total of 104 symphonies, Haydn wrote several wonderful works for large choir with orchestra. Four works are The Creation, The Seasons. Mass in the Time of War, The Return of Tobias.


Mozart was a true child of the classic age. His full name (Johannes Chrysostamos Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart) can attest to that. Mozart had a very talented sister. Her name was Maria Anna, and she played the piano. In their youth they traveled together.

Two Italian composers who influenced Mozart a great deal were Martini and Thomas Linley.

When young Mozart visited London, he was introduced to London’s most respected composer of the time, Franz Joseph Haydn. Mozart wrote music for 21 works for the stage, but his best-known operas are the last five. Die Zauberflote, Le Nozze de Figaro, Die Entfuhrung Cosi Fan Tutte, and Don Giovanni. For three of them he collaborated with the librettist Emmanuel Schiknader. Although Haydn was old enough to be Mozart’s teacher, they treated each other as colleagues with a great deal of respect for each other’s work. The best proof of that fact can be seen in the preface to some of their publications; they dedicated many of their string quartets to each other.

Since Mozart seldom used opus numbers, and did not keep track of his compositions very well, the task of cataloging his work fell to Kochel. Similarly, the works of Dominico Scarlatti were cataloged twice, once by Longo and once by Kirkpatrick. Today’s publications typically show both numbering systems.


Two important German dramatists at the time of Beethoven were Schiller and Goethe. Beethoven used texts, or gained inspiration from both of them. Schiller inspired part of the 9th Symphony, Goethe inspired music for Egmont.

Beethoven frequently went against convention. As a matter of fact, his symphonic audiences waited for what Beethoven might do next. He wrote a funeral march in the 3rd symphony. The scherzo was in front of the slow movement in the 9th. In the 5th symphony a bridge connects the third and fourth movements. Program music is normally associated with later romantic composers, but Beethoven foreshadowed that trend by writing a completely programmatic symphony, the 6th. The story is covered throughout five movements: mvt I – Awakening of pleasant feelings, II – scene by the brook, III- Happy gathering of country folk, IV- the thunderstorm , V -Shepherds song the thankful feelings after the storm. He was frequently encouraged to write opera, but he wrote only one. He ultimately called it Fidelio, even though when he first worked on it, he called it Leonore.



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