Basic Music Vocabulary
Three Elements of Music: Melody, Rhythm, Harmony
Dynamics (volume in music): piano, forte, crescendo, decrescendo
Italian tempo markings: Allegro, Andante, Adagio, Vivace
Four families of the Orchestra: Strings, Brass, Winds, Percussion
Four Vocal types: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass
coloratura, mezzo, baritone, castrato
Periods of Music History
476 - 1453 Medieval
1453 - 1600 Renaissance
1600 - 1750 Baroque
1750 - 1827 Classical
1827 - 1900 Romantic
1900 - present 20th century, or Contemporary
General Classifications of Music of the 18th Century
Opera - sung drama with staging and orchestra. A play set to music. Technically, opera is sung throughout. Features:
Recitative - sung dialogue
Aria - lyric expression, “song”, an elaborate composition for solo voice
Overtures and/or sinfonias - instrumental introductions and interludes.
Ballet - especially in French Baroque opera.
Libretto - the text
Oratorio - opera-like composition with a long libretto of religious or contemplative character that is performed in a concert hall or church without scenery, costumes or action.
* i.e. opera without sets, costumes or action and having a religious or contemplative plot.
* performed in concert halls... originally in the oratories (prayer chapels) of churches
* more emphasis on the chorus than in opera
* often uses a narrator (sung of course)
* most famous example is Handel’s Messiah
Cantata - not as large as an oratorio, but similar.
Chorale cantata - a type of cantata enjoyed especially by Bach in which a chorale’s text and melody are used as a compositional starting point. The final movement is usually the harmonized chorale. Chorale = Lutheran congregational song with devotional text. Originally melody only but later harmonized by many different composers and organists...most famously by J.S. Bach.
Mass - musically, a setting or the text of the Mass Ordinary (the parts of the Mass that do not change
from Mass to Mass i.e. Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus dei)
Passion - musical setting of the events of Christ’s life between the last supper and his death, according to 1 of 4 evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.
Requiem Mass (Missa pro defunctis)
so called because it begins with the Introit chant text, Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine (give them eternal rest, O Lord)
-Joyful portions of Mass Ordinary are omitted (Gloria and Credo)
-Includes the Introit and a Sequence, “Dies Irae” by Thomas of Celano 13th century.
* Mozart’s Requiem, 1791 is the main 18th century example.
Concerto Grosso - small group of soloists contrasted against the full ensemble (tutti, concerto or ripieni) which is a small string orchestra, later including winds like trumpets, oboes, flutes and horns.
* Vivaldi began a new style of this: consistently used a 3 movement scheme (allegro - adagio - allegro)
* Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti of 1721 are direct imitations of Vivaldi
* Handel’s Concerti Grossi incorporate much of Vivaldi’s style but like earlier CGs, have many movements.
Concerto - composition for orchestra and solo instrument most often, piano or violin. This evolved from the Baroque concerto grosso.
NOTE: not a master-servant relationship but a “competition” on equal terms.
* possible origin of term in two Latin verbs:
concertare - to fight or to contend
conserere - to join together or to unite
Sinfonia – instrumental interlude or prelude that evolved into a separate form known as symphony
Overture - instrumental composition intended as an introduction to an opera, oratorio or similar work
Chamber Music and solo
Trio Sonata - The most important Baroque form of Chamber Music
3 written parts: 2 soloists and basso continuo
requires 4 people: usu. 2 violins + cello + harpsichord
(remember that basso continuo requires 2 people to realize it)
Duet, Trio, quartet, etc. - name based upon the number of performers. The Classical period saw standardization of the String Quartet - 2 violins, viola and cello
Sonata - multiple meanings
1. a binary form favored by Domenico Scarlatti, meaning sound piece
2. multi-movement plan for orchestra, solo instrument or duet....Sonata principle is in symphonies, quartets and sonatas since the late 18th Century
3. Sonata da chiesa vs. Sonata da camera
4. Solo with accompaniment - a piece is chamber music if all parts are more or less equal in musical value and difficulty. Accompaniment has a more subsidiary connotation.
Toccata - an improvisatory-sounding, dramatic, virtuosic “touch” piece. Rhythms tend to be freer and
counterpoint less involved. Usually paired with a fugue for balance and contrast.
* Similar works: Fantasia, Capriccio, and sometimes Prelude
Fugue - a contrapuntal musical form in which each part enters imitatively with the same theme or subject.
Later, the subject combines with itself and with countersubjects.
-Often paired with other freer works like Toccata, Fantasia, Capriccio and Prelude
-Perfected in Bach’s music but still in use today with adaptations to different styles.
-in polyphony, each part is conceived as a melody, but the melodic tones sounding together form chords. It is this occurrence (the simultaneity) that gives rise to the term, Counterpoint (note against note)
Chorale Prelude - a term often loosely applied to any organ composition based on a chorale melody. As
the term implies, such pieces probably originated as functional liturgical music: the organist played through the tune of the chorale with ornaments and embellishments, as an introduction to the congregational singing of the chorale.
Theme and Variations - several types on simple idea: Variations on a melody or variations on bass line
1. Variations on melody is the most familiar type. Very popular in Classical style and later.
2. Passacaglia - long Bass pattern repeats throughout piece. Harmony and melody can vary only
so much as the bass will allow. Ex. Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue is the standard for the label...other pieces may be titled “passacaglia” but may not actually possess the form
3. Chaconne - Harmonic pattern, not the bass line, is repeated over and over.
Ex. Pachelbel’s Kanon is a Chaconne. Bach’s Chaconne is the standard for the
Suite - collection of actual or stylized dance movements. The key word is “collection” Extremely popular
in Baroque and Rococo keyboard works:
-Certain dances recur: Allemande, Courante, Sarabande and Gigue
BAROQUE -The term is French, from the Portugese barroco meaning irregularly shaped pearl
-not originally a complimentary term
Monteverdi may have popularized these terms, first mentioning them in the preface to his 5th Book of Madrigals, 1605:
primo prattica = Renaissance vocal polyphony of Franco-Netherlands. A style in which music dominates text
seconda prattica = new style of vocal polyphony in which text dominates. According to Monteverdi,
prima prattica attained perfection with Willaert; seconda prattica was used by Caccini, Monteverdi, and others.
Three main types of Baroque style for our purposes:
1. Figured bass led to a texture of 2 written contours: melody and bass with an improvised harmony Essentially for vocal music, accompanied melody, Monody!
2. Contrapuntal, Polyphony, Counterpoint reached its highest point in the music of J.S. Bach
Canon - an extension of Renaissance polyphony
-Essentially for keyboard solo music (clavichord, harpsichord, organ)
3. Concertante (contrasting) or Concerto style includes Polychoral styles.
echo effects, solo vs. tutti, origin of today’s concerto
The Affections -Early Baroque composers extrapolated from Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers the idea that music should represent emotional states through accepted formulas: musical figures, rhythms, turns of phrases, etc
Basso continuo, the sound of the Baroque
-accompanied solo singing was not new but the desire for unobtrusive accompaniment to a florid upper solo part was different
-by 1600, some composers began to write independent bass lines for melodic complement to the vocal line. Because this bass part was continuous, it became known as basso continuo or thoroughbass. Because this bass line often had Arabic numerals placed above or below it to indicate intervals to play above the bass note, the continuo part was often known as figured bass
-the process of improvising on this musical shorthand is called realization. At first, only a keyboard player realized the continuo but then 2 instrumentalists were customary.
-Basso continuo did not end with the Baroque but continued, ever decreasingly, until 1800.
Notation -in the 17th century, composers used barlines to mark off or “measure” patterns of strong and weak beats but not until mid 17th century were barlines used systematically to show regularly recurring rhythmic patterns.
-by this time as well, old proportion signs had been replaced by modern time signatures like 4/4 3/4 2/4. The C and C [with slash through it] remained from the old proportion system.
C = one breve per tactus imperfectly subdivided...or in Baroque terms, one measure divided into two groups of 2 or 4/4.
“Cut time” [20th century name] = cut the breve to half tactus or tempo twice as fast as C...or 2/2
-17th century composers began using a single time signature for an entire movement
-three movable clefs had been in use since the 15th century (f, c’ and g’) and by the Baroque, the clef shapes had become stylized to resemble those in use today.
-Baroque composers put a bunch of sharps and flats at the beginning of a composition but key signatures were not definitely associated with a particular “key” until the late 18th century.
Music Printing -music publishing peaked before 1580 in Venice, Nuremberg, Paris and Antwerp and quality diminished for a time after that because of the high costs associated with the newest technology: incised copper plate engraving.
-earliest practical music printed from engraved copper plates was from before 1540
Castrati -male singers castrated before puberty in order to preserve soprano or alto voices, were very important to music of the 17th and 18th centuries and most popular between 1650 and 1750. The “procedure” was never sanctioned by the church but the resultant voice was very popular and admired. Most were Italian but some Spanish and very few English. Reasons why this became the fashion are 2-fold:
1. the common belief that women were to keep silent in church [ I Corinthians 14:34 “Let your women keep silence in churches.”] In the Papal States from time of Pope Sixtus V (r.1585-90), there was a ban on women appearing on the stage. The Medici family was connected to Rome and so it is understandable that the first operas used boy sopranos [Dafne] and castrati [Peri’s Euridice]
2. power of male voices. Falsettists were also popular but the voices could not be as powerful
Pope Pius X (r. 1903-14) formally banned castrati from the papal choir in 1903 but there must have been a “grandfather” clause because there were castrati in the Sistine choir until 1913.
-certain castrati were the musical super-stars of their day
-Many composers wrote for them: Handel, Mozart, Gluck
-credited with inventing monody. He called these songs madrigal or aria.
Le nuove musiche (the new music; Florence, 1602)
-contained 12 solo madrigals and 10 arias. The arias were either strophic songs or strophic variations.
Strophic Variations = bass line remains constant or almost constant while the melody varies for each strophe (verse)
-the Preface to Le nuove musiche had advice on how to ornament included written-out ornaments
Ex. Amarilli mia bella
-solo madrigal from Le nuove musiche
-For much of his life, Caccini was employed by the Medici family in Florence and associated with other musicians of the area in an informal musical/philosophical society known as the Florentine Camerata.
-1570 - mid 1580s This group met in the home of Count Giovanni de’ Bardi (1534-1612) and included:
Girolamo Mei (1519-94)
Vincenzo Galilei (1527-91) was inspired by Mei’s research to write his own work in 1581: Discorso sopra la musica antica et moderna (Discourse on ancient and modern music, 1581).
*Vincenzo was the father of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
Mei and Galilei denounced Renaissance style word-painting and favored text set through solo melody that imitated speech rhythms of an orator.
-Caccini was renowned during his lifetime as a tenor singer and singing teacher.
-he taught all members of his own family, including both of his daughters who composed and were professional singers at Medici courts.
Francesca Caccini (1587 – d. after 1638)
was in 1614, one of the highest-paid musicians at the Florentine court
1618 Il primo libro delle musiche (First book of music) - important source of monody...no doubt written for her own voice
La liberazione di Ruggiero (The liberation of Ruggiero), 1625 written in Florence, was the first Italian opera performed outside Italy
OPERA Opera (Italian term for “work”) = drama presented with all or most of text being sung and with instrumental music for accompaniment. Combination art form: Literature, Music, Art, Theater, Dance...
It did not spring fully formed but evolved, with final push from Monody composers’ ideas.
The First Operas -In Florence, there was a group of musicians besides the Camerata who met in the home of composer and patron, Jacopo Corsi (1561-1602). Corsi was a rival of the Camerata’s Count Bardi but members of both groups were members of the Accademia degli Alterati. When Bardi moved to Rome, Corsi became the recognized leader of progressive music and the most important patron after the Medicis.
Stile rappresentativo [dramatic, representative style] was promoted by the Corsi group. This resulted in a singing style that was more expressive than speech but not as musically distracting as song melodies.
speech-like singing with free rhythm derived from text...supported over a bass line.
-this was not the only style of music writing they used.
-this stile rappresentativo became known as recitative.
-Corsi had been setting a pastorale to music. A pastorale was the most common type of Italian poetry. It depicts shepherds, shepherdesses and rural scenes...naturally in idealistic contexts. The author of this pastorale was Ottavio Rinuccini (1562-1621) and the name of it was Dafne.
* Rinuccini was trying to imitate poetry of ancient Greece & Rome
-Rinuccini was a native of Florence and educated as a courtier...began work for the Medici court in 1597 and association as librettist for Corsi in 1590.
-in 1594, Corsi asked Jacopo Peri (1561-1633) to finish Dafne in stile rappresentivo. It took him 3 yrs.
Dafne -considered the FIRST OPERA
-1st performed at Corsi’s home during Carnival, 1598 and again in January 1599 and several times over the decade in revised form.
-it was never printed but Rinuccini’s libretto [“little book”; the text that is set to music] exists and music for 6 songs has been found.
Euridice -Corsi produced this opera written by Peri and Caccini.
-The production was a wedding gift to Maria de’ Medici and Henri IV of Navarre, King of France (r.1589-1610).
-this performance was for a private audience of 200 in the Pitti Palace, Florence
-Peri sang the role of Orpheus. He was slim and blonde and had a beautiful tenor voice
-a young boy soprano sang the role of Euridice
-Caccini, out of jealousy, refused to have any of his court singers sing Peri’s music and so he rewrote their songs. Peri credited Caccini with these songs in the published score.
-Rinuccini altered the ending of the original story to make it happy...and more appropriate for a wedding
PLOT: Euridice is picking flowers and dancing with nymphs where she is bitten by a snake and dies. Dafne tells Orpheus [the great musician] and he asks Venus for help. Venus promises to triumph over death and leads him to Hades where Orpheus pleads with Pluto and takes Euridice back to earth.
Oratorio resembles opera but has a narrator, uses more of the chorus and does not use staging, costumes nor scenery
Emilio de’Cavalieri (c.1550-1602)
-composer, organist, singing teacher, dancer, choreographer, administrator and diplomat
-served Cardinal Ferdinando de’ Medici in Rome and when the Cardinal became Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1587, Cavalieri was made overseer of all artistic and musical activities in the Florentine court.
-he was in charge of the wedding festivities for Maria de’ Medici and Henri IV and some of his music was indeed performed. He wrote a setting of La contesa fra Giunone e Minerva [The contest between Juno and Minerva] for the wedding banquet 5 October 1600. Somehow, Caccini managed to have his own Il rapimento di Cefalo take precedence over anything Cavalieri did. Cavalieri was of course, unhappy and disillusioned at all the wedding festivities everything except his own banquet spectacle. He left for Rome and never returned to Florence.
-later, Caccini and Peri fought over who had invented stile rappresentatione, Cavalieri said he had. Peri [who seems to have trod the peace-maker ground] said in his preface to Euridice that he had first heard this style in the music of Cavalieri but that he [Peri] was the first to use it in opera.
Rappresentatione di Anima, et di Corpo [Representation of the Soul and the Body]
-occasionally during the 1590s, Cavalieri supervised music productions at the Oratorio del Crocifisso in the church of San Marcello, Rome
-the Rappresentatione... was presented in Rome twice in Feb. 1600, in the Oratory of Chiesa Nuova [new Church]
-earliest known performance in an oratory of a large-scale musical dramatic work containing solo monodies
** no other operas or staged dramas with music have been performed in any oratories in Rome
-published in September 1600
-earliest printed score using figured bass
-Although this was performed in an Oratory, [a prayer chapel] this was staged! and Wisdom and Prudence are not really narrators [an expected part of Oratorios]... In short, this was an allegorical opera and not a true oratorio.
Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
-spent his life almost entirely in corner of northern Italy
-he wrote in 3 styles between the Renaissance and the Baroque: madrigals, polychoral (echoing choirs) and opera.
-published 11 volumes of madrigal music over 54 years: 1584-1638
-saw the transformation of “classical” madrigal into the dramatic scena and the canzonetta for vocal ensemble into a solo song with lute or guitar
His life falls into 3 periods of almost equal length: youth in Cremona (1567-90) Mantua (1590-1612) and Venice (1613-43). From July 1612 - August 1613, he was free from service to any employer
-origins of his family are unknown and we cannot know how long his family had lived in Cremona, a town famous for instrument builders
-M’s father, Baldesar, was a physician and had enough money to provide classical education to his 5 children, two of whom became musicians:
Claudio (Giovanni Antonio) baptized in Cremona 15 May 1567
Giulio Cesare b. 31 January 1573
Giulio Cesare first appeared in 1607 as publisher of his brother’s Scherzi Musicali. He also held an appointment in Mantua as deputy maestro di cappella. He composed too. After 1612, he held an organist post in Castelleone and then was maestro di cappella as Salò Cathedral (Lake Garda). It is not likely that he collaborated with his brother in Venice.
-Cremona was the home and the sphere of activity of Andrea Amati (1535 to after 1611) the founder of the great family of violin-makers who, with the Guarneri and the Stradivari, were later to spread the fame of Cremonoese violins all over the world.
-Claudio was instructed in music by Marc’ Antonio Ingegneri, prefect of music at the Cathedral since 1576. Ingegneri was born in Verona between 1545-1550 and settled in Cremona around 1568. He was friendly with Cipriano de Rore, maestro di cappella in Venice.
-before age 20 (1587), Monteverdi had published 4 books with diverse types of compositions
madrigal = unaccompanied short piece for a group of solo voices, mostly 5, treating a poetic and emotional text of ‘love-death’ imagery, line by line, word by word, painting each successive mood or new idea in contrapuntal fashion with new music for each idea throughout.
-a cappella vocal chamber music 4-5 voices was the norm
-polyphonic settings of pastoral, love or mythological poetry designed for court entertainment amateur or professional
-Monteverdi published 6 books of madrigals like this 1589 - 1614
-in Book V, 1605, there is a continuo accompaniment indicated!
-Book VI this instrumental support has become essential
Book VII 1619 -changed the idea of madrigal to include monody and dramatic scene types
-Monteverdi obtained his position at Mantua at the beginning of 1591 as violist (viol player) in the cappella of Vincenzo I Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua
MANTUA 1590 - 1612
Monteverdi was in Mantua in its final golden years...under Vincenzo I (1587-1612), who had carried on his ancestor’s patronage of arts. An earlier Duke Francesco II (1466-1519) had 2 frottole composers attached to his court: Cara and Tromboncino
1592 Monteverdi was promoted to Cantore despite all the hefty competition
1594-5 with permission from the Duke, Monteverdi married Claudia de Cattaneis, a professional singer.
1595 accompanied the Duke on unsuccessful campaign against the Turks. This was to aid Emperor Rudolph II.
6 May 1596 Giaches de Wert died and Pallavicino was appointed his successor.
Monteverdi was increasing in fame and was NOT pleased that Pallavicino was appointed instead of himself
9 June 1599 Monteverdi went with the Duke to Flanders. Went through Tyrol, Switzerland, Lorraine, Spa, Liège, Antwerp, Brussels and back. Monteverdi met and heard French musicians.
** Monteverdi sent his pregnant wife to his father, Baldesar. Soon after M returned, she bore 1st son in early 1600: Francesco grew up to work as a singer and composer at St. Mark’s, Venice from 1623 to 1679, the year of his death.
Artusi (1540-1613) Bolognese musical theorist
-in a 1600 treatise, he attacked Monteverdi’s composition style while admitting that there was more than one way to write music.
This treatise: L'Artusi, ovvero, Delle imperfezioni della moderna musica, published in 1600, is a creative discourse between fictitious adherents of the two styles...but critical of the new tolerance & justification for dissonance
-in 1603, Artusi wrote a 2nd part of this treatise and reprinted parts of a reply by Monteverdi. Artusi then compared 2 unpublished M madrigals with Venetian street songs.
Fifth Book of Madrigals 1605
-the preface announced a comprehensive theoretical refutation to Artusi. M was involved with this subject until 1634 but he never wrote a great treatise. The only big theoretical writing he did was probably the Dichiarazione [preface?] to the Scherzi Musicali, published by M’s brother, Giulio Cesare in 1607.
-in the end, Artusi was converted to the newer style of composition…all in good humor.
Meanwhile...back at the ranch...
6 May 1601 Mantua’s maestro di cappella, Benedetto Pallavicino, retired. Monteverdi felt the position was his by rights.
-between end of 1601 and March 1603 Duke nominated Monteverdi as ‘Maestro di Musica’ and made him a citizen of Mantua.
-Caterina Martinelli, a 13 year old singer from Rome, began living in the Monteverdi home in order to study with him. “Caterinuccia” was intended for the title-role in Arianna...composed in 1608.
December 1604 second son, Massimiliano, born in Cremona where Claudio and Claudia had gone to rest.
Madrigals Book V published in 1605 to great success. Until 1620, it underwent 8 new editions.
-probably begun during winter of 1606-7
NOTE: the earliest operas were composed about 1600 in Florence...M’s first was Orfeo in 1607
Duke’s 2 sons may have been the impetus. Francesco (the future duke) and Ferdinando Gonzaga were passionate for the theatre. Ferdinando was studying at Pisa and was very interested in nearby new Florentine opera...Francesco became very involved in operatic projects in Mantua.
-in L’Orfeo, the text made the mistress of the music
text by Alessandro Striggio, jr. a native of Mantua who had studied law and worked as a diplomat for the Mantuan court as ambassador to Milan
-Striggio (the librettist) and Monteverdi were friends and correspondents even after M left Mantua
-Striggio modeled his libretto on the Rinuccini Euridice but without the happy ending.
The score was published too: 1609 and 1615.
Tragedy for real
10 September 1607 Claudia died in Cremona after 12 years of marriage. She was cared for by M’s father who was a doctor. She left 2 sons (age 7 and 2).
-M was summoned back to Mantua on 24 September
-Monteverdi didn’t want to remain in Mantua after that but his second opera L’Arianna was scheduled for production at court and he had to be there for rehearsals. It wasn’t ready for Carnival season (February-March 1608) and was re-scheduled for wedding celebrations for Francesco Gonzaga and Margaret of Savoy in May 1608. [The music festivities started in January and continued through June.]
Ottavio Rinuccini (1562-1621) wrote the libretto for L’Arianna
-Arianna and Il ballo delle ingrate [an opera-ballet] were the two major works for these festivities
-R was the director of the wedding festivities.
-However, Caterina Martinelli, who was to have sung the title role, died of smallpox on 9 March 1608 at
-Virginia Andreini, a singer in a then-famous traveling troupe of actors performing in Mantua, sang the role.
Ex. Lasciate mi morire
-originally an aria from his now lost opera, Arianna (1608), it was so popular that M. re-did it in 1610, in this Renaissance “mass market” format, madrigal in his Sixth Book of Madrigals, published in 1614.
-Arianna was first performed on 28 May 1608 and according to contemporary reports, the climax of it, the Lamento d’Arianna, moved the audience to tears. [“Lasciate...” is the first part of the Lamento]!
“Leave me here that I may die. And should you wish, what comfort could you give me in so heavy a misfortune, in so great a martyrdom. Leave me here that I may die.”
-This is all the more touching if one considers the pall on Monteverdi’s life at the time and the superhuman efforts he made in composing 2 operas in 1 year and other music and supervising rehearsals...on top of personal tragedy.
-he had a sort of nervous breakdown in the summer of 1608 and left for Cremona in June to stay in his father’s home for over a year (until September 1609)
-17 January 1609 Vincenzo I settled a life-annuity on still absent Monteverdi However well-intentioned, this “settlement” became the cause of endless petitions from this point until the end of Gonzaga rule in 1627. They were forever behind on payments to him.
Monteverdi went to Venice in January 1611 ostensibly to have some music published.
September 1611 Duchess Eleonora died suddenly and Duke Vincenzo I as well on 18 Feb. 1612
Duke Francesco IV inherited bankrupt finances ...but when crowned 10 June 1612, ordered festivities.
AFTER the deaths of Claudia and Caterina, Monteverdi plunged into severe depression and by the end of the wedding stuff, he pleaded to be released from his court responsibilities. This was denied. He wrote again and was granted a pension but was not released. M actively sought a new job; went to Rome to arrange for publication of a volume of sacred music; returned to Mantua to begin another book of madrigals... After the death of Vincenzo I in 1612, the duchy had financial problems that caused the new Duke Francesco Gonzaga to reduce the number of court musicians. Monteverdi and his brother Giulio Cesare were among those dismissed on 31 July 1612.
Christmas 1612 the new Duke of Mantua and his heir died of smallpox. Francesco’s brother, Ferdinando ascended and did not try as Francesco did, to get Monteverdi back.
Meanwhile in Venice...on 19 July 1613, the Maestro di Cappella di San Marco died and the officials sought out Monteverdi. 19 August he was in Venice for a concert and immediately afterwards, was unanimously elected to the position of Maestro di Cappella at a yearly salary of 300 ducats + free residence.
GOOD FORTUNE indeed but from Cremona to Venice, he was set upon by thieves who took 100 ducats
so in 1613, M was appointed maestro di cappella at San Marco
-he was interviewed and then offered quite modern terms:
annual salary of 300 ducats, furnished apt and reimbursement for travel for interview and the move
-in Venice, M continued to write madrigals, religious works and opera. M did not write opera just for noble families at this point, but for a paying public; eventually for the first public opera house, in Venice. This was the Teatro San Cassiano (1637)and Monteverdi was not the first composer to have an opera done there but... he was early: 1640.
Basilica of San Marco had a large musical establishment:
6 full time instrumentalists
2 full time paid organists
vice maestro di cappella - maintained discipline, and taught singing and Gregorian chant as well as writing counterpoint to priests and young boys
-M wrote new music for the basilica
-in M’s time, there was in effect, secularization of church music so that it resembled madrigals and opera. M started to interpret text and chose text according to more opera-like considerations
Other Venetian composers:
Andrea Gabrieli (c.1533 – 1585) organist at Basilico of San Marco (before his nephew, Giovanni).
Giovanni Gabrieli (1553 – 1612) organist at Basilico of San Marco from 1584 – 1612
-both known for works for cori spezzati [spatially separated choirs]
1619 Seventh Book of Madrigals “Concerto”
-dedicated to Caterina di Medici, consort of Ferdinando Gonzaga. Don’t be fooled...M did not want to return to Mantua.
-also, continuo madrigals for small #s of voices (1 or 2) plus continuo: theorboe, small organ, lute or harpsichord combinations
Ex. Chiome d’oro (Golden Tresses)
2 voices, 2 violins and continuo
-Monteverdi’s sons grew up
-1618 Francesco (the elder boy) started studying law in Bologna but abandoned this in 1620 in order to become a Carmelite friar. In 1623, he joined the Capella of San Marco as a tenor.
-Massimiliano studied to become a doctor but in 1621, fell seriously ill but upon recovering, obtained a post in the Collegium at Bologna in 1622. In 1626, he graduated at Bologna as doctor of medicine and went to Mantua where he developed a successful practice.
Christmas 1627 Monteverdi learned of the arrest of his son, Massimiliano by the Inquisition.
Monteverdi and Striggio wrote letters galore and had him quickly released from prison but there were 6 months to wait before trial.
-Meanwhile, the end of the Gonzagas brought about the Mantuan War of Succession which gradually involved Spain and France. This was part of the much larger conflict: Thirty Years War
18 July 1630 Mantua fell to the plundering soldiers of the Imperial leader.
-this also brought plague to northern Italy...including Venice itself in 1630-31
-much of Mantua was burned, including the scores of L’Orfeo and his other operas 1613-30.
1632 sometime around this year, Monteverdi became a priest - probably in response to all the pain in his life
1638 Book VIII “Canti guerrieri et amorosi” [Warlike and Amorous Madrigals] Monteverdi was 71
-there is a kind of program behind the entire contents of Books VIII in that war is used as a metaphor for love:
1640 Selva Morale e Spirituale
-dedicated to Empress Eleonora Gonzaga, the youngest daughter of Vincenzo I of Mantua
Ex. “Gloria” florid, duets, solo, echo, concertate style
monumental!, convoluted, complicated and spectacular
-no specific instrumentation then...instrumentation was planned around what was available - practicality was the deciding factor.
1651 Book IX [Madrigals]
-published posthumously, he was that well regarded
Ex. Zefiro torna
-text by Rinuccini
-Zefire = light, playful spring breeze
-typical Renaissance plot: everything fine and dandy but I’m miserable.
Zefiro tonra, e di soavi accenti …
The spring breeze returns, and its sweet breath freshens the air, and ruffles the waves, and murmuring through the green branches makes for dancing, with its music, among the meadow flowers.
Garlands in their hair, Philida and Cloris sound ravishing and joyous notes, and from mountains and valleys, low and deep, the armony re-echoes in sonorous caves.
The dawn is lovelier in the sky, and the sun scatters its gold more brightly; a purer silver tints the Sea Queen’s beautiful blue robe.
Only I am abandoned and alone in the woods; the light of two fair eyes and my torment constitute my destiny: which now I lament, now I sing.
Monteverdi wrote an incredible variety of music!
madrigals in all moods, religious music and opera
-but no purely instrumental music
Monteverdi and Opera
Opera - originally court entertainment...sprang from Florentine camerata (poets, composers and singers reviving Greek drama) into monophonic lines with modest accompaniment
-most of Monteverdi's operas are lost (see list)
Venetian opera houses (there were five in Venice!)
1637 Theatro San Cassiano
-the first public opera house
1639 Theatro S.S. Giovanni e Paulo
-128 feet in length (tiny!) with many boxes and everyone close to the stage: intimate
-all the theaters stayed in business and by the end of Monteverdi’s life, theatres commissioned works
-Patricians went to the opera (they could buy boxes)
-tickets in the orchestra section were open to everybody not expensive.
L’Incornazione di Poppea 1642
-his final opera, M was 75 years old
-this is perhaps the most magnificent early opera.
-not a mythological subject but rather, the first historical subject used in opera.
-annals of Tacitus was source of the story but Monteverdi decided to change the plot to end not with her coronation but with an ecstatic love duet so, Love triumphs over spectacle
Ottavia - wife of Nero, not a tragic figure...depicted as cold and calculating
Nero - depicted by M as weak, foolish and immature
Poppea - consummately cunning and calculating
Ex. “Oblivion Soave”
Sung by Poppea’s nurse, Arnalta, who tries to comfort the scheming Poppea
After, Poppea, Monteverdi took a trip to Cremona and Mantua, staying away almost 6 months until autumn of 1643 when he returned to Venice. He died in his 77th year after a short illness.
-the term derives from the place in which the earliest works of this type were performed...in prayer chapels of churches, oratory .
-precursors include liturgical drama, certain Offices for saints’ days, early chanted dialogue presentations of Passion liturgy, and laude (praise songs)
Filippo Neri (1515-95)
1534 studying in Rome but changed course to devote life to charitable works and prayer
1551 became a priest
group of laymen met in his living quarters to pray. Later, meetings were held in an oratory of a church
-Neri included the singing of laude spirituale in these meetings.
1575 Pope Gregory XIII (r.1572-85) recognized Neri’s group as a religious order:
Congregazione dell’ Oratorio [Oratory Congregation] and assigned them a church, a new building in Rome called Chiesa Nova.
-Neri emphasized congregational singing of laude and attracted composers to write for these services.
-he was canonized in 1622
Giacomo Carissimi (1605-74)
1623 listed as choirboy at Tivoli Cathedral. Later, became the organist there.
1629 maestro di cappella at Collegio Germanico, Rome [an influential Jesuit educational institution]
kept this position until his death
-Carissimi is the first important composer of oratorios.
-wrote lots of cantatas too...about 200 survive
-wrote Latin & vernacular [Italian]oratorios.
-his Latin oratorios usually had Biblical subjects from the Vulgate...usually from Old Testament
-since he credited no librettists, it is assumed that he wrote the libretti himself
14 of his oratorios survive.
Jephte composed before 1650 [Jephtha = English spelling]
-the best known of his oratorios
-based on Judges XI: 19-40
Marc-Antoine Charpentier (c.1645-1704)
-studied with Carissimi
-Charpentier was the only composer after his teacher, to write large quantities of Latin oratorios
-transmitted Latin oratorio writing to France
Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672)
-childhood in Weissenfels...music education from local Kantor
1599 choirboy at court of Landgrave Moritz at Kassel
1608 voice changed and he entered University of Marburg for law study BUT
1609 Landgrave sent him to Venice to study with Giovanni Gabrieli. Schütz stayed until after G’s death
1613 returned to Moritz’ court as organist but Elector Johann Georg I of Saxony wanted him at Dresden. Moritz reluctantly agreed to lend Schütz to the Elector but he never got him back.
1617 named electoral Kapellmeister...a post he held (with a leaves of absence) until his death.
1 June 1619 married Magdalena Wildeck. Since his single volume Psalmen Davids was just printed, he included it in the wedding invitations he sent to church & city councils throughout Saxony.
6 Sept 1625 Magdalena died after short illness and S gave their 2 daughters to his mother-in-law. He never remarried. [parallel to Monteverdi’s life]
1627 Elector Johann Georg I of Saxony took his Kapelle to Hartenfels Castle in Torgau for the wedding of his daughter, Sophia and Landgrave Georg II or Hessen-Darmstadt
S composed several works, including an opera, Dafne - the first opera written in Germany
BUT it is now lost.
1628-29 visit to Italy. Schütz discussed music with Monteverdi, bought instruments & hired instrumentalists for Dresden court AND published some sacred music.
*** like Monteverdi, Schütz didn’t compose any purely instrumental music
-unfortunately, all of his stage works are lost
autumn 1631 Saxony entered Thirty Years War
Crown Prince Christian of Denmark invited Schütz to Copenhagen to direct music for a royal wedding, he wanted to accept but it took several months before he could leave Dresden on leave of absence.
December 1631 - mid 1635 Kapellmeister to King Christian IV (r.1588-1648) but retained Dresden post
1635 returned to Dresden and continued to send printed and manuscript copies of his work to Copenhagen over the ensuing years. This was a good thing since many of his works were destroyed in fires and wars
-poor war-ravaged economy compelled Schütz to leave many works unpublished.
*** Despite all the wars, over 500 works survive! Sacred and some secular from his entire career.
While in Dresden, he was connected to other German courts
1657 Schütz was finally allowed to retire with a pension.
-Some of his finest compositions date from his retirement Passions and Christmas Story
November 1672 Died in Dresden
-his early works were Italian to Italian text. Only 2 volumes of Latin text
-later, he used German texts in Italian musical style.
-BUT in contrast to his contemporaries, there is little use of chant or Lutheran chorale melody in his music
Il primo libro de madrigali [First book of madrigals; Venice, 1611]
-his first published work...contains 19 unaccompanied 5-voice Italian madrigals. Similar to Monteverdi
Psalmen Davids [Psalms of David] was his 1st collection of sacred music. 1619 Motet & concerto settings of the Psalms. Venetian style apparent: soloists, polychoral style
“Becker Psalter” 1626-7
-simple setting in 4-part harmony of German language paraphrases by theologian Cornelius
Symphoniae sacrae [Sacred symphonies] 1629
-published on Schütz’s extended visit to Italy in 1628-9.
-his last bok of Latin text settings
-motets with instrumental accompaniment that later became standard trio sonata ensemble:
2 violins, violone and keyboard (organ)
EX. Die sieben Wortte unsers lieben Erlösers und Seeligmachers Jesu Christi [The seven words of our beloved Savior Jesus Christ] composed in 1645.
There is no record of this work being performed in Schütz’s lifetime.
-five soloists (Jesus and 4 evangelists), chorus, strings, basso continuo organ
-in Phrygian mode on E
Symphoniarum sacrarum secunda pars [Sacred symphonies, part 2] pub in 1648 but most of the works had been written earlier
Symphoniarum sacrarum tertia pars [Sacred symphonies, part 3] 1650
Historia der...Geburth Gottes und Marien Sohnes, Jesu Christi [Story of the birth of God’s and Mary’s Son, Jesus Christ] 1660
-this is the so-called Christmas Oratorio
-the earliest German setting of the Nativity story to have evangelist’s text sung in recitative instead of chant. This whole work is in concertato style: arias, choruses and instrumental music
Schütz was composed the most significant Lutheran music in these semi-dramatic forms before J.S. Bach:
Wrote five Historiae [three Passions, Nativity Story, Resurrection Story) and Die sieben Wortte… are the most important semi-dramatic Lutheran works before J.S. Bach
-During his lifetime, he was recognized as a great composer and teacher.
-concerned for those who worked for him...petitioned for their payment of delinquent salaries and often helped them from his personal funds.
-his works fell into oblivion after his death, except for the Becker Psalter
-his works re-discovered around c.1830.
-not until 1920 was there general recognition of his work.
Thirty Years War [“Fun facts”…the details are Not the focus of this class!]
-outwardly, this was a battle between Protestantism and Catholicism. However, politics took over!!
Holy Roman Empire was in 1564, a loose confederation of semi-independent states: Germany (itself a collection of separate governing parts), Luxembourg, Franche-Comté, Lorraine, Switzerland, Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, and part of Hungary.
-The house of Hapsburg ruled the Empire from 1438 until 1808. After Charles V (1555-56) abdicated, the Hapsburgs split into 2 branches: Austria and Spain + dependencies.
-The Imperial Diet met occasionally to make decisions that would affect all states and the 7 Imperial Electors who chose the emperor (in exchange for certain favors of course). The electors were:
King of Bohemia, rulers of Saxony, Brandenburg and Palatinate
Spiritual electors: archbishops of Cologne, Trier, and Mainz
-the Emperor ruled directly over Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and the Tyrol...and at times, Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and western Hungary.
Charles V abdicated and his brother, Ferdinand I (1556-64) ruled until his death in 1564.
Lutheran catechism was adopted in most Austrian parishes. F was alarmed of loss of power and summoned Jesuits to the University of Vienna. By 1598, the Catholic church was dominant again.
Maximilian II (son of Ferdinand I) was tolerant and benevolent. He preferred Lutheran preachers and conformed only outwardly to Roman observances. On his deathbed (1576), he refused last rites from the Church of Rome but all the Empire mourned him...so beloved was he.
Rudolf II (Maximilian II’s son) had been the possible heir to the Spanish throne and had been educated in Spain by Jesuits to that purpose. Therefore, he was NOT tolerant of Protestants and restricted
their worship. However, he preferred to cultivate his knowledge by learning 12 languages and
attending to his collections of art and natural science. In the end, he dreamed that he would be
murdered by a monk and so he grew suspicious of all Catholic clergy, esp. Jesuits. He resigned most of his power to his brother in 1608 and finally in 1611, the throne of Bohemia. He died in 1612.
Matthias (Rudolf’s younger brother) had little interest in heavy duty rule and conferred most power to Melchior Klesl, Bishop of Vienna. Klesl was tolerant of Protestants and Catholics but offended those who wished to restrict either. Matthias’ cousin, Ferdinand, Archduke of Styria imprisoned
Klesl in 1618 and arranged to be elected Emperor at Matthias’ death in 1619
Ferdinand II had been educated by Jesuits and had vowed to eradicate Protestantism wherever he ruled.
National Background to the Thirty Years War
Turks held 2/3 of Hungary from 1526 and peace was maintained by payment of tribute by Emperor to the sultans until 1606. Christian Hungary (the Diet of Austrian Hungary) had favored Protestantism because the nobles who controlled the territory wished to keep Catholic Church property. Protestants therefore were not hindered and flourished...dividing into Lutheranism, Calvinism and Unitarianism. However, once the nobles felt secure in their land holdings, reverted to Catholicism and expelled Protestant pastors in favor of Catholic priests.
Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Lusatia were predominantly Protestant in 1560. Most nobles were
Lutherans, most of the middle class was Lutheran or Calvinist and most peasants were Catholic.
The most famous sect was the Unitas Fratrum - the Moravian Brethren.
-In 1555, Emperor Ferdinand I brought Jesuits to Bohemia and their college in Prague succeeded in conversion through education and marriage of Catholic wives. Rudolf II issued edicts banishing Protestants but he had no teeth to enforce them and neither had Matthias desire to do so.
In 1617, the Bohemian Diet had become enough Catholic to elect Archduke Ferdinand of Styria as king of Bohemia. (he became Ferdinand II)
Germany was divided into 7 administrative “circles”:
Franconia: Würzburg, Bamberg, Bayreuth
Bavaria: Munich, Regensburg and Salzburg
Swabia: Baden, Stuttgart, Augsburg and duchy of Württemberg
Upper Rhine: Frankfurt am Main, Cassel, Darmstadt, Wiesbaden, Nassau county, Hesse, duchy of Lorraine, and part of Alsace
Lower Rhine: Westphalia, the Palatinate, archbishoprics of Cologne, Trier and Mainz
Lower Saxony: Mecklenburg, Bremen, Magdeburg, duchies of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Holstein
Upper Saxony: Leipzig, Berlin, duchy of West Pomerania, electorates of Saxony and Brandenburg
The Diet of Augsburg of 1555 decided on the principle, Cuius regio eius religio = the religion of the ruler was to be the religion of the subjects. Dissidents would have to leave. However...in practice, this went back and forth as successive rulers changed religions and subjects would be caught in the middle.
** In General, northern Germany was Protestant. Southern Germany and the Rhineland was Catholic but since the Augsburg principle was not always rigorously enforced, there were many Protestants in Catholic lands and vice versa. Protestants further divided into Lutherans, Calvinists, Anabaptists and Unitarians.
-Lutherans and Calvinists did NOT get along. Jesuits led by Peter Canisius, started colleges all over Europe to convert the strayed. Other efforts combined for the result was that 1/2 of the territory gained by German Protestants in the first 1/2 of 16th century was regained by Catholic church in the second 1/2.
In the Palatinate, Elector Frederick III favored Calvinism and made University of Heidelberg a Calvinist seminary. Catholics were tolerated in the Palatinate if they confined worship services to their homes. Unitarianism was suppressed. Frederick’s son, Elector Lewis, preferred Lutheranism...Lewis’ brother John Casimir (ruled as regent), preferred Calvinism. Elector Frederick IV was Calvinist. Frederick V (1610-23) married Elizabeth Stuart (daughter of James I of England) claimed the throne of Bohemia. and started the Thirty Years’ War.
-Many brutal conflicts all with political complications more than religious reasons.
At the end…
Congress of Westphalia opened as a double congress: at Münster, France met with Empire under mediation of Papacy and Venice. At Osnabrück (30 miles from Münster), France and Empire met with Sweden under mediation of Christian IV of Denmark. The 2 Congresses were necessary because Swedes and papal representatives considered each other heretics and would not sit in the same room.
-negotiations began 4 December 1644 with 135 members, including theologians and philosophers...it took 6 months after the start just planning who would sit where and who would enter when and how people should be titled and addressed.
*The real casualty was Roman Catholicism. Edict of Restitution had to be abandoned but Protestantism was banned from Bohemia. Counter Reformation was reined in. “The lines of religious division established in 1648 remained essentially unchanged until, in the twentieth century, the differential birth rate began a gradual and peaceful extension of Catholicism.”
Back to the music….
back in VENICE
-there was not very much dramatic music in Venice until the first opera house:
Teatro San Cassiano established in 1637
Teatro SS Giovanni e Paolo (1639)
Pietro Francesco Cavalli (1602-76)
-unusually gifted boy soprano who entered cappella of St. Mark’s in Venice in 1616 Monteverdi was Maestro di cappella then
-voice matured to tenor, remained in the choir and in 1639, appointed 2nd organist in St. Mark’s too
-invested in Teatro San Cassiano and began writing operas for there. For composing and producing the 1st performances there, Cavalli could earn as much as the annual St. Mark’s Maestro di Cappella salary - and that’s saying A LOT of money!!!
* most of Cavalli’s 33 operas were written for Venice theaters but he also wrote for Florence, Naples and Milan.
-composed operas for 25 years
-some became standard repertoire in Italy during 1660s and 1670s...the big “hits” for 2 decades:
Xerse [Xerxes] (1655) in particular
-also wrote sacred music
Ex. Lauda Jerusalem from Musiche sacre, Venice 1656
-for two choirs
-used in the Venetian Vespers service
Cardinal Mazarin (1602-61) -an Italian who became naturalized French in 1639, he wanted Italian opera in
France for political reasons. He had already invited cantata composer Luigi Rossi to Paris in 1646. For the marriage of Louis XIV to Maria Theresia of Spain in 1660, Cardinal Mazarin commissioned Cavalli to write an opera. Cavalli spent almost 2 years in Paris and the opera Ercole amante [Hercules in love, 1662] was not done in time for the wedding. Xerses was substituted with transpositions for bass-baritone and insertions of ballet scenes by Lully.
Antonio Cesti (1623-69)
-Cavalli’s main competitor.
-in 1659, the Pope released him from monastic vows and he was able to continue his secular activities as a priest-composer.
-spent much time at imperial court at Innsbruck. 5 of his operas were produced there.
15 operas in all. Also wrote at least 68 secular cantatas
Cantata [as related to opera and oratorio]
-from 1625 through the rest of the Baroque, the cantata was one of the 3 main genres of vocal composition. The other 2 were opera and oratorio. [in a way, cantata replaced motet]
Two leading composers of mid 17th century:
Barbara Strozzi (1619-64) in Venice
-adopted daughter of poet-librettist Giulio Strozzi (1583-1652)
-student of Cavalli
-wrote 6 volumes of arias, madrigals and cantatas 1644-64.
-many of the texts were by Giulio Strozzi
-the greatest and most prolific cantata composer was Alessandro Scarlatti
-approximately 600 extant cantatas...of these, more than 500 are for solo voice (usu. soprano) with basso continuo
What of other Italian cities? NAPLES
-although theatrical and musical entertainments existed for special occasions, opera was not introduced to Naples until around 1652 when a travelling troupe brought some Venetian operas.
-at first, operas were presented at the viceregal palace or at the Teatro San Bartolomeo which was enlarged under the patronage of Duke of Medinacelli (r. 1695-1702). In 1684, Alessandro Scarlatti was appointed to the post of viceregal chapelmaster. He wrote more than 1/2 of the operas in Naples during the end of the 17th century.
-late 17th century Neapolitan opera had features that became standard in 18th century Italian opera:
two types of recitative:
1. Recitativo secco [dry recitative] in which solo voice was accompanied only by basso continuo...used for dialogue and monologue...large amounts of narrative text.
2. Recitativo accompagnato [accompanied recitative] where the solo voice is accompanied by orchestra. Short portions might be unaccompanied or with only basso continuo but orchestra used for punctuation or emphasis on emotional sections.
Commentary and soliloquy were set as arias, often with a lengthened ABA format
-often, composers simply wrote “da Capo” instead of writing out the A return.
Alessandro Scarlatti (1660 - 1725)
-considered to be not the founder but the most important Neapolitan opera composer
-born in Palermo.
-At age 12, sent to Rome with his 2 sisters Anna Maria (1661-1703) and Melchiorra Brigida (1663-1736) who were singers.
-12 April 1678 married Antonia Anzalone.
Two of their 10 children: Pietro (1679-1750) and Domenico (1685-1757) had musical careers.
Anna Maria [Alessandro’s sister] had a professional operatic career and married twice. Her second husband was a wealthy shipowner who became impresario of Naples’ Teatro San Bartolomeo in 1703. He staged Domenico’s first operas.
Melchiorra [the other sister] eventually lived in Naples and was said to have pulled strings for Alessandro’s appointment as Viceregal maestro di cappella.
1679 Alessandro’s first oratorio and his first opera performed in Rome. Present were Queen Christina of Sweden [daughter of Gustavus Adolphus of Thirty Years War], and Cardinals Benedetto Pamphili and Pietro Ottoboni who all became his patrons.
These three people maintained theaters in their palaces.
-A. Scarlatti composed at least 4 more operas, 6 more oratorios and many cantatas for them
1684 moved to Naples perhaps because there was no public Roman theater due to the opposition of Pope Innocent XI (r. 1676-89) but Naples was not an opera center until S made it so.
-S wrote over 1/2 of the new operas presented in Naples between 1684 and 1702
More than 40 of these survive! and one of them claims to be his 88th...on the title page.
-the Duke left in 1702 [due to the Spanish War of Succession]
1703 Scarlatti in Rome but no public theaters and very little opera done even in private theaters. So, A turned to cantatas, serenatas and oratorios.
1707 as a result of the Spanish War of Succession, the Kingdom of Naples became Hapsburg property Austrian viceroy, Cardinal Grimani, invited Alessandro to return to his former position
-composed 11 operas including the latest Neapolitan taste for comic opera in vernacular dialect.
-also began to compose instrumental music such as concerti grossi.
1718-22 lived in Rome and composed...operas
Ex. La Griselda, Act II, scene 4
-his last surviving opera.
-composed in 1721
-with exception of one minor part for tenor, all roles in this opera were written for Castrati
-he wrote many scenes of dialogue in which no aria occurs.
1722 moved back to Naples for quiet retirement
-near the end of his career, his operas were considered old-fashioned but he was the pinnacle of this early Italian opera from Monteverdi through Cavalli and Cesti.
-opera took hold in France much later than one might think...remember that Peri’s Euridice was performed as part of the wedding festivities in Florence, 1600 for Maria de’ Medici and Henri IV of France.
Ballet de cour [court ballet] and Theater were THE entertainments in France Theater became very highly developed:
Jean Racine (1639-99) and J.-B. Molière (1622-73) wrote for theater
Politics: Richelieu, Mazarin, Louis XIV [“Fun Facts” background…not the focus of the class]
1601 Louis XIII born to Maria de’ Medici and Henri IV.
1610 Henri IV assassinated and Maria served as regent for her son and for her own gain
Richelieu (1585-1642) minister at court, coordinated the political jousting between mother, son
and French nobility.
1622 Richelieu made Cardinal
1624 Louis XIII essentially turned over power to Richelieu by making him first minister
Richelieu brought his cronies into government...including Cardinal Jules Mazarin (1602-61), an Italian who had served in Rome. Mazarin inherited power at Richelieu’s death
Louis XIII died in 1643 and young teen-aged Louis XIV with his mother, Anne of Austria [she
was actually Spanish...] survived 2 coup attempts.
Mazarin had his own designs but at his death...left his considerable fortune to Louis XIV
AND left his recommended successor, J.B. Colbert, who is responsible for France’s political, industrial and financial clout during Louis XIV’s time Mazarin introduced Italian opera to France...when Louis XIV was to marry Maria Teresia of Spain in 1660. Mazarin invited Cavalli to write a new opera...but it wasn’t done in time so Xerse was substituted...with ballet scenes.
Louis XIV had a palace constructed not in Paris but at a royal hunting lodge at Versailles.
-away from noise and political upheavals of his youth
-appropriate impressive setting
-accomodations for his requirements for nobles to be in court [so he could keep an eye on them]
-Privilèges [permits] to establish theaters and to print music or books had to be obtained from the minister of finance, Colbert.
-Louis XIV loved the ballet...it was musical drama but without all the singing he was an active, handsome participant beginning at age 13. Two years later, in Ballet de la nuit [Ballet of the night], a young Florentine danced alongside the King. This was Lulli.
Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-87)
-born Giovanni Battista Lulli in Florence to a miller.
1646 brought to France by Roger de Lorraine (Chevalier de Guise) to help his niece, Mademoiselle de Montpensier, learn Italian. Lulli stayed with the Montpensier family for 6 years.
-Lulli learned to play guitar, violin and to dance.
1661 became a naturalized French citizen and changed the spelling of his name to Lully
1653 February, Lully danced with the King in March: Lully appointed compositeur de la musique instrumentale du Roi [composer of instrumental music to the king]
-wrote instrumental music for court ballets and sang & danced in them too.
-by 1656, received permission to conduct the 16 petits violons He controlled bowings and excessive ornamentation.
-by 1666, he combined the 16 violinists with the 24 violons du Roi for court ballets
periods of his stage works grouped by genre:
1. 1653-63 ballets de cour
2. 1663-72 pastorales, comedies-ballets, tragedies-ballets collaborated with Molière in writing comédies-ballets 1664-70
3. 1672-87 large stage works:
-Lully arranged to construct an opera theater and found a good librettist, Philippe Quinault who wrote libretti for 11 operas
Louis XIV supplied the subject material for several too.
-between 1673-83, Lully composed 13 operas termed tragedies lyriques AND ballets, which include: Le temple de la paix 1685
Characteristics of Lully’s music divertissement is French for “diversion”. this is a section within a larger work, which consists of dances, vocal solos, ensembles...and may or may not have anything to do with the larger plot.
French overture -a form used developed during the 17th century and became associated with Lully in particular. This type of overture is in 2 sections, each repeated. The first section features slow dotted rhythms. The second is faster and is imitative...concluding with brief return of the first section material.
-precision of Lully’s orchestra was admired even outside the realm. The requirements of French overture rhythms would demand this precision of course
-Dance music: Lully introduced new dances into the ballet de cour ... bourrées and minuets replaced courantes and gaillardes.
Ex. Le Temple de la Paix
Minuet and Trio, Gavotte, Rondeau
After 1683, Lully composed a lot of religious music for the king’s chapel.
8 January 1687 to celebrate Louis XIV’s recovery from an operation, he conducted 150 musicians in a performance of his Te Deum which had been written in 1677. Lully had always “conducted” by pounding the floor with a cane [baton = stick] but in this concert, Lully hit one of his toes and despite medical treatment, gangrene began and Lully refused amputation. He died from this 22 March 1687.
masque - aristocratic entertainment that flourished in England during 17th century. In some parts of the performances, players wore masks. Based on allegorical or mythological plots, a masque is blend of lyric and dramatic poetry, dance, song and instrumental music.
Henry Purcell (1659 - 95)
-organist and singer (bass and countertenor)
-was a boy chorister in the Chapel Royal and began composing early
1673 voice broke and he was assigned other tasks: tuning the organ at Westminster Abbey, assisting the keeper of instruments, and copying music
1677 succeeded Matthew Locke as composer-in-ordinary for violins
1679 succeeded John Blow as organist at Westminster Abbey
1682-1695 one of 3 organists attached to the Chapel Royal.
-most of his music dates from after 1679
-he contributed important works in several genres: opera, incidental music, welcome songs and odes, anthems, more than 100 secular songs, keyboard works (a few organ voluntaries, some dances and
8 harpsichord suites) and instrumental ensemble music.
-Purcell was an outstanding composer of English songs.
Orpheus Britannicus (London, 1698) vocal solos, duets and trios
-large works for ceremonial occasions. (soloists, chorus and orchestra)
Hail, bright Cecelia for St. Cecelia’s Day, 1692
5 soloists, chorus and orchestra
Dido and Aeneas 1689
-composed for Josias Priest’s School for Young Ladies, in Chelsea
Dido was Queen of Carthage… tragic story recounted in Vergil’s Aeneas.
Ex. Dido and Aeneas Act III
Recitative - Aria “Thy hand, Belinda” “When I am laid in earth”
-The Fairy Queen [not Spencer] was like Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream but with dances, interludes and airs.
-not an opera but a sort of drama with incidental music.
-originally socred for 2 violins and viola but here arranged for 2 guitars.
-Italian composers, singers and instrumentalists were hired by German courts. There was some native style
Singspiel - the German term for opera in late 17th century. Many early German operas consist of spoken dialogue and strophic songs
Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600 - 81)
-credited with creating the zarzuela = Spanish dramatic form that combines singing and dancing with spoken dialogue
Manuel de Zumaya (c.1678-1756)
-born in Mexico and chapelmaster at Mexico City Cathedral from 1711
three-act opera La Parténope was the first full-length opera composed in North America...at viceregal palace in Mexico City, 1 May 1711.
4 types of instrumental music:
dance music either for dancing or stylized for listening
nonsectional works (ricercare)
sectional works (canzona types)
* the title of a piece does not necessarily indicate its form or character
consort - ensemble of instruments
Pieces in Imitative Counterpoint some examples:
ricercar = nonsectional work and usually monothematic with theme treated in continuous imitation. this type of composition could be called ricercar, capriccio, fuga, verset, fantasia... eventually, the monophonic nonsectional ricercar merged with fugue.
fantasia = imagination, whim. a composition like a ricercar but long and formally organized.
fancy = English term for a fantasia-like work
canzona had several different meanings during a long time period later 17th century Canzonas had fewer sections but longer overall length
*** multi-sectional canzonas became multiple-movement Sonata da chiesa and led to Trio Sonata
-prominent 17th century instrumental procedure
Three basic types:
1. cantus firmus variation = melody remains constant and unchanged throughout repetitions. Variation is achieved by putting the melody in different voice parts and supporting it with
different counterpoint. Ex. Chorale variations
2. melodic paraphrase variation = melody always apparent. Counterpoint harmonies remain constant. Variation is in the embellishment
3. variation over ostinato bass or chordal structure = the bass line could repeat unchanged as a ground bass and melodic and contrapuntal variation occurred above it.
* each repetition of the harmonic pattern formed a parte and the entire composition was a partita or set of variations.
chaconne Ex. Pachelbel Kanon & Gigue for 2 violins and basso continuo
-both chaconne and passacaglia are continuous variation forms with basso ostinato patterns.
Bach’s examples have set the definition after the fact:
Chaconne has a repeating harmonic pattern
Passacaglia has a long repeating bass line
In addition to the bass line variations:
song variations = instrumental variations on secular songs -> became later theme and variation.
-LOTs of 17th century dance music for social dancing, incidental music for dance scenes on stage, and dance-like instrumental music for background music, listening or playing entertainment.
-ballroom dancing cultivated at courts
-most in binary form
-many Renaissance dances remained popular but were transformed gradually throughout the era so that later dances resembled their Renaissance origin in name only.
Lute or Keyboard Suites evolved from collections with 3 particular dances at the core (allemande, courante and sarabande) to a set order of a few more dances.
-There are suites for instruments other than keyboard...
Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)
-born in Nuremberg which was known for its excellence in composition, instrument building and music printing.
-P’s early training was in Nuremberg and at the height of his career, in 1695, he returned there as organist of St. Sebald.
-died in Nuremberg on March 3, 1706
for a few years, he was a deputy organist at St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna worked in Eisenach (1677) and Erfurt (1678) and befriended several members of the Bach family also, worked in court positions in Stuttgart (1690) and Gotha (1692)
-was primarily known in his lifetime as an organist and composer of organ and keyboard works but....
Ex. Six Partie [suites] for 2 scordatura violins
-scordatura is the practice of tuning the strings in other than perfect 5ths....this is to make the sound brighter
-printed in Nuremberg after 1695
-all are cycles of dance movements preceded by an introductory one-movement ‘sonatina’
-Pachelbel also wrote trio sonatas which were published in Nuremberg in 1695.
Incidentally, 2 of his sons became successful musicians:
Wilhelm Hieronymus Pachelbel (1685-1764) was organist at Jakobkirche in Nuremberg and from 1725, at St. Sebald’s there.
Carl Theodorus Pachelbel (1690 - 1750) emigrated to Boston in 1730s and in 1733, assisted in erection of the organ in Trinity Church in Newport, RI. He was organist there for a year. In 1736, he played 2 organ concerts in New York City and then moved to Charleston, SC where he became organist of St. Philip’s Church. He died in Charleston, SC.
Baroque Suite dances could be as few as 3 or as many as 30 (the latter in some French suites)
Suite = collection of dances or dance-like music.
English composers, esp those working in German lands, seem to have been the 1st to group together dances that had originated in different countries. They also linked the dances by theme variation.
-addition of optional dance movements began with the French who considered the suite more a collection than a set with planned sequence of movements.
-the French standardized the character of each dance praeludium or intrada = an introductory movement often added by German composers.
double = the ornamented version of the dance immediately preceding it.
pavane = slower introductory dance to the galliard.
galliard = lively but not rapid. performed by men holding hats in hand.
saltarello = fast dance of folk origin.
allemande = moderate tempo, duple meter and usually polyphonic texture. Usually starts with an upbeat.
courante - around 1650, this was the preferred 1st dance of a ball but rarely danced after 1700. 3/2 or 6/4 meter, more moderate tempo than the corrente and uses dotted rhythms to reflect the hopping dance. Hemiola can be present.
corrente - the Italian equivalent of courante. in 3/4 or 3/8 meter, filled with running notes, lively tempo
sarabande - presumably originated in Latin America as the zarabanda, it appeared in Spain in 1580s. “According to contemporary accounts, it was a dance so sexually suggestive that its performance was forbidden; persons caught dancing the zarabanda were whipped and exiled.” [Stolba 348]
-slow tempo and usually in 3/2 meter. Begins on the beat and usually has the following rhythm:
half -- dotted half -- quarter | half -- whole
chacona - also of Latin American origin and equally wild and suggestive as sung & danced in Mexico in 1590s. “...it reached Spain before 1605, and, despite its obscenity - or perhaps because the obscenity was considered humorous - the chacona became the leading Spanish dance during the first quarter of the seventeenth century. The chacona became slower and more dignified as it spread through France and into Germany during the second quarter of the seventeenth century.
The danced passacaglia was similar to the chacona but less unbridled.”
*Unfortunately for us, there are no dancing instructions for these two dances in dance manuals that survive from the time...considered too vulgar.
passacaglia - remember that the chaconne and passacaglia are both musical forms as well as dances.
jig - gigue = English origin. Sung and danced at Elizabethan courts. The French name was gigue. Italian was giga. It was popular in Germany after 1650. Quick tempo in compound duple or triple meter:
6/8 9/8 or 12/8
-triplets common in melody, wide leaps and contrapuntal texture.
Jakob Froberger (1616-67)
-wrote 3 collections of suites. In the 3rd: 1693 posthumously published collection, the publisher rearranged the order of the dances to conform to listeners/performers’ expectations: allemande, courante, sarabande, gigue. This may or may not have been Froberger’s idea for the collection but in any event, this was not just the fashion of the time...it became the standard for all Baroque Suites.
Quasi-improvisatory Compositions - written for solo keyboard or lute:
fantasia = no set form, length nor meter. Free form
prelude = evolved from short improvisations done to check the tuning or touch. Church organists improvised to establish mode and pitch for the singing. No specific form
toccata = vary in form and design but the origin of the name is “touch piece” and came to be associated
with virtuosic finger work although that was not always the case in the early stages.
Froberger and Frescobaldi wrote toccatas.
French Lute Music
-neither harpsichord nor lute can have sustained sounds. Lutenists solve this by breaking chords into arpeggiations and figurations and by spreading the melodic parts among registers. style brisé (broken style) was the term to describe the technique. agréments were the little ornaments or embellishments on the melodies. These were indicated in the music by little symbols that were then adapted for keyboard use.
Denis Gaultier (1603-72) wrote some of the earliest unmeasured preludes...for lute.
Ennemond Gaultier (1575 - 1651) le vieux Gaultier (the old Gaultier) they were cousins
-The Gaultiers were the most significant 17th century lute composers.
-they, like Froberger, composed tombeau but for Lute!. “The instrumental tombeau follows the tradition of the déplorátions that Medieval and Renaissance poets and composers wrote in commemoration of an esteemed teacher or colleague at the time of his death.”
-at least 24 composers contributed during 17th and early 18th centuries and most of them worked in northern and central Germany where Lutheranism prevailed. Catholic services required accompaniment to Services and this included cantus-firmus types of compositions that were linked to the liturgy.
The principal types of organ music written:
1. quasi-improvisational compositions, usually termed toccata but sometimes, prelude or fantasia
-became a vehicle for virtuosity, esp on pedals.
2. fugue = a term used over centuries to imitative works, including those now called canons. The precursors were motet-like ricercars and nonsectional monothematic organ canzoni. These were often paired with an introductory fantasia, toccata or prelude. Early fugues were quite short. This couldn’t develop until major-minor key tonality concepts were fully established. AND not until tuning was developed to allow for playing in several keys.
Expositions (subject stated and imitated on I and V levels) alternate with episodes
Ex. The Well-Tempered Clavier vol. I 1722 by J.S. Bach 24 preludes and fugues, one in each of the major and minor keys.
3. chorale-based compositions [chorale is like a hymn… sung by congregation]
Chorale fugue = short work in which the 1st line of a chorale is the subject of a fugue. Used as an introduction to the chorale
Chorale fantasia = large composition in which the chorale melody is freely developed.
Tunder and Buxtehude wrote these.
-they seem to have no church function but were written for special concerts...i.e.
Abendmusik concerts in Lübeck
Chorale partita/chorale variations = set of variations on a chorale tune.
-exact function of these things isn’t known...perhaps used as substitute for motets when
a choir was unavailable.
Chorale prelude = short polyphonic setting of a chorale tune.
4. passacaglias and chaconnes were written to a lesser degree
The major composers at the beginning of 17th century were Sweelinck and Scheidt
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)
-born into a family of well-established musicians, he succeeded his father and his son succeeded him.
-organist at the Old Church of Amsterdam from 1580 until his death.
-Highly influential teacher...his students were founders of the North German “school” of organ
-all of his instrumental music is for the organ but NONE of it was published in his lifetime.
-wrote in the established forms, used quasi-improvisatory and variation techniques
-his monothematic fantasias with imitation on I and V levels are precursors of monothematic fugue.
Ex. Fantasia Chromatica
-4 part imitative work
-in Dorian mode
-quite similar to fugue but it is quasi-improvisatory sounding for that.
-Sweelinck wrote not only sacred and organ music but also witty vocal music
Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654) of Halle [in Germany]
-studied with Sweelinck for a time
Other German Organists/Composers
Franz Tunder (1614-67) in Lübeck
Dietrich Buxtehude (c.1637-1707) in Lübeck [see just a little bit ahead...]
F.W. Zachow (1663-1712) of Halle, Handel’s teacher
Johann Kuhnau (1660-1722) Bach’s predecessor at Thomaskirche in Leipzig
Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703) of Eisenach
Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)
-in 1695 at St. Sebald church in Nuremberg, he composed 95 short fugues to use as preludes...to set the pitch for singing the Magnificat at Vespers.
Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)
-born in Ferrara and presumed that he lived there until the court disbanded in 1597
1604 in Rome
1607 organist at Santa Maria in Trastevere
1608 named organist at St. Peter’s allowed to play in other churches and played harpsichord at musical gatherings in the homes of cardinals
1628 leave of absence to serve as court organist in Florence
1634 returned to St. Peter’s and remained until his death
By 1630, his performing and teaching reputation had spread all over Europe taught Froberger and was known (through published works) to Buxtehude and J.S. Bach
-wrote sacred and secular vocal music but is most famous for instrumental works.
published instrumental works include Fantasias (1608), 2 books of Toccatas (1615, 1627), 4 books of ricercars, canzonas and capriccios AND Fiori musicali di diverse compositioni, toccate, kyrie, canzoni, capricci, e ricercari, in partitura, a 4 (Musical flowers of diverse compositions, toccatas, kyries, canzonas, capriccios, and ricercars, in open score, 4 voices; 1635)
-this was his most famous composition. Most of its music is arranged as three organ Masses, including Messa della Madonna. For each Ordinary, F composed only the Kyrie and each Kyrie is a cantus firmus setting based on a named chant. Toccatas, ricercars and canzonas substitute for the Proper sections of the Mass.
-his toccatas were written for virtuosic display; they are written in contrasting sections; contain cross-rhythms, imitative counterpoint, chromaticism, much figuration especially approaching the final cadence.
Ex. Toccata IX
-demonstrates F’s toccata characteristics listed above
Dietrich Buxtehude (c.1637-1707)
-born in the town of Buxtehude in the Duchy of Holstein. At that time, it was under Danish rule and Dietrich always considered himself Danish.
-when the great organist, Franz Tunder died in 1667, B auditioned for the post of organist at the Marienkirche, Lübeck and was appointed to the job on 11 April 1668, became a Lübeck citizen on 23 July and married Anna M. Tunder on 3 August. We assume that this marriage was part of the job requirement because he made such a requirement for his own successor. Buxtehude served in this position for almost 40 years and was buried in the Marienkirche in May, 1707. B’s own daughter was not very good bait.
-B played all service music and reinstated the church concert music that Tunder had done. Buxtehude moved the weekday Abendmusik to 4 p.m. on Sundays right after the afternoon Service...for the last 2 Sundays of Trinity and the last 3 Sundays of Advent. Music included: oratorios or cantatas, vocal concertos, arias and organ works. B attracted MUCH attention through these concerts but no music that was known to been performed on them, has survived. [there is some music that might have been performed on them]
-120 sacred works include cantatas, vocal concertos, chorale settings and strophic arias
-organ works written for typical north German organ that had 3 manuals and pedalboard the Lübeck organ had 52 stops...15 of them for the pedal
-his organ works were continuous variation over ostinato bass, freely composed works, and chorale-based.
Ex. Vater unser in Himmelreich (variations on the chorale of this name)
Clavier = French name for keyboard
Klavier = German equivalent
** Both terms imply harpsichord or clavichord but sometimes, organ
-in the 17th and 18th centuries, the famous harpsichord builders were Flemish builders were in other countries too: Germany, England, France and Italy - Cristofori!
-piano was not widely used until after 1750.
The most important types of music were suite and theme & variation
Theme and Variations
in late 17th century, composers wrote variations on an original aria, air or theme.
18th century: the form used more and sometimes as a movement of a multi-movement form like sonata
LOTS were composed. In most after 1690, the [dance] movements appeared in this order:allemande, courante, sarabande, gigue...with optional dances placed in between
-before 1690, this was a term associated mainly with instrumental ensemble music.
-some solo harpsichord pieces were titled sonata but the forms did not usually resemble the ensemble pieces of the time
-furthermore, the baroque solo sonata was still evolving into the later 18th century Classic Sonata allegro...
Johann Kuhnau (1660-1722) is credited with transferring the instrumental ensemble sonata to clavier
Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre (c. 1666-1729)
-harpsichordist, organist and composer
-child prodigy who appeared in concert beginning at age 6
-by age ten, she was known for sight reading, performance, accompanying, improvising, transposing and composing
-attracted attention of Louis XIV and he encouraged her career
1684 had married organist Marin de la Guerre, who died in 1704
-retired from public performing in 1717 but continued to compose
-extant works include:
5-act opera, 3 volumes of cantatas, 6 sonatas for violin with continuo, 2 violin sonatas with continuo for viola da gamba and organ, 4 trio sonatas, some songs, and Pièces de clavecin, 1687.
The Style Galant or Rococo
-developed in Versailles and Paris, so designed for entertainment. Seriousness, profundity and structural intricacy was avoided.
-France became dominant in court music and Germany courts and composers imitated it.
-polyphony was avoided since it was a learned, serious style not suited to a style that sought to be entertaining and light.
-homophonic texture predominant: single melody placed uppermost in range, simple transparent harmonic accompaniment. Generally 4 to 8 bar phrases.
-Basso continuo was gradually abandoned and the art of realization eventually not needed since all parts began to be completely written out.
-To make up for substance in texture and compositional technique perhaps, and corresponding to architectural styles of the same time, Generous ornamentation and embellishment was the rule.
-Programmatic and descriptive titles were the rage.
François Couperin le grand (1668-1733)
-the most important French composer between Lully and Rameau
-several generations of the Couperin family possessed musical talent and many Couperins were excellent organists
-François was the most famous of a long family line of musicians active in Paris for over 2 centuries.
1717 appointed royal harpsichordist & music master to royal family of Louis XIV
In 1689, he had married Marie-Anne Ansault and two of their children became musicians:
Marie-Madeleine (1690-1742) became a nun and organist at Maubisson
Marguerite-Antoinette (1705 - c.1778) succeeded her father as court organist when he was ill in 1730. *** She was the 1st woman to hold that job AND she was harpsichord teacher to the King’s daughters. She held both jobs until 1741 when she became ill and had to resign. Unfortunately, she did not compose.
Early composition: sacred and secular choral works, organ pieces, generally in Baroque style
1690 Pièces d’orgue [Organ pieces] first and only volume of his organ music. He was 21.
This book = 2 organ Masses
An organ Mass = polyphonic pieces written to replace movements of the Ordinary and Proper of the sung Mass.
-wrote instrumental ensemble music, secular songs and cantatas, sacred vocal music but is primarily known for his 235+ harpsichord pieces.
1713-1730 Pieces de Clavecin - 4 vols (1713, 1717, 1722, 1730) contain most of his 235 harpsichord works
-in style galant
-more than 200 pieces arranged in 27 suites called Ordres which could contain short and very long pieces
-These ordres were of variable lengths from 4 to 24 pieces but usually 8 to 15.
-all in same or parallel (parallel major & minor) keys
-a few of the pieces have generic Baroque dance suite titles: allemande...
-most of the pieces have descriptive or programmatic titles (a rococo attribute)
-and to each Ordre set, Couperin gave a fanciful title
-although dance terms not used as titles for the movements, the rhythms still used.
-melodic line simple to allow for elaborate ornamentation.
-VERY careful to notate symbols and included a table of agréments with explanations
** Couperin has been credited with standardizing French ornamentation.
-Although published together as suites, Couperin intended for performers to select which to play
Ex. Ordre #11 [movement] no.5: Les Fastes de la grande et ancienne Menestrandise
[The ostentatious displays of the great and ancient minstrels guild]
This 5th piece of Order 11 is in turn, a 5 movement satire:
Premier Acte: Les Notables, et Jurés-Ménestrandeurs
Second Les Viéleux, et les Gueux
3. Les Jongleurs, Sauteurs; et Saltimbanques: avec les Ours, et les Singes
4. Les Invalides: ou gens Estropiés au service de la grande Ménestrandise
5. Désordre, et déroute de toute la troupe: causes par les Yvrognes, les Singes, et les Ours
-wrote two theoretical books
Regle pour l’accompagnement [Rules for accompaniment] in manuscript
-how to accompany from a basso continuo line
L’art de toucher le clavecin 1716 [revised 1717] [The art of playing the harpsichord]
-thoughts on early student training, including 8 preludes suitable for teaching material
-fingering, ornamentation, performance practice, and how to work out difficult parts of his music
-influenced many Baroque composers, including Bach.
-two English translations are still available.
cantata = vocal piece
sonata = instrumental piece. The origin of the term is perhaps in 13th century Provençal literature: sonada referred an instrumental piece of music. In Italian, the word sonata comes from the verb, sonare (to sound, to play.)
-in the early 17th century, sonata and sinfonia were used interchangeably...later, sinfonia was used for movements preceding a group of dances. Sonata was used more and more for an independent instrumental piece that was not programmatic (no descriptive titles)
-Near the end of the 16th century, terms used imprecisely with ensemble music were sonata, sinfonia, and concerto and occasionally combined with canzona. As sections of a canzona grew longer and more distinct, they began to appear as “movements.” The multi-movement canzona was no longer a true canzona but a later type of sonata known as sonata da chiesa or church sonata. These were for performances in church, for Proper sections of the Mass or filler between movements or as Postlude. Sonata da camera was a term for sonatas that were intended for private diversions at court or for public concerts. This piece could be a sort of suite of dances and the movements had dance titles. In a Sonata da chiesa, the movements were labeled with tempo markings even if they resembled dances.
trio sonata - 2 treble instruments + basso continuo (2 people). 3 instrumental parts but 4 people
accompanied solo sonata = soloist (usu. violin, flute or bass viol) + 2 performers on basso continuo
-became popular after 1700
concerto -in first 1/2 of 17th century Italy, this term meant vocal music accompanied by instrumentalists
concertato - vocalists and/or instrumentalists performing in opposition to, yet in agreement with, one another.
concertino [little ensemble] contrasted with the ripieno [large ensemble]
-it’s unknown who first used this term [concerto grosso] but it was being used by around 1700.
Corelli’s Concerti grossi, Op. 6 became the most famous examples and were well known before they were published in 1714.
Instrumental Concerto as we know it now, developed in the Viennese Classic era (after Baroque) from this
-around 1700, solo concerti were written by Torelli and Albinoni.
consort = ensemble...in English music. Ex. Matthew Locke (c.1622-77) and his contemporaries wrote consort songs for voice + consort of instruments.
Northern Italy was the center of instrumental chamber music
-violin making began in 16th century but was perfected in the Baroque era
-violins did not immediately replace viols which were used throughout the 17th century and were preferred for purely contrapuntal music
-the celebrated craftsmen for violin [and violas & violoncellos] making lived in Cremona, Italy
Andrea Amati (c.1510-c.1580) was the first to become famous
Antonio & Girolamo Amati = 2 of Andrea’s sons, trained in the family craft
Nicolo (1596-1684) = Andrea’s grandson. Made finer instruments than his grandfather did
Nicolo taught the craft to other builders:
Andrea Guarneri (c.1626-98)
Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) made instruments for 70 years
Giuseppe Guarneri (1698-1744) grandson of Andrea Guarneri, learned from family
-Stradivari and G. Guarneri were the 2 best violin makers of all time.
-unfortunately, when Stradivari died, some of his trade secrets died too
Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
-violinist, composer and teacher
-family was prosperous and the children had good educations
age 13 went to Bologna for classical studies but heard instrumentalists at San Petronio and decided to study violin. Studied in Bologna for 4 years
1670, examined and admitted to the Accademia Filarmonica [honorary society]
1675-1713 in Rome [until his death]
-yet considered himself a Bolognese composer
-violinist and director of instrumental ensembles
-worked for a while as chamber musician for Queen Christina of Sweden who lived in Rome after her abdication
-led the ten violins at the church of San Luigi from 1682 -1708.
1684 began to take responsibility for and perform in music for the palace of Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili
1687 Pamphili made him music master
1690 when Pamphili moved to Bologna, Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (nephew of Pope Alexander VIII) became Corelli’s patron...Ottoboni treated Corelli as a friend
-directed concerts and operas at the palace and at the Teatro Tor di Nona
April 1706 Corelli, Pasquini and Alessandro Scarlatti were admitted to the Arcadian Academy where their patron, Ottoboni, was already a member.
But after 1708, Corelli no longer performed in public and his health declined especially after 1712.
-he moved from the palace to a brother’s apartment, taking his collection of paintings with him
January 8, 1713 he died and was interred in the chapel of St. Joseph in the church of Santa Maria della Rontonda - the Pantheon. Interment there was restricted to members of a painting, sculpture and architecture society but Pope Clement XI granted a special privilege to Corelli
-Corelli’s will of 5 January 1713 left one painting of his choice to Cardinal Ottoboni and a Breughel painting to Cardinal Colonna. Corelli’s brothers received the rest: 134 paintings. Corelli’s student, Fornari, received his musical instruments, manuscripts, plates of Op. 4 and plates prepared for the yet unpublished Op.6
-Arcangelo Corelli prepared 6 sets of string music for publication. Each set (Opus) contained 12 works.
Op. 2 Sonate da camera a tre [11 sonate da camera and a chaconne, for 2 violins, and violone or harpsichord]
Op.5 Sonate a Violino o Cimbalo (Rome, 1700) 6 sonate da chiesa, 5 sonate da camera and theme and variations on La folia for solo violin with violone or harpsichord.
Op.6 Concerti grossi (Amsterdam, 1714) 12 concerti grossi for obbligato soloist ensemble of 2 violins and violoncello, and optional large ensemble of 2 violins, viola and bass.
-this was still a relatively new form and the number and kind of instruments in the contrasting ensembles varied. Corelli’s choices became the standard.
concertino = string trio, possibly with its own continuo keyboard. plays more difficult parts
ripieno [tutti or large ensemble] = never plays alone but reinforces concertino. parts are easy
but the viola parts are not mere filler
no.8 is the most famous of these concerti. “Christmas Concerto”
-called that because of Corelli’s notation on the Pastorale - no.8’s optional last (6th) movment
“Fatto per la Notte di Nativitata” [Written for Christmas Eve.]
Ex. Concerto grosso Op.6 no.8 “Christmas Concerto”
-the majority of his works are trio sonatas - the most fashionable combination of the time
-he made distinctions between da chiesa and da camera.
-wrote almost exclusively for bowed string instruments and wrote idiomatically for them.
BUT very rarely does the violin extend beyond 3rd position...the most comfortable on Baroque violin which had a shorter neck and fingerboard than the modern violin.
*** seldom used the G string... at the time, that string was made of uncovered gut and made an
-by 1800, 45 editions of his solo violin sonatas, Op.5 were printed. These were his most popular works.
-also VERY popular was the last sonata of Op. 2: the ciaconne and especially the variations on La Folia.
-Corelli had a reputation as a strict disciplinarian where his conducting was concerned.
-demanded uniform bowings...something we now expect
Highly influential violinist...taught many students who became famous and influential in their own right:
Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762) - one of the great violin virtuosi of his time.
worked mostly in England where he wrote music and several treatises including the popular
The Art of Playing on the Violin (1750) based on Corelli’s teaching
-French were slow to take to instrumental ensemble music and what was popular was generally imported or by naturalized citizens born in Italy.
-However, in late 17th and early 18th centuries, there was a flourishing Parisian “school” of bass viol
during the time when violin and ‘cello were becoming more dominant and viol was fading
Marin Marais (1656-1728)
-at the center of the Parisian bass viol school
-viola da gamba player in the service of the French king
-wrote more than 550 works for 1, 2 or 3 bass viols [otherwise known as viola da gamba] with continuo
Pièces de violes = 5 books published between 1686 and 1725. These are the more than 550 pieces.
Pièces en trio pour les flûtes, violon, et dessus de viol [Trios for flutes, violin, and treble viol] pub 1692
-the first trio sonatas to appear in France
-by around 1725, Marais was known all over Europe for his virtuosity on the viola da gamba and for his composition.
-additional pieces survive in manuscript
Ex. Pieces de Violes
Le Labyrinthe (from Book IV, 1717)
Tombeau pour M. de Lully (from Book II, 1701)
** a Film from around 1990: “All the Mornings of the World” is about him
Jean-Marie Leclair l’ainé (the elder; 1697-1764)
-violinist, composer and dancer.
-founder of the French “school” of violin playing
-taught Pierre Gaviniès
-continued Couperin’s concept of combining French and Italian musical styles
-well acquainted with Corelli’s style, knew Geminiani, performed with Locatelli (and may have
studied with Locatelli) but was also well grounded in French style.
-earliest known works were 10 sonatas for violin and basso continuo in a manuscript anthology compiled around 1721. The anthology contains 69 violin sonatas by French and Italian composers.
Premier livre de sonates [First book of sonatas; 1723]
Second livre de sonates [Second book of sonatas; c. 1728]
both of the above contain the 10 sonatas already mentioned
-also composed several volumes of solo sonatas, at least one book of trio sonatas and 12 concerti grossi
-music is technically difficult with double and triple stops, high positions, double trills...
-used a slightly longer bow than did Corelli
“Leclair was murdered with an engraving tool in the courtyard of his Paris home on 22 October 1764. Three suspects were apprehended: his second wife, who was a professional engraver; the gardener, who found the body; and Leclair’s nephew, violinist G.-F. Vial. Evidence in the French Archives Nationales points toward Vial; however, he was never brought to trial, and the case is marked ‘Unsolved.’” [Stolba]
EMINENT COMPOSERS OF THE EARLY 18TH CENTURY
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
-father was a leading violinist at St. Mark’s in Venice and was probably Antonio’s only teacher although he may well have had some lessons with other musicians at St. Mark’s
-studied for the priesthood but also became a brilliant violinist
-1693 took holy orders and ordained in 1703 but did not say Mass after his first year, due to asthma, angina pectoris or a combination of those diseases.
-“the red priest”
September 1703-1740 intermittently director of instrumental music, staff composer, teacher and violinist at a church-supported home for foundling girls in Venice: Pio Ospedale della Pietà, one of 4 ospedali [hospitals] that were charity homes for the sick or supervise education of indigent, illegitimate or orphaned girls. The 4 hospitals took care of hundreds of girls. Music training was important and by 1700, each ospedale employed a full time maestro di cappella + two or more specialists in various instruments.
1704 duties expanded at the Ospedale and was charged with teaching all string instruments, acquiring new string instruments for the orchestra and supervising their maintenance
1716 promoted to maestro de’ concerti [master of the concerts]
* he was associated with the Pietà until 1740 but he was gone for much of the time...sometimes for as much as a year or more due to either to budget cutbacks or for his own performance reasons
-Traveled widely throughout Italy, Germany and possibly France, to supervise production of his many operas and was accompanied by a well-known singer and her sister. At least one of them was his mistress for 20 years. This lapse of ecclesiastical duty plus his frequent absences from his job annoyed his superiors but he was too valuable to lose.
-In 1740, attracted by greater possible fame, he left Venice for Vienna. Whatever the reason for this journey, he died the next year in poverty and obscurity. Over 700 works (about 40 operas included), so famous and well known all over Europe, essentially died with him; except for his concertos.
-One of his duties was to compose at least 2 concertos per month for the girls of the Conservatory. About 500 for just about every possible instrumental combination, survive today.
about 350 are for one solo instrument with string orchestra and basso continuo
about 2/3 of those are for solo violin and the rest are for bassoon, violoncello, oboe, flute,
viola d’amore, recorder or mandolin (in order of frequency)
more than 40 concerti are for 2 soloists, usually 2 identical instruments
-he gave special titles to many of his concerti...alluding to the person for whom the piece was written, the soloist, the overall mood, a technical feature, or the program
-he was composing by 1704 and for specific occasions or performers. Whenever he accumulated a dozen of the same genre, he had them published.
Op. 1 12 Trio Sonatas printed in Venice, 1705
Op. 3 L’estro armonico [Harmonic whim] 1711 by Étienne Roger, Amsterdam
12 concerti... 4 each for 1, 2 and 4 solo violins with string orchestra
Op. 4 La stravaganza [Eccentricity] 1714
12 concerti for solo violin
-Part of The Four Seasons was still known in France later in the 18th century because it had been one of the king’s favorites.
-Young J.S. Bach copied out some of Vivaldi’s concertos in order to study this modern music. For decades it was thought that these were Bach’s own works. When the Vivaldi originals were rediscovered in the 19th century, history had to be rethought.
The Four Seasons La stagione
-The first 4 concertos from Opus 8: Il Cimento dell'armonia e dell’inventione
[the contest between harmony and invention]
published in Amsterdam around 1725, a collection of 12 concertos.
-composed for the girls at the seminary, these are a display of virtuosity and contrasting group sizes. 3 movements, programmatic, energetic rhythm...They embody the last type of Baroque style mentioned above, Concerto, the style that most resembles later Classical style.
Concerto Grosso: A Baroque type of work that emphasizes the contrast between groups of soloists and the entire group.
-There are words in the players’ parts that point out the subject matter of the music. In addition, Vivaldi wrote an “an explanatory sonnet” about each concerto, presumably for the edification of the listener.
Spring (Concerto in E Op.8, no.1) La primavera
I. Allegro: Spring has come [bird songs], and the joyful birds greet it with merry song, and the brooks, in
Zephyr’s gentle breezes [flowing brooks], murmur quietly as they flow along. Then, hiding the
sky with a black mantle [thunderclaps], come both thunder and the lightning that announces it, and afterward, when these are silenced [bird songs], the little birds begin again their enchanting songs.
II. Largo e pianissimo sempre [sleeping goatherd, rustling leaves, barking dog]: And later, in the sweetly
flowering meadow, to the pleasant murmur of the leafy trees, the goatherd sleeps with his faithful dog at his side.
III. Allegro [country dance]: To the festive sound of the pastoral pipe, nymphs and shepherds dance under spring’s lovely sky and brilliant light.
-Vivaldi’s father was involved with opera and after 1710, so was Antonio [as composer and impresario]
-Antonio wrote at least 49 operas but only 21 survive and some of those are incomplete
-Mass, Vespers, oratorio [now lost] and more than 30 motets
BUT...in 1723, the Pietà commissioned him to write 2 concerti per month and to rehearse them
-for all his concerto writing, Vivaldi considered himself an opera composer
-His most important contributions to music history were made in his concerti
-the form was tighter, themes more concise, rhythm more driving, balance tension and release, drama
-most of his concerti followed fast-slow-fast format with the middle movement in a contrasting but related key.
In 1713, someone at the Weimar court brought back some fashionable music just published in Amsterdam:
Vivaldi concerti Op.3 L’Esto armonico
-It was exuberant and a show of virtuoso violin.
-Vivaldi was only 6 or 7 yrs older than Bach and was as virtuoso on the violin as Bach was on organ.
-3 well defined movements: fast-slow-fast and highly rhythmic.
-Vivaldi also thought more vertically; he understood key relationships - anticipating later Classicism.
-This music influenced Bach who wrote his Brandenburg Concerti during his employ at Cöthen btn 1717-1723
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
-b. Magdeburg March 14, 1681 d. Hamburg 25 June 1767
-youngest of 2 sons in an upper-middle-class family. His ancestors included NO musicians but all ot the men had had university educations and most became clergymen
-excellent prep school and university education but only ordinary school education in music rudiments
-self taught in composition
1685 enrolled at Magdeburg Gymnasium and Domschule: studied Latin, rhetoric and dialectic
-no special music training but by age 10, had learned to play several instruments: flute, violin & keyboard
-at age 12, wrote an opera in style of Lully
His mother responded by forbidding him any further involvement in music and sent him to another school, in Zellerfeld. But, there he learned of the association of math and music...and taught himself more about composition and wrote some music that the local town pipers played
at 14, conducted music for a church at Hildesheim
-visited Hanover and first heard French and Italian music...this he studied and tried to imitate
1701 entered Leipzig University as student of law and foreign languages
-he tried to conceal his compositional efforts but his roommate discovered a piece and arranged for its performance at Thomaskirche. This was the turning point in his life. The Leipzig mayor commissioned him to comopose a cantata every 2 weeks for use in Thomaskirche
-during his student days in Leipzig, Telemann met Handel and they became good friends
1704 became organist at Neukirche [“New Church” or, University Church]
he enlarged its choir by addition of members of the Collegium Musicum [which he had organized earlier]
1709 Konzertmeister at court of Eisenach. He kept this title and pay when he was called to Frankfurt:
1712 Frankfurt Kapellmeister at churches of the [Barfüsskirche] ‘Barefootted Friars’ and St. Catherine
composed at least 5 cycles of cantatas for the litrugical year
wrote music for civic affairs
assumed the task of training schoolboys for the choir
directed Frauenstein Society collegium musicum
organized weekly public concerts
1714 acquired citizenship in Frankfurt through his marriage to Maria Textor
1721 until his death town musical director at Hamburg
He had been recommended (without T’s even applying) by Neumeister to be the Kantor of the Johanneum and music director for 5 churches
Immense job requirement for his position in Hamburg
2 new cantatas for each Sunday, a new Passion annually, additional cantatas, odes, oratorios for church and civic use
**he also found time to participate in opera, direct the collegium musicum, and arranged for public concerts
The 2 most famous collegia in Germany were those in Leipzig (founded by Telemann) and in Hamburg
-some city officials objected to his unassigned activities and forbade him from participating in theatrical performances...so he responded by applying for the Thomaskirche Kantor job in Leipzig.
Kuhnau had died and 6 men applied, including J.S. Bach
Leipzig wanted Telemann but Hamburg wouldn’t release him...and they increased his pay and allowed him to participate in whatever activities he wanted
1722 declined, on Kuhnau’s death in 1722, the offered position of cantor of the Thomasschule at Leipzig
-later that year, he was named music director of the Hamburg Opera...held job until the Opera closed in 1738.
-He was far better known in his lifetime than Bach
WORKS Incredibly prolific!!! Most of his published music was engraved by himself and more than 4000 works are extant
-a self-taught musical chameleon, he wrote French, Italian and German music in Baroque, Pre-Classical, and Rococo styles
-he also made contributions in music theory, education and concert organization
about 40 operas (light comic opera as well as opera seria)
12 series of cantatas and motets for the church year (about 3000 numbers with orchestra or organ)
32 installation numbers for preachers
33 Hamburger Capitänsmusiken [a cantata with instrumental introduction]
20 pieces for jubilees, consecrations or coronations
12 funeral services
14 numbers of wedding music
over 600 overtures
serenades, marches, trio sonatas, other chamber music, oratorios
ALSO...wrote 3 autobiographies: 1718, 1729, and 1739
He was not totally absorbed in music. He loved rare plants and Handel occasionally contributed to T’s plant collection.
Ex. Concerto in A minor for Recorder, Viola da gamba and Strings
Lutheran Church Service Music
-chorales were the core...these were German language hymns sung in unison or Choraliter by the congregation.
-texts and tunes originated in the 16th century but more chorales were added throughout the Baroque era.
-sacred aria = hymn with a more personal and subjective character... 17th century composers liked this
-motet had several parts that could be sung by voices or with instrumental reinforcement
polychoral motets were very popular, and also with combination of Biblical text and chorale texts
* and, motets that used a chorale tune as a cantus firmus: one voice singing in long notes, a chorale tune with its words while the rest of the singers sang another text (Gospel).
-chorale variations and chorale prelude Deriving from an old Lutheran practice of having instruments play some of the chorale verses, an organist could improvise (or compose) variations on the chorale as a set of variations OR as an individual chorale prelude
-born in Eisenach to a family of musicians. Bachs had connections in an incredible number of churches.
musician Bachs in 16th century...last of line died in 1846. In btn, no generation without a musician.
-J.S. Bach was very interested in his family history, wrote about it, and studied his ancestors’ music.
-he copied 20 compositions into his Alt- Bachisches Archiv
7. Johann Michael
-brother of the just-discussed Johann Christoph and son of beloved Heinrich
-employed in Arnstadt as court organist until 1673.
-1673 moved to Gehren, near Arnstadt at age 25. The Gehren organist (not a Bach) had moved to Erfurt to take the organist position that had been made vacant by the death of Michael’s uncle, Johann Bach.
-He must have received payment from his former ducal patron as well, since he was frequently commanded to play at the Arnstadt court. Another source of income was opened for this versatile artist through the construction of instruments for the music lovers of Arnstadt and its vicinity....Michael was an expert in clavichords and violins.” [Geiringer 38-9]
-1675 married Catharina Wedemann, a sister of his brother’s (Johann Christoph) wife.
-However, Michael died at age 46, leaving no sons but 5 unmarried daughters, the youngest of whom, Maria Barbara was only 10 years old.
Michael’s widow died in 1704 and some of these Bach girls moved to Arnstadt. Maria Barbara moved in with her uncle’s family.
Christoph Bach (#4) - brother of Johann and [beloved] Heinrich and uncle to Johann Christoph and J. Michael, died in Arnstadt at age 48. He left 3 sons and a mentally handicapped daughter. The oldest son became Cantor in a Themar (becoming “Cantor” without a university degree! He must have exhibited enough Latin school education). The two younger sons were twins: J. Christoph (8)and J. Ambrosius (9).
8. Johann Christoph (1645-93) made a good impression in Arnstadt and was appointed court musician by Count Ludwig Günther of Schwarzburg-Arnstadt. Violin was his main instrument
-played at court and church services but his salary was not as much as his father’s and he had to supplement income by playing for special occasions...in direct conflict with the town musician.
-finally married at age 34. Six years before he had broken off an engagement with a girl he had realized would be inappropriate for him. He died at 48, leaving 3 children.
9. Johann Ambrosius (1645-95)
-began career in Erfurt town band, taking over a cousin’s position and appointed in 1667
-met Elisabeth Lämmerhirt in his uncle Johann’s home. She was a much younger half-sister of Johann’s wife, Hedwig. Married 1 year after appointment. He was 23, she 24. Probably very little dowry but her family had high social standing.
-Ambrosius was looking for more impressive opportunities.
-1671 Ambrosius auditioned for the Eisenach town musician job by playing organ at the Georgenkirche. Another cousin, the great Johann Christoph (#6) [died in 1703], had been organist there for the past 6 years.
-Ambrosius made a great impression!
-Ambrosius had a very different experience in the same town at the same time as his cousin, Johann Christoph who played the organ at the Georgenkirche.
-Ambrosius passed on his thrifty but practical nature to his sons.
-A’s sons did not get expensive schooling but were trained and apprenticed in music.
-Ambrosius did consider moving from Eisenach to Erfurt but the Eisenach authorities liked him too well to agree to let him go.
Then... “His eldest son, Johann Christoph, who had studied in Erfurt with the great Johann Pachelbel and subsequently assisted his aged kinsman, Heinrich Bach, in Arnstadt, was apointed organist in the city of Ohrdruf, a position he was to hold throughout his life. Besides experiencing the satisfaction of seeing the youth well established, the father had the joy of discovering the unusual talent of his youngest child. Ambrosius taught little Sebastian the violin... Unfortunately this happy family life did not last long. In August 1693 Ambrosius suffered a grave loss, when his beloved twin brother, his second self, died in Arnstadt. Only a few months later yet another tragic event occurred with the sudden death of his dear wife, Elisabeth. While still reeling from the impact of these two shocks, the harassed widower had to keep the household going for his young sons, his apprentices and assistants. As his only daughter was just leaving home to marry an Erfurt citizen, and since for people of his social standing the engagement of a paid housekeeper was out of the question, there was only one solution open to Ambrosius: he had to marry again as speedily as possible. He chose an Arnstadt woman well known to the Bach family, Barbara Margarethe Keul, twice widowed, who had been married to his cousin, Johann Günther. The wedding took place in November 1694, half a year after Elisabeth’s death. But though Ambrosius valiantly strove to continue his normal way of life, the two losses he had suffered undermined his health. Two months after the wedding he fell ill; on January 31, 1695, he received Holy Communion at home, and on February 24 he was buried... Barbara Margarethe endeavoured to make the best of a difficult situation. She wrote a spirited petition to the Council in which she cited the case of Ambrosius’ twin brother in Arnstadt, whose position had been handled by the widow with the help of the assistants and apprentices for eighteen months, and asked for the same privilege...The Eisenach city fathers, quickly forgetting their appreciation of Ambrosius’ services, paid the widow only what was strictly and legally due to her, viz. the salary for one-and-a-half quarters. The engaged [a non-Bach] as town musician, and Ambrosius’ family had to leave. The widow returned to Arnstadt; the elder son, Johann Jakob, was to be apprenticed with the new Hausmann, and the younger one, Johann Sebastian, remained in the care of his eldest brother, Johann Christoph, organist at Ohrdruf.”
*The Count of Schwarzburg-Arnstadt had lost in 1692 - organist Heinrich Bach; 1693 - town musician & twin of Ambrosius, Johann Christoph Bach; and in 1694, town of Gehren organist, Johann Michael Bach.
-The Bach family [before J.S.] worked almost exclusively for the Protestant church - mostly Lutheran
-Johann Sebastian collected compositions by his forebears and studied them.
So, genetic predisposition had something to do with it. BUT still...
“I had to work hard. Anyone who works as hard as I did, will get as far.” JS Bach
-sent to Eisenach Latin school at age 8 attending at the same time as 2 of his brothers and two of his cousins.
pupils usually started at age 7 and remained in each successive class for 2 or 3 years, until ready for promotion. Sebastian advanced very quickly, always slightly ahead of his older brother Jakob - 3 years older.
-in spite of his interest in academic subjects, his musical talent was even greater.
he did not study keyboard instruments until he was older:
-both parents died before B was 10 years old. (mother died when he was 9 and Ambrosius less than a year later) Geiringer assumes that he was taught violin by his father, Ambrosius.
Sebastian and Jakob were raised by his older brother, Johann Christoph (1671-1721), an organist then in his mid 20s in nearby Ohrdruf. This older brother had left home soon after the birth of his youngest brother in order to study with Pachelbel. He had married only a few months before his younger brothers appeared. His wife was expecting. He did not have a large income.
-Jakob attended Ohrdruf’s Latin school for a year and then left to be apprenticed to the Eisenach town musician who had succeeded their father.
-Sebastian remained in Ohrdruf for 5 years. He was usually the youngest [smartest] in his Ohrdruf Latin (Lyceum) school classes and became a senior at age 14 when the average age was 17.7 years. He studied Latin and Lutheran orthodoxy. This resulted in his lifetime hobby of collecting and reading theological books.
-earned a small income (which he contributed to the family) from singing
keyboard lessons with his brother who we may safely assume was as well trained as his Bach contemporaries and ancestors. Remember that he had been trained by Ambrosius and by Pachelbel!
J.S.’s brother had him copy out scores of past German masters, in order to learn something about composition.
-J.S. needed to seek his musical training elsewhere because his brother’s family was growing and he needed more training.
-normally, he would have been apprenticed to another member of the family but too many Bachs had died in those decades. J.S.’s stepmother thought the family was dying out. Ambrosius died in his prime and so did his two brothers and his cousin, Johann Michael
Bach learned of scholarships in Lüneburg for “offspring of poor people, with nothing to live on, but possessing good voices” [G 123]
-Bach and a schoolbuddy who travelled with him in March 1700 left just in time...an epidemic struck Ohrdruf after they left.
Bach sang soprano. He was not quite 15, his friend was 18.
-received room, board, only 12 groschen per month but he also got a share in street singing, weddings, funerals...and his firewood and candles.
-Spent 3 years as a chorister (sang treble in the Mettenchor [Matins choir] at St. Michael’s School (a boys’ Lutheran academy) in Lüneburg, near Hamburg.
Even though he lost his beautiful soprano voice soon after his arrival, it was the custom to allow the scholarship boys continue in the choir as tenors and basses. In J.S.’s case, he was valuable especially as an instrumentalist.
-Studied the earlier Protestant music in the school library which contained 1100 manuscripts by 175 composers, among which were works by Heinrich Bach and the great Eisenach Johann Christoph
*the library had been expanded by the Cantor, Friedrich Emanuel Praetorius (1623-95)
-studied organ, violin, studied French court music brought by visitors to the school...everything he could get his hands on.
-Also studied science, German poetry...he had interest in other subjects but his natural inclinations determined his profession. “...the curriculum imposed by the Michaelisschule, a Latin school for non-aristocratic youths, [was] where Sebastian studied religion, rhetoric, logic, Latin, and Greek...
-the boys were housed in the old convent where the school for young aristocrats was. The young nobles heaped scorn on the choirboys but Sebastian seems to have taken it in stride and saw opportunities to learn French language and hear French music. At the academy [the nobleman’s school] was a student of Lully’s who noticed Bach’s enthusiasm and invited him to go with him to Celle [home of the Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg] where he was court musician
*through this, Bach heard and could study music of French composers like Couperin
** Visited Hamburg at least twice (30 miles each way, on foot) to hear a famous organist, J.A. Reincken, then 77 years old, on a splendid organ in the Catharinenkirche.
March 1703 was an orchestral violinist and court musician at the Weimar court of Duke Johann Ernst
-in June, he was invited to advise on building of a new organ at the “Neukirche” in Arnstadt. Church elders were so impressed that they offered him a job. The original church had burned in 1581 and rebuilt 100 years later. J.S.’ relatives used their influence to create a real organist opportunity for him.
-August 1703 accepted a job as organist in Arnstadt, a small city of 3800 known for its linden trees
-Reasonably well paid, especially for an 18 yr old.
-job was for an Organist: played preludes and accompanied hymns. Occasionally a cantata.
every Sunday 8-10 am, every Monday at intercessory service, every Thursday 7-9 am and train a small choir of students from the Latin school
-He did not enjoy conducting the choir... the church was not the most important in town and so the boys were not the best quality.
and...some of the choir boys were older than B and some discipline problems arose. One public brawl resulted from B describing one's bassoon performance as that of a Zippelfagottist (nanny goat bleat bassoonist). “After two years of unpleasantness, things came to a head in a street brawl which occurred between the organist and a particularly offensive rowdy by the name of Geyersbach. The altter, by three years Sebastian’s senior, happened to meet Bach on a dark night and attacked him with a stick, calling him a ‘dirty dog’ because the organist had made fun of him as a ‘nanny-goat bassoonist.’ Sebastian drew his sword, a fight began, and blood would have been shed had nt the spectators intervened after sundry holes had been pierced in Geyersbach’s camisole. The incident made Sebastian even more disgusted with the choir, and gradually he stopped working with it.” [G 132-3]
-obtained 4 weeks leave to go to Lübeck (250 miles each way!) to hear Buxtehude, a renowned organist who had begun giving a series of public concerts, Abendmusik. But he stayed for 4 months instead of 4 weeks. Elders were not pleased at all.
-Buxtehude may have tried to recruit Bach as his successor. He had sought Mattheson and then Handel all who turned down this fabulous job...because of the traditional condition: that the new organist marry the outgoing organist’s daughter. In this case, Anna Margreta was thirty years old.
J.S. Bach was already involved [with Maria Barbara]
-came back with too many new ideas, in the minds of the Arnstadt church officials (Lutheran). Hymn accompaniments became too elaborate and improvisations between verses became too long
The job became increasingly frustrating for him...they wanted dullness.
-he had plenty of time to attend to his organ playing and do some teaching as the job requirements were light
*began to compose music for organ
*accepted some organ students: Johann Martin Schubart (1690-1721), J.C. Vogler (1696-1763)
-1706 complaint: “...by what right had he recently invited the strange maiden into the organ gallery and let her make music there?” That was his cousin and soon to be bride, Maria Barbara. He had accompanied her singing. Incidentally, this is the only evidence of her musicality...although she must have been musical.
-she was the youngest daughter of Johann Michael Bach. In 1704, both her parents had died and she lived with her uncle Martin Feldhaus, the “The Golden Crown” Johann Sebastian also boarded there for a time.
-she was his second cousin...their grandfathers were brothers.
he had plenty of reasons to leave
-Maria Barbara’s aunt and godmother, Susanna Barbara Wedemann had married a kinsman of the Mühlhausen Councillor who negociated a new job with Bach. But the Mühlhausen organ builder was the same who had been so impressed with Bach in Arnstadt
1707 successfully auditioned for and was hired in July by the city of Mühlhausen and St. Blasius church
-salary essentially the same as Arnstadt [and better! than the outgoing and beloved organist] but with perks of fuel and grain - welcome since he married in October 17, 1707 [he was 22] and his wife was expecting soon afterwards. He gave his Arnstadt job to his cousin, Ernst whom the elders paid less than half Sebastian’s salary.
-first firmly datable compositions of any stature are from this period:
Ex. Cantata No.4 Christ lag in Todesbanden - Easter Cantata
-first version of this cantata was probably performed as part of his job audition
-elaboration of successive verses of the chorale of the same name. Duets, trios, solos with choruses and brief orchestral into.
[Hickock Music Appreciation record set: Kurt Thomas directing the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Leipzig Thomanerchor; Agnes Giebel - soprano; Hans Joachim Rotzsch - tenor]
Verse 1 - Chorus “Christ Lag in Todesbanden”
Verse 5 - Bass solo “Hier ist das rechte Osterlamm”
Verse 7 - Chorus “Wir essen und leben wohl”
Ex. Cantata No. 106 Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit
* NOTE: Catalogue of J.S. Bach’s works was prepared by Wolfgang Schmieder around 1950.
B.W.V. = Bach Werke Verzeichnis = Bach Work Catalog. The Cantata numbers are the BWV numbers
-wrote out a survey of deficiencies of the organ there...and what needed to be done to improve it. These specifications had been preserved.
-fame increasing due to his organ playing. He attracted many organ students.
-alas the pastor leaned toward “Pietism” a revival movement that stressed living the Christian life as opposed to absorbing dogma.
-Pietists often (but not always) rejected “concerted” music in church as it was too distracting and too much worldliness. In this context, some rejected Bach’s music as “too worldly and carnal.” [Geiringer 139]
-Bach sided with the “Orthodox” Lutherans in town mostly because they saw music as a means to glorify God. Georg Christian Eilmar, he pastor of St. Mary’s in the same town, had criticized Pietism for a long time and liked music in his services. Bach used some of Eilmar’s libretti for some of his cantatas [Gott ist mein König] and invited him to be godfather to his first child: a daughter born in Weimar.
His early siding with the Orthodox camp was natural and reflected his own upbringing. But it did not mean that he remained locked in his own dogma. He didn’t accept everything.
-Due to dogmatic differences and musical tastes, Bach stayed only one year; resigning in July 1708.
-the relationship remained friendly. He was asked to continue supervising the organ renovations, was commissioned to write a motet for a new Council in 1709 and the Council accepted Bach’s suggested replacement (albeit at a lower salary): his cousin, Johann Friedrich, son of great Johann Christoph of Eisenach. He stayed in this position until his death in 1730.
-Weimar is only 40 miles from Mühlhausen
-salary was almost twice as much
-prestige at working in a ducal court was great
-Weimar later became a center of literature and music (from the end of the 18th into the 19th century)
“His new patron was a fervent and deeply religious Lutheran, who valued music as an important means of glorifying the Lord. Here Sebastian found encouragement for carrying out his schemes for a ‘well regulated church music,’ and no opposition was to be anticipated from other religious sects, as the Duke, who ruled his land with an iron hand, would not tolerate anything but orthodox Lutheranism.” [Geiringer 143]
-indeed, all servants had to attend daily services and listen attentively to sermons. The Duke was known to quiz his servants on the sermon points.
-Bach was court organist for Duke Wilhelm Ernst, who ruled for 45 years.
-The Duke wished to live a Christian life and the court was indeed more austere and quiet than most.
“Not a glimmer of light was visible about the castle after 8 p.m. in the winter and 9 p.m. in the summer. Festivities were rare, and even the troupe of actors which the Duke had employed for some years was dismissed before Sebastian’s arrival. Wilhelm Ernst’s tastes were frugal but he insisted on a supply of fresh flowers every day; to meet his needs he had the castle’s bearpit, where his predecssors had kept wild beasts, transformed into a beautiful garden. Whilst allowing only a small budget for entertainment, the Duke spent considerable sums on welfare and cultural institutions...he was, in short, a despt, though a well-meaning one.” [Geiringer 144]
-the Duke was devout and serious but his trained musical ear delighted in his new employee.
so he was happy with his employee...but that didn’t mean he had any consideration for him as anything more than a servant. Bach had to wear special livery for ceremonies: hajdúk garb = a
kind of Hungarian/Polish national costume imitating attire of bandits in the region.
-he spent 9 fruitful years here...practiced enough violin to be named Konzertmeister in 1714
-at first, no responsibilities for choirs and ensemble music. He had time to practice and compose and allowed to order alterations in the castle organ.
“Although the organ of the Schlosskirche had been reconstructed as recently as 1708, Bach succeeded in inducing his patron to spend further substantial sums on it...As his patron allowed him frequent absences, during which his competent pupil, J.M. Schubart, deputized, Sebastian often played at other courts and cities too, and his fame as an organ virtuoso spread all over Germany...Constantin Bellermann, a rector of Minden, describes Bach’s performance on the pedals at the court of Cassl thus: ‘His feet flew over the pedal-board as though they had wings, and pwerful sounds roared like thunder through the church. This filled Frederick, the Crown Prince, with such astonishment and admiration that he drew from his finger a ring set with precious stones and gave it to Bach as soon as the sound had died away. If the skill of his feet alone earned him such a gift, what might the Prince have given him had he used his hands as well.’” [Geiringer 144-5]
-But this was not the age of the individual and self-expression. “Complimented on his great organ playing, he [Bach] answered deprecatingly: ‘There is nothing to it. You only have to hit the right notes at the right time and the instrument plays itself.’ And Forkel reports: ‘When he was asked how hie had contrived to master the art to such a high degree, he generally answered: “I was obliged to work hard; whoever is equally industrious, will succeed just as well.”’ It seems doubtful wheter Bach was as modest as these utterances suggest. They were dictated rather by innate reserve and a natural contempt for people who asked questions that defied a real answer.” [Geiringer 145]
-Six children were born btn 1708 and 1715 (set of twins died shortly after birth in 1713) including 3 sons:
Wilhelm Friedmann b.1710 & Carl Philipp Emanuel b. 1714 and Johann Gottfried Bernhard
the first two later became distinguished fashionable musicians
-became friends with the town organist, Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748) was born in Erfurt and died in Weimar, both towns famous in Bach family history and indeed, he studied with a Bach cousin, Johann Bernhard Bach of Eisenach. Walther was a relative on the Lämmerhirt side and had spent his childhood in the house “The Three Roses” where Sebastian’s mother was born. In addition, his lifespan is almost that of J.S. Bach (1685-1750). Next to Bach, Walther was the greatest composer of chorale variations. [Geiringer claims Walther was born in 1685]
-Bach became godfather to Walther’s first son.
“In Walther, an eminent organist and a composer of outstanding chorale preludes, Sebastian found a congenial spirit; in his qeal for self-improvement he discovered that much could be learned from his colleague. In particular, their common interest in Italian music formed a strong bond, and there was a friendly competition between them in the arrangement of Italian concertos for keyboard instruments. According to Walther, Bach presented him with no less than 200 compositions, partly his own and partly Böhm’s and Buxtehude’s.” [Geiringer 149]
-Bach also became friends with Telemann at this time. Telemann was working in Eisenach 1708-12 and after moving to Frankfurt, became godfather to Sebastian’s second son, CPE.
-wrote many fugues, and showy organ works and harpsichord pieces, court music and a series of cantatas for voices and orchestra. Most of his important organ works were written or at least begun in Weimar
-Ex. Fantasia or Toccata or Prelude and Fugue
Ex. Toccata and Fugue in D minor
-stem from tradition of improvisation which was central to church organist's profession.
-opening must be arresting: brilliant scale passage or distinctive chord pattern but not too technically demanding.
-fugues should sound as if they were improvised.
-These are hallmarks of a young, energetic organist.
His footwork was especially admired, throughout his life. “Much of it is exuberant, the work of a still-young man, glorying in his physical powers, and the brilliant sound of the organ.” Arnold 8
Also from this period is some chamber music:
Ex. Sonata in G minor BWV 1020 for flute and continuo
1714 performed on the huge Liebfrauenkirche organ (65 stops!) in Handel’s hometown, Halle.
-the organist position held by Handel’s teacher, Friedrich Wilhelm Zachau, until 1712 was open
-Halle authorities were so impressed that they sent a contract to Bach in Weimar.
-But the salary wasn’t as good as Weimar’s and Bach wrote back saying so.
-Halle was appeased and invited Bach to return to participate with two other organ experts (including Leipzig’s St. Thomas Kantor, Johann Kuhnau) in a “test” performance of the newly renovated Liebfrauenkirche organ.
For the performance, Halle went all out. “Servants, coaches, and refreshments were more than plentiful. The menu of the concluding banquet is certainly impressive and deserves to be quoted in full:
Boeuf à la mode. Pike with Anchovy Butter Sauce. Smoked Ham. Sausages and Spinach. Roast
Mutton. Roast Veal. Peas. Potatoes. Boiled Pumpkin. Asparagus. Lettuce, Radishes. Fritters.
Candied Lemon Peel. Preserved Cherries. Fresh Butter.” Wine must have been plentiful too. [Geiringer 147]
It has been suggested that Bach used the Halle invitation to become Konzertmeister at Weimar....(but he vehemently denied the scheming)
“My gracious Master...has shown much graciousness toward my service and art” by increasing salary and appointing Bach concertmaster of the ducal orchestra.
-he directed orchestra [quartet of strings, bassoon, oboes plus access to the military for trumpets and drums] and well-trained SATB chorus of 2 each and 6 boys.
-Bach continued to be sought after as an organ teacher. His students included Schubart, Vogler and a cantor, Johann Tobias Krebs “who walked regularly for seven years from the village of Buttelstädt to Weimar, in order to receive instruction from Walther and Bach.” [Geiringer 149]
-he also continued the family tradition of teaching relatives including his own nephew, Johann Bernhard, son of his own teacher and oldest brother, Johann Christoph of Ohrdruf.
-He also occasionally taught a few of exalted social rank: two nephews of the Duke:
Johann Ernst (the younger nephew) had a real talent. Three of his violin concerti were mistaken for Vivaldi’s many years later
-he studied with Walther but Bach was a BIG influence
-Tragically, he died at age 19
Ernst August studied clavier with Bach but he was not an easy man. “Ernst August was not what one would call a lovable character; contemporary reports make him appear a highly eccentric man, whose actions sometimes bordered on insanity.” [Geiringer 150] He succeeded his uncle as Duke of Weimar and among other edicts, he once threatened to imprison (for six months) any subject who dared criticize the conditions. He wasn’t this weird when Bach was his teacher.
-but the relationship between the reigning Duke and his nephew were strained. The Duke wanted No advice from his heir but Ernst August voiced his opinions. Local musicians were caught between them. The Duke imposed a fine if any of his musicians played in the nephew’s castle. This was a real hardship. Bach went ahead and performed a cantata for Ernst August’s birthday and was rewarded. This did not sit well with the Duke. The stage was set for future troubles.
-As part of his duties as Konzertmeister, he had to compose a cantata for each month at the court chapel
(over the next 3 yrs: at least 33 composed)
Note: Cantatas are operatic in nature but Bach had not heard much opera; he studied scores and figured it out on his own. He adapted well. Also, in cantata, interest is on the emotions rather than development of plot as it is in opera. Bach was free to develop mood-type settings - instrumental sections and more orchestral accomp for recit and aria (dry continuo is needed in order to hear the text...if the text is not all that important, then the accompaniment can be more involved).
Ex. Was mir behagt
- hunting cantata composed in 1713 for a friend of the Duke: Duke Christian of Saxe-Weissenfels.
-According to at least one musicologist though, this may be the cantata Bach composed for the young Duke Ernst August’s birthday, using musicians from the court of Weissenfels.
-Pastoral setting with hunting scenes.
“Sheep may safely graze” is from this work.
Cantata 147 Herz und Mund und That und Leben
final movement is a concluding chorale setting:
“Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring”
-this example was arranged for piano solo by Myra Hess and performed by Dinu Lipatti
-Bach left Weimar when he was passed over for promotion to Kapellmeister.
-in December 1716, the old Kapellmeister, Drese, died and Bach expected to inherit the position. He had taken on most of the duties already.
-The Duke wanted Telemann, then Kapellmeister to the city of Frankfurt-am-Main. Telemann was the same age and of no greater experience but, was considered fashionable. When Telemann declined job, it was given to the former Kapellmeister’s incompetent son. So, Bach applied for another position without asking permission from the Duke. The Duke’s nephew (whose father had persuaded Bach to come to Weimar in the first place) found him a Kapellmeister’s position in the court of Prince Leopold of Cöthen (Ernst August married a sister of Prince Leopold). For this impertinence, he was jailed for a month:
“On November 6 , the quondam Koncertmeister and organist Bach was confined to the County Judge’s place of detention for too stubbornly forcing the issue of his dismissal and finally on December 2 was freed from arrest with notice of his unfavourable discharge.” [Arnold p.16]
*his pupil, Schubart, succeeded him as court organist.
Note: He was anxious to leave because Cöthen was anxious to have him. He had begun receiving payment from Cöthen in August! - [Bach Reader]
Cöthen December 1717, he and wife and 4 children finally received permission to accept a well paid position as Kapellmeister [music director] for Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen.
** Since this was a Calvinist court (since 1596), so no organ playing nor church cantatas. But, Leopold, 23, had one of the best orchestras in Europe. He had persuaded his mother to set up an orchestra during his regency. By 1716, there were 17 musicians. 8 soloists took care of 2 violins, 1 cello, 1 viola da gamba, 1 oboe, 1 bassoon, and 2 flutes. No violist was needed because that was Bach’s own favorite to play.
The cellist was Christian Ferdinand Abel, father of Carl Friedrich Abel, partner of Johann Christian Bach’s in London. JS Bach’s cello suites were probably written for Christian Ferdinand.
Ex. 6 Suites a Violoncello Solo senza Basso [6 Suites for unaccompanied violoncello], c.1720
Ex. 6 Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord (1717-23)
Ex. Sei Solo à violino senza Basso accompagnato (Six solos [Sonatas & Partitas] for unaccompanied violin) 1720
-Prince Leopold had done the Grand Tour, studied music in Rome (harpsichord, violin and viol da gamba). Bach enjoyed his employment!
Prince Leopold sang baritone and could play violin, viola da gamba and harpsichord well
*he often sent Bach to other cities to check out and sometimes buy keyboard instruments for court
** in 1719 on such a trip, Bach was near Halle and tried to contact Handel, who was
there visiting. Bach made several attempts over the years to meet Handel but NO luck.
-Bach was paid 400 thalers per year (salary equal to that of Court Marshal, the second highest official) and was given rent for a rehearsal room in his house. He had to find and rent a house on his own.
-There was a good Lutheran school in town for his children because Prince Leopold’s mother was Lutheran She married a Calvinist and never converted. The accomodation of religious differences that began in the royal household was extended to the subjects, much to their dismay. In this case, the enlightened policies were not shared by the majority of their grumbling, intolerant Calvinist subjects. Bach, happy in his position and no doubt grateful for all the benefits, did not “fight” for his fellow Lutherans.
-Main differences btn Weimar and Cöthen were:
1. Calvinist court rather than Lutheran so less church music. Just occasional secular cantatas for special events.
2. B was in charge of the whole show so to speak and could arrange rehearsal schedule to suit himself.
-Bach was industrious in Cöthen. It has been estimated that at least 50 works of ensemble music were bound between 1719-20. But much of his work from his Cöthen years has been lost over time.
-his Cöthen works include the four Orchestra Suites and the Six Brandenburg Concerti [see later]
January 1720 JS began to seriously train his oldest son, Wilhelm Friedmann who was then 9 1/2. JS started a “clavierbook” for him. This book was later used for his other children and its music is still learned by piano students today.
Ex. Clavierbüchlein for Wilhelm Friedmann Bach [play these examples myself]
-this was part of a series of instructional materials begun in Weimar that included the Orgelbüchlein, the Inventions and the Well-Tempered Clavier
Clavier-Büchlein vor Wilhelm Friedemann Bach 1720
contains: 15 Inventions (published separately in 1723) and 15 Sinfonias (also pub. 1723)
One of Bach’s biographers (Forkel with info from CPE Bach) described JS’s clavier teaching:
“The first thing he did was to teach his pupils his peculiar mode of touching the keyboard. For this purpose he made them practise for months nothing but isolated exercises for all the fingers of both hands, with constant regard to the production of a clean, clear tone. Over a period of some months no pupil was excused from these exercises, and, according to his firm opinion, they should be continued for six to twelve months at least. But if he found that anyone, after some months of practice, began to lose patience, he was so considerate as to write little connecting pieces, in which these exercises were linked together. To this type belong the six little Preludes for beginners, and still more the fifteen two-part Inventions. He wrote down both during the hours of teaching, and in so doing, attended to the immediate requirement of the pupil; afterwards he transformed these pieces into beautiful and expressive little works of art...In order to lessen the difficulties, he made use of an excellent method; this was to play to them the whole piece which they were to study first, saying: ‘This is how it must sound.’” [Geiringer 157]
-JS did not at all mind working with talented beginners. “Lack of talent and a lukewarm attitude towards his craft made his temper boil over. He was the perfect teacher for talented youths, but he was unable to put up with mediocrity.” [Geiringer 157]
-It was the custom for the Prince to take several musicians with him when he travelled. Bach did this on several trips to the Carlsbad spa.
July 1720 Upon returning from such an accompanied trip, Bach learned that his wife, Maria Barbara had died and was already buried. His surviving children (of the seven born to Maria Barbara) were 12, 10, 6 and 5.
-during his depression, Bach considered taking a church organist job and he played a 2 hour audition for the Catharinenkirche in Hamburg. He played for city officials and for 97 year old Reincken who praised his improvising on a given theme. “Out of courtesy to the veteran master he chose as subject for his improvisations the very same chorale An Wasserflüssen Babylons which in Reinken’s dazzling treatment had held young Sebastian spellbound some twenty years previously. For a long time he played, piling one gigantic structure on the other and reveling his stupendous master. Finally Reinken, who as a rule did not indulge in praise of other musicians, exclaimed: ‘I thought this art was dead, but I see it still lives in you.’”
-He was offered the organist job at Jakobkirche in Hamburg, but declined to make a customary payment/donation for the job and wrote to the committee to tell them so. The letter does not exist but we know that the committee decided to offer the position to another organist as a result.
-After returning from Hamburg, Bach began making a careful copy of six orchestral concerti that had been written between 1711-21
In March, 1721, he sent them to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg, whom he had met on a visit to Carlsbad
-6 concertos dedicated to the Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg who had asked B to write something for him. But why? The Margrave didn’t have an orchestra like the one at Cöthen.
-In 1734, when the Margrave died, the autograph of these six concerti was valued at 24 groBen, less than a dollar.
-rediscovered and published 130 years later as the Brandenburg Concertos.
-What foresight: he was probably thankful that in 1713, he had troubled to copy and study Vivaldi’s concerti in. Now he had resources appropriate for such writing.
-Hallmarks of Vivaldi style: 3 movement plan, aria-like slow movements, virtuoso moments - rapid passage work, energetic rhythmic themes.
-Differences btn Vivaldi and Bach:
1. Vivaldi used virtuoso technique to show off. Vivaldi’s music sounds difficult. Bach’s music requires technique to play it and really shouldn’t sound difficult. The interest in Bach’s music lies in long contrapuntal lines - the music - rather than dazzling display or entertainment. Different purpose/intent.
2. Vivaldi’s melodies are singable. Bach lingers in the mind...it’s too complex to be remembered just by the tune.
3. Different orchestration. Bach uses trumpet, violin, recorder and oboe. Presumably Bach had this unusual ensemble available in Cöthen. Did Brandenburg? Was Bach hoping for enough enthusiasm from the Margrave of Brandenburg to advance Bach’s cause -
Did Bach want to publish???? we do not know.
Ex. Brandenburg Concerto #2 [source?]
I. (no tempo designation, but probably Allegro)
III. Allegro assai
Ex. Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 for Flute, violin, Harpsichord, and Orchestra
I. Allegro II. Affetuoso III. Allegro [Igor Kipnis with The London Strings, Neville Marriner]
After the death of Maria Barbara in June 1720, he was also engrossed in composing the first book of
The Well-Tempered Clavier:
48 sets (in two volumes) of preludes and fugues, each in a different key designed as a compendium of keyboard technique and as an illustration of the possibilities of the new “well-temperment” method of tuning - making it possible to play in any key.
Ex. Glenn Gould, Wanda Landowska, Rosalyn Tureck
Ex. WTC Prelude & Fugue in C minor BWV 847 [Anthony Newman - harpsichord on Stolba CD7]
1721, became acquainted with a 20 year old woman court-singer and he remarried on 3 December 1721
-This was a long period of grieving for a family many in those days.
Anna Magdalena Wilcke (1701-60), was the daughter of a court trumpeter in Weissenfels and was herself a well-paid professional singer. She “was descended from musicians on both paternal and maternal sides; and in her own right she was an excellent soprano singer, who since the autumn of 1720 had been employed by the Cöthen court, where she had appeared as a guest as early as 1716. The young singer retained her position after she married the court conductor, and earned half as much as her husband. The disparity in age between the firl of 20 and the man of 36 was balanced on the other hand by their common profession. Magdalena may well have been more interested in operatic music than her husband (it was her youngest son who was the only one of Sebastian’s children to become a successful opera composer).” [Geiringer 160]
-She later made many of the fair copies of Bach’s works.
*when, in later years, Bach made visits to the Cöthen court, she went with him and sang at court
-She reared her 4 stepchildren (4 survived of the 7 born to Maria) and had 13 of her own, so Bach had in all, 20 children (half died in infancy though). Anna raised 4 step-children and bore 13. Only 6 of the 13 survived infancy.
Of the surviving children, B said “are all born musicians, and ...I can already form an ensemble both vocally and instrumentally, particularly since my present wife sings a good, clear soprano and my eldest daughter, too, joins in not badly.” [Time Life book p. 30]
-she was young enough to adapt to what needed to be a frugally run large household.
“Once when she received a present of six carnation plants, she ‘treasured them more highly than children do their Christmas presents and tended them with the care usually bestowed on babies.’” [Geiringer 161]
-Bach had her portrait painted but it has been lost over time.
Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach
small pieces, some composed by B, for Anna to learn to play the harpsichord. Small, intimate gesture of kindness from one of history’s greats to his young wife in 1725
-many of the pieces in this notebook are NOT composed by Bach but collected for family use.
Ex. Selections from Clavierbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach
Aria: “Bist du bei mir” composed by Gotha court Kapellmeister, Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel
If thou be near, I go rejoicing
To peace and rest beyond the skies,
Nor will I fear what may befall me,
For I will hear thy sweet voice call me,
Thy gentle hand will close my eyes.
Minuet in G [Petzold]
-also contains: first 5 French Suites
1721 December Prince Leopold married in the same month as Bach
-Princess did not care for music and Bach saw his formerly musically idyllic life changing
-he also had to consider better futures for his sons
-Bach was one of 6 who applied for the Leipzig job made vacant by Kuhnau’s death
-prestigious job with educational opportunities for his sons but, Bach considered it a step down
Telemann was the first choice, Graupner was 2nd..then Bach was offered the job although the officials considered him mediocre in comparison
-Why he left Cöthen for this basically frustrating job where he was essentially underappreciated had something to do with his devout Lutheranism. He believed everything he did was for the glory of God and working in a Calvinist court simply was wasting his talents when they could be used for God in a Lutheran Church job... or something like that.
p. 34-37 Lives
From this general time period:
Suites for Orchestra (#1 and 4 were composed in Cöthen, the other two in Leipzig early years - NGrove)
Ex. Suite no. 3 in D major (selections)
[Enjoyment of Music set of records: Marlboro Festival Orchestra; Pablo Casals - conductor]
Ex. Suite no.3 BWV1068 “Air” [Baroque and Classical Gems...Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields CD]
1723-1750 Leipzig 27 years
Johann Kuhnau died on June 5, 1722 This BIG job was now open.
-the Leipzig Council had six applicants:
Georg Philipp Telemann - new Music Director and Cantor of Hamburg
He had been organist at Leipzig’s New Church, composer of and singer in operas and conductor of the Collegium Musicum
-The Council voted unanimously for him but Telemann turned around and used this as a bargaining chip to gain a higher salary from Hamburg
Christoph Graupner - former pupil of St. Thomas’ and renowned conductor in Darmstadt of Prince of Hesse’s orchestra. The Council really wanted him! but the Prince of Hesse didn’t want to release him...and increased his salary. Graupner recommended Bach to the Council.
Bach took six months to apply because he was unsure if this was right for him. Instead of a single employer,
he would have committees of around 24 superiors to deal with. He knew his own temper and he knew the financial and social sacrifices this move would entail.
But, in the Spring of 1723, he performed a “trial cantata” of his own, probably singing the bass solos himself. On Good Friday, he presented his new St. John Passion.
The Council wanted Bach.
Their reluctance to hire him at first is understandable since they only knew Bach was a great organist. The Cantor position was for a composer and Bach’s compositions were unknown to them.
-furthermore, Bach’s lack of University education was a real drawback.
Kuhnau had been a successful lawyer before becoming Cantor. He had done translations from Greek and Hebrew as well.
-but, Bach was willing to teach Latin at the school (unlike Telemann who had finagled his way out of that requirement) and the Council was weary of the search for a “perfect” candidate.
Leipzig was a thriving Lutheran city. “On Sunday, worship at St. Thomas’ and St. Nicholas’ occupied the greater part of the day. It started with early Matins, followed by the main service lasting from 7 to 11 a.m. Half an hour later the noon service took place, and at 1:30 p.m. vespers followed, which took up about 2 hours. On every weekday there was a service at 6:45 a.m. in one of the main churches and an hour of prayer in the afternoon. On Saturday at 2 p.m. a very important service was held in preparation for the communicants of the following Sunday. To discharge these extensive duties, no less than five ministers were officiating at St. Thomas’ as well as at St. Nicholas’. The other churches, too, engaged a comparatively large amount of clergy to satisfy the spiritual needs of this city of 30,000 people.” [Geiringer 163]
“In his educational work he had to conform to the ruling of the rector of the school. But the running of the institute was in the hands of the City Council, consisting of three burgomasters, two deputy burgomasters, and ten assessors; and it was this body of fifteen which engaged the Thomas Cantor and kept a check on all his activities. Finally, there was the ecclesiastical authority of the Consistorium, which was responsible for the services in the churches...There was also the matter of social rank...According to the general view, a court conductor was on a higher social level than a Cantor, and Sebastian found it somewhat strange to climb down the ladder. As to financial considerations, he did hope to earn more in Leipzig than in Cöthen, but the former pleasnat feeling of security would be lacking. The basic salary in Leipzig was low, not more than 100 fl. a year, less than one-fourth of what Prince Leopold paid his conductor. To it were added the Accidentien, a certain percentage of the statutory fee for tunerals, weddings, etc., and one-fourth of the weekly tuition fee of six pennies which the boarders had to pay, and which, when lacking funds, they collected every week from charitable families. The Cantor’s income might grow out of pennies and farthings to the sum of 700 thalers, but there was no certainty about it; and when ‘a healthy wind was blowing’ and the death-rate went down, the receipts showed a sad decline.” [Geiringer 164-5]
-Anna Magdalena had to give up her professional life and her Cöthen salary of 200 thalers. In the Leipzig church, women were forbidden to perform.
But, at St. Thomas’ and then at the University of Leipzig, his sons could get the right kind of education
BUT WAIT.... the Princess of Cöthen who had disliked music, died on April 3 and Bach might have seen old favorable conditions restored. However, he was not one to change his mind once made up.
The Prince wrote a favorable letter of dismissal and this remained a good friendship until the Prince’s death in 1728. (The Prince remarried...this time to a music loving wife). After Leopold’s death, his successor allowed the little orchestra to decline and ultimately dismissed...so Bach did make the right decision to leave.
-moved in mid 1723
-Music Director of Leipzig and Kantor at St. Thomas School for boys...he was not employed as organist
-also responsible for the music at the Thomaskirche, Nicolaikirche [the civic church], Neukirche or Mattaeikirche [the University church], and Petrikirche
St. Peter’s did only plainchant but the other churches required polyphony
Bach personally directed the music at St. Thomas and St. Nicholas on alternate Sundays
“He was responsible for the musical programme in all the municipal churches, two of which, St. Thomas’ and St. Nicholas’, had very elaborate music on Sundays, especially during the main service, which lasted for four hours. The main musical work owas the cantata, performed alternately at St. Thomas’ and St. Nicholas’ by the best singers of the school...and conducted by the Cantor himself, while the performance of the preceding motet and the direction of music in the other three churches was entrusted to senior students appointed as assistant conductors.” [Geiringer 170]
-responsible for the vocal & instrumental musical training of the boys, disciplining the boys, compose new music for services.
-responsible for whatever music the town required (ceremonies, special events)
-Bach also composed for weddings and funerals [Accidentien], taught music lessons, gave concerts in other towns, examined new and rebuilt organs
* the number of Thomasschule pupils was sufficient to populate those 4 church choirs university students and town musicians augmented them for civic functions
-Thomasschule was a choir school for boarders aged 12-23. [Medical data has shown that voices changed later in 17th and 18th centuries than they do now]
“The students consisted of a number of paying day scholars and some fifty-two foundation scholars, mostly sons of poor parents who on account of their musical talent were admitted as boarders for a nominal payment. Many of these boys had not received a good upbringing at home, and a firm hand was needed to keep them in decent discipline...in a building that had hardly been altered since its erection in 1554, and was now completely outdated and overcrowded. There was not even a separate bed available for each boarder, and one classroom had to accommodate three classes at the same time, besides serving as a dining-room.”
-Bach could count on 16 singers and that many instrumentalists and for special times, he could have 40 singers.
“The pupils had to accompany every funeral (except those of the very poor) singing hymns - rain, storm, or snow making no difference; and who could suggest a change in these conditions, when the fee for funderals meant so much to pupils and teachers? From New Year’s Day to the middle of January all the Thomasians sang daily in the streets, naturally often in bad weather, in order to attract charitable contributions; and again nobody dared raise his voice against this lucrative old custom. Fatigued, poorly fed, and badly housed, these pupils easily succumbed to illness, and contagious diseases spread rapidly in the unsanitary, overcrowded school building.” [Geiringer 169]
-Bach and his family had to live in the school building. “His quarters, occupying the left wing of the school building, had a separate entrance; yet his sanctum, traditionally reserved for the Cantor’s creative work, was separated from the classroom of the sixth form by only a plaster wall. [this may have been the source of the disease that killed many Bach children]..Every fourth week, for the 7 full days, the Cantor had to serve as inspector, maintaining discipline from 4 or 5 a.m., according to the season, when the boarders rose, through prayers, meals, and lessons, up to 8 p.m., when it was his duty to check all the lights after the boys had retired.” [Geiringer 169-70]
-in the Lutheran service, the cantata had a liturgical function performed between the Gospel and if cantata in 2 parts, the rest after the homily Bach was required to have a cantata for each Sunday and feast [about 60 for each year]
-he planned to have 5 complete years worth but after finishing 2 years, the 3rd year was
interrupted and parts of the other year cycles are missing large chunks
“Either at St. Thomas’ or at St. Nicholas’ a new cantata adapted to the special liturgical requirements of the day had to be offered on every Sunday and all the feast-days of the ecclesiastical year. The only exceptions were the last three Sundays of Advent and the five Sundays of Lent; but these provided no real rest-period for conductor and performers, since particularly ambitious and extensive programmes had to be prepared for Christmas and Easter (two performances each on December 24, 25, 26 as well as on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Monday)...Of cantatas alone he supplied, according to Forkel’s statement, five complete sets for the entire ecclesiastical year, 295 different works in all. Even if we grant that a few of these were older compositions or rearrangements of secular music, we many still accept as a fact that Bach in the first year presented a new cantata every week. And besides cantatas he had to provide Passions for Good Friday, motets for important funerals, and festive compositions for the yearly inauguration of the new City Council, as well as for other special events.” [Geiringer 171]
Ex. Cantata No.140 Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme
I. “Wachet auf” chorale, verse 1
III. “Zion hört die Wächter singen” chorale, verse 2
V. “Gloria sei dir gesungen” chorale, verse 3
- “Awake, a voice is calling us” from Matthew 25:1-13 Wise and foolish maidens
-first performed in Leipzig on 25 November 1731
7 movements based on the Wachet auf chorale composed around 1597 by Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608)
-the 3 chorale verses are used at the beginning, middle and end of the cantata
-text used for the rest of the cantata is based on the Song of Solomon. Bach may have written this libretto.
-Bach was also in charge of music at St. Paul’s, the University Church. From 1710, the University began “new service” that required music but they wanted to remain free of Council involvement. Kuhnau obtained this position only by agreeing to do it for no pay and after his death, another organist agreed to the same deal. Why would Bach want to work for nothing? Actually, the post gave him access to University students who could be persuaded to help him out in other situations. And there was a small stipend once in the job.
1725 started a second Clavier-Büchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach
1726 began to publish some keyboard music
Six Partitas were printed singly, then grouped as Clavier-Übung, volume 1
Good Friday, 1729 St. Matthew Passion first performed
-in St. Thomaskirche
17 players were employed for each orchestra, 12 singers for either of two choruses and a third group of 6 vocalists for the chorale in the first number.
-This work is over 3 hours long but it was performed within the framework of the service for that day
-some of the congregation must have been confused at the operatic nature of the dramatic, emotional music
-but...it would not have been possible without the participation of University students loyal to Bach through his presence at the St. Paul University church.
April 1729 became director of the Leipzig Collegium musicum (which had been founded by Telemann in 1702) perhaps for the additional income, needed for his growing family: an annual child since 1723, or for respite from work [see later for Bach’s work with the Collegium
Ex. St. Matthew Passion: “Ach Golgatha!” “Sehet, Jesus hat die Hand”
Ex. St. Matthew Passion: “Und siehe da,” “Wahrlich”
-the St. Matthew Passion did not impress the Council quite the way Bach may have hoped.
“Their attitude is clearly reflected in an incident that happened in the very same year. Every spring new pupils were admitted to the Thomas school to replace those graduating. In May 1729, a few weeks after the performance of the St. Matthew Passion, Bach handed the Council a detailed list of the candidates he had examined, naming those he found suitable and unsuitable respectively, and the Rector seconded his recommendations. The wise city fathers, however, had their own opinions: they admitted four candidates the Cantor had warned against, one he had not even tested, and only five he had recommended. Apparently they were more interested in defying the Cantor than in obtaining good musicians for their church music.”
-Bach was probably consumed by his own musical concerns and neglected to attend to the egos of his superiors. He always found it difficult to ingratiate himself with the musically insensitive. The city fathers decided to punish “incorrigible” Bach by reducing his income.
But Bach was unaware of the Council plot when he wrote a memo describing the music situation as he saw it. The memo:
A short, but indispensable sketch of what constitutes a well-appointed church music, with a few impartial reflections on its present state of decline
‘For a well-appointed church music, vocalists and instrumentalists are necessary. In this town the vocalists are provided by the foundation pupils of St. Thomas’, and these are of four classes: trebles, altos, tenors, and basses. If the choirs are to perform church music properly...the vocalists must again be divided into two classes: concertists [for the solos] and ripienists [for the chorus]. There are usually four concertists, but sometimes up to eight if it is desired to perform music for two choirs. There must be at least eight ripienists, two to each part.... The number of the resident pupils of St. Thomas’ is fifty-five; these are divided into four choirs, for the four churches in which they partly perform concerted music, partly sing motets, and partly chorales. In three of the churches, i.e. St. Thomas’, St. Nicholas’, and the New Church, all the pupils must be musically trained...those who can only sing a chorale at need go to St. Peter’s. To each choir there must belong, at least, three trebles, three alti, three tenors, and as many basses, so that if one person is unable to sing (which often happens, and particularly at this time of year, as can be proved by the prescriptions of the medicus sent to the dispensary), a motet can still be sung with at least two voices to each part...Consequently, the number of those who must understand music is thirty-six persons.
The instrumental music consists of the following performers:
two or even three violino I
two or three violino II
two each viola I, II, violoncello
one double bass
two or three, according to need oboes
one or two bassoons
In all, eighteen persons at least, for the instruments.
...Since church music is often composed with flutes...at least two persons are needed for them; altogether, then twenty instrumentalists. The number of players engaged [by the city] for church music is eight, viz. four town pipers, three professional violinists, and one apprentice. Discretion forbids my speaking at all truthfully of their competence and musical knowledge; however, it ought to be considered that they are partly emeriti and partly not in such good practice as they should be....The deficiency here shown has hitherto had to be made good partly by the University students, but chiefly by the Thomas pupils. The [University] students used to be very willing to do this, in the hope that in time they might...receive...an honorarium. But as the small payments which fell to them have been altogether withdrawn, the readiness of the students has likewise disappeared, for who will give his service for nothing? In the absence of more efficient performers, the second violin has been at most times, and the viola, violoncello, and double bass have been at all times played by the [Thomas] pupils, and it is easy to judge what has thus been lost to the vocal choir. So far only the Sunday music has been mentioned...But if I come to speak of the holy days, when music must be provided for both the principal churches at the same time, the lack of the necessary players is even more serious, since then I have to give up...such pupils as can play one instrument or another, and thus am obliged to do without their assistance [as singers] altogether. Furthermore, I cannot omit mentioneing that through the admissions hitherto granted to so many boys unskilled and ignorant of music, the performances have necessarily...fallen into decline. A boy who knows nothing about music, who cannot even sing a second...can never be of any use in music. And even those who bring with them some elementary knowledge, do not become useful as quickly as is desirable....However, no time is allowed for their training...but as soon as they are admitted, they are placed in the choirs....It is well known that my predecessors, Schelle and Kuhnau, were obliged to have recourse to the assistance of the [University] students when they desired to perform complete and well-sounding music, which they were so far warranted in doing that several vocalists, a bass, a tenor, and an alto, as well as instrumentalists...were favoured with salaries by a Most Noble and Wise Council, and thereby were induced to strengthen the church music. Now, however, when the present state of music has greatly changed - the art being much advanced and the taste definitely altered, so that the old-fasthioned kind of music no longer sounds well in our ears - when, therefore, performers ought to be selected who are able to satisfy the present musical taste and undertake the new kinds of music, and at the same time are qualified to give ssatisfaction to the composer by their rendering of his work, now the few perquisites have been altogether withheld from the choir, though they ought to be increased rather than diminished. It is, anyhow, astonishing that German musicians should be expected to perform ex tempore any kind of music, whether Italian or French, English, or Polish, like some of those virtuosi who have studied it long beforehand, even know it almost by heart, and who besides have such high salaries that their pains and diligence are well rewarded....we need only go to Dresden and see how the musicians there are paid by his Majesty; since all care as to maintenance is taken from them, they are relieved of anxiety, and as, moreover, each has to play but one instrument, it is evident that something admirable and delightful can be heard. The conclusion is easy to arrive at: that in ceasing to receive the perquisites I am deprived of the power of getting the music into a better shape.
‘Finally, I will list the present foundation pupils, stating in each case the extent of his musical skill, and leave it to further consideration whether concerted music can be properly performed under such conditions or whether a further decline is to be feared.... [Bach then listed names of students under three headings: efficient, needing further training, and those unmusical]. Summa: 17 serviceable, 20 not yet serviceable, 17 useless.” [all in Geiringer 177-9]
-a remarkable letter and indicative of Bach’s frustration minus groveling or niceties of phrase
-it was quite a turn-off to his superiors; the reference to Dresden didn’t help his cause
-the Burgomaster did not mention the letter in the next Council meeting except to say that Bach “showed little inclination to work.” And, no vote was taken to pay University students. The Council had not been stingy with other music directors...but they had either been more diplomatic in pleading their causes, or had more social rank or a University degree.
Bach was really frustrated and looked around for other positions
-October 28 1730 wrote to his school friend, Georg Erdmann who had become Imperial Russian “resident” (ambassador) in Danzig. He wanted to leave Leipzig because “Since I find that this appointment is by no means as advantageous as it was described to me, that many fees incidental to it are now stopped, that the town is a very expensive place to live in, that the authorities are very strange people, with small love of music, so that I live under almost constant vexation, jealousy and persecution...” [Geiringer 180]
-but, Bach was hired to be Music Director and Cantor. Bach thought the first the most important...the Council were more concerned about the Cantor duties. Other Cantors had gotten away with avoiding the administrative/teaching aspects of the job but had been more ingratiating towards the Council.
In the early 1730s, a new Rector came to the school: Johann Mathias Gesner, who had been a friend of Bach’s in Weimar. He was an inspiring teacher and force for good within the school and Bach’s life. He convinced the Council to make additions to the school: 2 new storeys added.
-also, changes to the curriculum made music more important. “He explained to the pupils that their praising the Lord through music linked them with the heavenly choirs and that he expected them to be proud of this privilege and even to sacrifice leisure hours for the sake of good performances.” [Geiringer 181]
-of course, fines were imposed for bad preparation
“At the Rector’s suggestion Bach was freed from any teaching assignments outside music and in their place was put in charge of the daily visits to the morning service, at which 8 choristers alternately provded the music at either St. Thomas’ or St. Nicholas’.” [Geiringer 181]
-Bach had some excellent singers in his choirs and cemented his relationship with the University in April 1729 by taking over the Collegium Musicum (at about the time of his St. Matthew Passion)
-Telemann had founded this group in 1702 and by Bach’s time, their were two groups of this type in town
-University students yes, but no official connection to the University and so Bach could do this with or without their approval. [ah, but what did the Town Council think? RS??]
-presented concerts on Wednesdays at Zimmermann’s coffee house
in the summer: from 4 to 6 outdoors
in the winter; in a coffee house from 8 to 10 pm
-very likely, not all of the music was Bach’s but that by him included music already composed (Brandenburg Concerti, chamber works and new keyboard pieces were done there as well as the famous secular cantatas)
-visiting musicians participated but most importantly, the University students kept in good musical shape by doing this.
-visitors from outside Leipzig came to hear these concerts, especially during Fair season. So, although financial remuneration for the players was minimal at best, many made contacts for future positions.
Bach was paid an honorarium by Zimmerman...which he made up by selling more beer, coffee, food
-after 1733, performed some secular cantatas by Bach. they get close to opera
-Bach directed this group 1729-37 and 1739-41 and it was finished in 1744
Ex. Kaffee Kantata BWV 211 performed around 1734 [Bach Secular Cantatas CD]
Ex. Peasant Cantata BWV 212 performed in 1742 [Bach Secular Cantatas CD]
-both composed to texts by Picander
1733 the Kyrie and Gloria of the Mass in B minor were composed and sent to the Elector of Saxony at Dresden with an application for the title of court composer. He was not given the title until 1736
1734-35 composed three multimovement works which he called Oratorios
-all are parodies of earlier cantatas, supplemented with new material
Oratorium tempore Nativitatis Christi [Christmas Oratorio BWV 248]
from 4 previous cantatas, he added material and made 6 cantatas = Christmas Oratorio
-performed as 6 individual cantatas on 25,26,27 December 1734 and 1,2,6 Jan 1735
Cantata No. 11 Lobet Gott in seinem Reichen [Praise God in His kingdom] = Ascension Oratorio
1741 went to Berlin to visit his son, Carl Philipp Emaneul who was court harpsichordist to King Frederick the Great of Prussia.
* he also went to Dresden to visit Count von Keyserlingk who may have commissioned:
Aria mit verschiedenen Veraenderungen = “Goldberg” Variations
-published around 1742 as Clavier-Übung volume 4 [the last volume]
1742 wrote his last secular cantata...the Peasant Cantata
-performed on an estate near Leipzig to honor the manor’s new lord, Carl Heinrich von Dieskau
-folk-like and pre-Classical in style
1742-45 wrote the Credo and around 1748, assembled the parts of his Mass in B minor
Ex. Mass in B minor: Crucifixus
[Enjoyment of Music set of records: Temple University Choir; Philadelphia Orchestra, Ormandy]
May 1747 visited the royal court again, at the king’s invitation this time.
Frederick the Great was a flutist and wanted Bach’s opinion of his new Silbermann fortepianos
-Bach obliged with criticisms that Silbermann corrected
-the King then gave Bach a theme and asked him to improvise canons and fugues upon it
-Bach thought he could do better and after returning home, wrote 2 ricercare, a trio sonata and 10 canons all based on that theme. This was the Musikalisches Opfer [Musical Offering] and he sent them to the King. Bach included the flute in the instrumentation.
mid 1740s Die Kunst der Fuge [The Art of Fugue]
-he was revising this for publication, with the help of his sons.
-but J.S. died before revision was complete and one of his sons [probably C.P.E.] published the incomplete revision in 1751.
-before 1745, Bach had begun having vision problems: cataracts.
-after the beginning of 1749, he composed only on exceptional occasions
* his last handwriting dates from May 1749
-when he was almost totally blind, he had 2 operations: at end of March again in April, 1750
by English eye specialist, John Taylor But, complications and he never did regain his sight and he was quite weakened.
-beginning of May, he was teaching but by 22 July, had declined so that he had to take his last Communion at home.
28 July 1750 stroke and died a few hours later. He was 65.
-buried 2 or 3 days after in St. John’s cemetery.
-Anna Magdalena Wilke Bach survived him by 10 years. She died in ‘abject poverty’ [New Grove] in 1760.
J.S.Bach’s estate was modest: securities, cash, silver utensils, manuscripts and instruments [included 8 harpsichords, 10 string instruments, lute and spinet] and other things
-Divided between his widow and 9 surviving children
-He lived to see his style of writing go out of fashion. His sons were more well known than he, in contrast to Bach’s early success and renown!
Compositions in Leipzig:
most of his approximately 300 cantatas
St. Matthew Passion,
B minor Mass
Musical Offering - near the end of his life, he was asked to develop a theme devised by Prussia's Frederick the Great: the result is a masterpiece of counterpoint. [p. 28 TimeLife]
Art of Fugue - another compendium of contrapuntal technique
Goldberg Variations - composed to ease an insomniac’s sleepless nights.
-devout! Well read in Lutheran theology and a collector of books on the subject
Various inscriptions appear on his music:
J.J. = Jesu, juva = Jesus, help
S.D.G. = soli Deo gloria = to God alone be glory
I.N.J. = in nomine Jesu = in the name of Jesus
-Symbolism pervades his music in other ways.
B A C H could be used as a theme. H = Bb
Ex. Passacaglia and Fugue for Organ
Ex. Organ Fugue in G minor “Little” [organ]
Ex. Fantasia in C minor [keyboard]
Ex. Jesu, meine Freude, II.
George Frederic Handel (1685-1759)
-born on 23 February in Halle, Saxony, near Bach’s birthplace and of course, in the same year.
-baptized Lutheran as Georg Friederich Händel and he used the spelling Hendel and the English: Handel
-father = Georg Händel (1622-97) was a barber/surgeon to the Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels.
-he was 63 when G.F. was born
-mother was a 2nd wife: Dorothea Taust (1651-1730)
-father wanted his son to become a lawyer and denied him instruments
-somehow, a small clavichord was smuggled into the attic and G.F. practiced!!
-went to visit his 1/2 brother Karl [older by 36 years!] who worked as a valet de chambre at the Ducal court of Saxe-Weissenfels. Little George amazed his family and Duke by his organ playing. G.F. showed such musical promise at a young age that the Duke insisted he study music... with Zachow, organist in Halle
-Zachow taught him harmony, counterpoint, composition, keyboard and violin...and shared his music library
-H mastered organ, harpsichord, violin and oboe within 4 years.
-February 1702 entered University of Halle and in March became organist at the Calvinist Domkirche
-became friends with Telemann at this time. Telemann was then a student at Leipzig.
1703 H took a job as violinist, later as harpsichordist in the Hamburg Opera.
-became friends with Johann Mattheson (1681-1764) and they both travelled to Lübeck to hear Buxtehude and check out the potential job...when they discovered that the job required marrying Buxtehude’s daughter, they both lost interest...as Bach had too.
-The director had accepted a commission to write an opera called Almira, but had procrastinated too long, so H volunteered to do it and met the original deadline. Success! and further commissions followed and an invitation to travel to Italy.
-in the autumn 1706, Handel was invited by Prince Ferdinand de’Medici to go to Italy. Visited Florence, Venice, Naples and Rome
-in Rome, he spent several months each year at estate of Francesco Ruspoli who [in lieu of a salary] expected him to compose secular cantatas for weekly Sunday concerts. He wrote more than 150...100 survive today.
April 7 and 8, 1708 Oratorio for the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ was performed at
Ruspoli’s palace. The 45-piece orchestra was led by Arcangelo Corelli.
-Cardinal Ottoboni attended the first concert...Pope Clement XI attended the second
-since the Pope objected to women singing in public, a castrato was used for the 2nd concert
-in Venice in 1709, he met Cardinal Grimani who wrote the libretto for Agrippina.
that opera, Agrippina was premiered on 26 Dec 1709 and ran for 27 performances afterwards
-Handel met most of the leading Italian composers, including Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti (who was also born in 1685), Corelli, Caldara, Vivaldi, and Lotti.
* He was judged equal in harpsichord playing with Domenico Scarlatti
-He began by imitating the Italian style and ended up succeeding in that style, writing Italian opera, in Italy.
-in Itally, he accepted invitations to visit Hanover and England
1710 in June, he returned to Germany as music director to the Elector Georg Ludwig of Hanover at a huge salary. But part of the deal was that he could travel to England on a year’s leave
-left in late 1710 for England and stayed for 8 months
-huge success; received at court of Queen Anne and wrote Italian opera for the Queen’s Theatre:
Rinaldo, (composed for the Queen’s Theatre and performed 15 times) was his most successful London opera.
* Self-plagiarism was a characteristic of his all his life. It was Not favorably reviewed though:
returned to Hanover for 15 months...wrote chamber music for the 18 court instrumentalists but...
1712 London again - another leave of absence “to return within a reasonable time.”
-composed during day and performed at night.
operas, odes and chamber music made him a huge success! and he did not return to Hanover.
1713-1716 lived at Lord Burlington’s home and met the Arnes, Gay, Pepusch and others
1714 Queen Anne died suddenly and via the Act of Succession (1701), the throne went to the Elector Georg Ludwig of Hanover (r. 1714-27)
-according to legend, Handel was understandably anxious...but he was probably never out of favor with the Elector. Consider his English royal employment:
-became Composer of Musick for the Chapel Royal and received a nice annuity. Also, was the music master for some of the princesses.
July 17, 1717 - aquatic fete on the Thames was arranged by royal order. King’s boat was followed by a barge with approximately 50 in an orchestra. Handel wrote the music which then so pleased the King that he ordered it played twice.
Later, this was published as Water Music - a collection of the small pieces supposedly used at the 1717 event. They are usually grouped into 2 different suites.
1716 summer. Handel visited relatives in Halle and his mother
-returned to London to ready some operas for performance. But all was not well with opera:
1718 in June, the opera house (the Queen’s Opera) closed permanently
Summer 1718 James Brydges, Earl of Carnarvon and later, Duke of Chandos hired Handel to be his resident composer for his palace and private chapel.
-composed 11 anthems, a Te Deum, 2 masques in English: Acis and Galatea to libretto by John Gay and his first version of Esther.
Ex. Acis and Galatea [masque]
“Love in her eyes sits playing” (aria)
“The flocks shall leave the mountains” (trio)
Ex. Chandos Anthem 1 O be Joyful in the Lord
1720 appointed director of the new Royal Academy of Music, established during winter of 1718-19 by noblemen (with royal support) mostly for the production of Italian opera. This opened in April, 1720.
-This Academy had a successful run for about a decade, failing when the fickle London audience grew bored with the style. Also, the problems of finding suitable, non-combative stars and plots and staging... too much work and bother.
At one time, he had hired two of Europe’s most famous sopranos, [Francesca] Cuzzoni and [Faustina] Bordoni.
-but some of his best opere serie were written and performed in 1723-25
Ex. Giulio Cesare in Egitto [Julius Caesar in Egypt] “Piangeró” -from 1727
1721 appointed composer to the Chapel Royal. He was required to write new music for special royal events
Ex. the four Coronation Anthems for George II (r. 1727-60)
-at that Westminster ceremony, 47 singers sang to accompaniment of orchestra of about 160.
-one or more of these anthems has been done at every British coronation since.
1727 George I died and son, George II crowned
Also, Handel became a British subject and moved into a house on Brook Street.
-continued to write opera but began to write oratorio which became more and more attractive to him
-the Royal Academy collapsed though:
-Gay and Pepusch were aware of Londoners’ exasperation with Italian language and wrote (with GREAT success) The Beggar’s Opera in English. That was a ballad opera in which spoken dialogue alternates with songs set to the tunes of popular ballads or opera arias.
1729 Handel and an impresario, Johann Heidegger (1666-1749) leased King’s Theatre for 5 years for a series of subscription operas
1732 children of the Chapel Royal gave 3 private performances of his revised masque Esther at the Crown and Anchor Tavern. The choruses were sung by the Westminster choirs. This was the first oratorio performance in London...and it was done with costumed singers.
-Princess Anne requested Handel to move the performances to the King’s Theatre. Since the Bishop of London forbade sacred subjects in an opera house, Handel revised the score again and Esther was performed “in the manner of the Coronation Service” with no action, no costumes and with books in choirboys’ hands.
1733 took sole management of his opera company but he was a difficult demanding man and had many quarrels with his subscribers. Competition with a rival company didn’t help. The company failed and so did the rival company...
1734 Six Concerti Grossi, Op. 3 pieces in these date from 1713-22 or maybe as far back as 1710. No. 1
was written between 1730 - 1734. Ex. CD of Op. 3
1735 produced several oratorios in the spring.
by 1745, Lenten oratorios were the standard practice in England
1735 announced that he would perform organ works between acts of his oratorios.
created the organ concerto
-continued to compose opera until January 1741 even though his company and his rival’s closed in June 1737. His last successful opera was Alcina. (1735)
Ex. Serse [Xerxes] 1738: Largo “Ombra mai fu”
-not a financial success. Public indifference!
-Stressed out, he had a small stroke on 13 April 1737.
1738 began writing Saul and it was performed in January 1739.
Exodus [later renamed Israel in Egypt] performed April 1739
Ode for St. Cecelia’s Day was written in September 1739
1739 - 12 Grand Concertos, Op. 6 for strings. on a par with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti
1741 abandoned opera and turned to oratorio.
-He was involved with charity foundations throughout his life
-he was a patron of the Fund for the Support of Decayed Musicians [later called the Royal Society of Musicians], established in 1738
-helped to support the Foundling Hospital, established in 1740
-his reputation for charity led to a group invitation from the Duke of Devonshire and heads of 3 charities in Ireland to give a series of charity concerts in Dublin.
-Handel wrote Messiah between 22 August and 14 September 1741. Once again, much of it was borrowed from his earlier works but some was new.
-libretto was by Charles Jennens...based on Bible and the Psalter from the Anglican Prayer Book
-H arrived in Dublin in mid-November.
Messiah April 13, 1742 (261 years ago as of 2003) in Neale’s Music Hall
“For the Relief of the Prisoners in several Gaols, and for the Support of Mercer’s Hospital in Queen’s Street, and of the Charitable Infirmary on the Inns Quay.”
-rehearsals began on April 9
-premiered in Dublin and was extremely successful
-at all the performances, H played organ concerti
-HUGE success in Dublin but when performed in London 23 March 1743, it failed because many people considered Biblical words in a playhouse blasphemous
-not successful in London until 1750 when H presented it in benefit concerts at Foundling Hospital Chapel
Ex. Messiah selections
Comfort Ye; Ev’ry Valley
For unto us a Child is born
He was despised [sung by Susanna Cibber, sister of composer Thomas Arne]
many other biblical oratorios followed when H returned to London: Judas Maccabeus, Samson...
1743 had another stroke and soon recovered.
1746 Judas Maccabeus oratorio, inspired by the English victory over the Scots at Culloden
Ex. Solomon: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Music for the Royal Fireworks
-designed for the celebrations on April 27, 1749, of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle which put an end to the War of the Austrian Succession. The treaty was actually signed the previous October.
-the music was rehearsed in the Spring Gardens at Vauxhall on 21 April and attracted 12,000 people.
BUT he didn’t completely abandon operatic style composition...
-In 1749, he composed incidental music for a play by Tobias Smollett on the myth of Admetus & Alcestis.
Ex. “Gentle Morpheus” (Calliope’s song) from Alceste, 1749.[Dawn Upshaw on White Moon CD]
He began to lose his sight (had 3 unsuccessful cataract operations) while working on an oratorio and by 1753 he was totally blind.
-He took ill after conducting Messiah for his favorite charity, the Foundling Hospital
-on 11 April, he dictated his 4th and final codicil to his Will which included a wish ‘to be buried in Westminster in a private manner.’
-died at his home in Brook Street (London) at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 14, 1759. He was 74.
-his will left £ 20,000 (including £ 1950 earned by his oratorios in the last season)
-his heir was a niece in Germany
-left generous provisions for servants, relations, charities and friends.
-every English sovereign since George II in 1727, has been crowned to the sound of the Handel anthems
-Messiah has the longest continuous performance tradition of any choral work in the concert rep.
-However, most of his music, like Bach's and other Baroque composers, suffered neglect.
-he respected the music of Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Bach, Telemann, Rameau and Purcell.
he did not care for the music by his English contemporaries
-he composed very quickly and often self-plagiarized. Basically, his style was Italian with French, German and English elements.
-although known today for his oratorios, he made his career mostly in opera...and composed almost 40.
-the English oratorio was his invention. Middle class English people knew the Bible but since the church forbade Biblical stories on stage, the oratorio was a compromise of style.
-instrumental music includes concerti grossi, organ concerti, chamber music, keyboard works, anthems and songs.
Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti
-composer, teacher and performer
b. Naples Oct. 26, 1685 (same year as Bach and Handel)
sixth child of ten born to Alessandro Scarlatti and Antonia Anzalone
d. Madrid July 23, 1757
father was the famous opera composer, Alessandro Scarlatti
D received music training from father.
-in September 1701, when 16, named organist and composer at the royal chapel in Naples.
-his father was maestro di cappella there
-1702 June - October father and son visited Medici court in Florence...searching for better jobs
-1703 his first 2 operas were produced in Naples
1705 sent by father to Venice to study composition. Stopped in Rome and Florence hoping for jobs but no.
-nothing is known about his 4 years in Venice
1709-13, in Rome as maestro di cappella to exiled Queen Maria Casimira of Poland, for whose private theater (in her palace) he composed 6 operas, an oratorio and a cantata
-he attended the weekly chamber music concerts given at the palace of Cardinal Ottoboni.
-met Corelli there
-in 1709 engaged in a friendly contest with Handel late December 1713, appointed maestro di cappella of the Basilica Giulia in Rome early 1714, also appointed maestro di cappella to Marquis de Fontes, the Portugese ambassador to the Vatican. So, D was composing sacred and secular music.
-but, his father was still interfering with his life and he took legal action against him in 1717.
August 1719 resigned his positions in Rome and moved farther from his father... to Portugal
1719 went to Lisbon where he was engaged as mestre of the royal chapel of King John Vand music teacher to the King’s daughter, Infanta Maria Barbara and the king’s younger brother, Don Antonio.
1720, had an opera produced in London and his brother, Francesco gave a concert there too.
-between 1719 and 1728, he returned to Italy only 3 times:
1724 visited Rome, met Quantz and may have met Farinelli [Carlo Broschi 1705-82], soprano castrato.... Farinelli later worked at the Madrid court 14 years later.
1725 visited his ill father in Naples
1728 went to Rome to marry 16 year old Maria Caterina Gentili on May 15
-details of his work in Portugal were probably destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake of 1 November 1755.
-Scarlatti had an unusually strong bond to his student who must have been quite a talent. He wrote many, if not all of his approximately 555 keyboard “sonatas” for her.
1728 the princess married the heir to the Spanish throne and D accompanied her to Madrid, where he spent the rest of his life (28 years!) When Maria Barbara became queen in 1746, he was appointed her “Maestro de camara”
In Madrid, D did not compose operas but did begin a trend towards instrumental music, esp. Harpsichord!
* D composed over 555 sonatas for harpsichord
His special claim to renown rests upon this music. He studied the peculiarities of the instrument and adapted his compositions to them. His music is highly idiomatic.
-He particularly enjoyed a homophonic song form (Binary) with graceful ornamentation, in contrast to contrapuntal styles of keyboard music elsewhere.
-most of Scarlatti’s sonatas are in one movement, in binary form but with a difference that precedes sonata allegro form:
Before the first theme was stated in the B section, Scarlatti introduced a third theme or at least a reshaped first theme.
first theme, second theme in dominant V 3rd theme or modified 1st theme, then 2nd in tonic key
*** note how the modified 1st theme eventually becomes the Classic period’s Development of Sonata Allegro Form.
-virtuosic and dazzling. effects by the frequent crossing of the hands, runs in thirds and sixths, leaps wider than an octave, broken chords in contrary motion, repeated notes...
He has been called the father of modern piano technique
“Pray do not expect in these compositions a profound programmatic idea, but just accept them as artful ‘scherzos’ devised to improve your proficiency on the harpsichord.”
[Scarlatti’s introduction to one volume of his sonatas.]
Ex. Sonata in C major (Longo 104)
Ex. Sonata in G major (Longo 487)
one of the most popular and infectiously Spanish
Ex. Sonata in E major (Longo 23)
also one of the most popular
Ex. Sonata in E major (Longo 23)
-During his lifetime, some of Scarlatti’s keyboard pieces were published in various editions.
One Manuscript collection was owned by the Queen of Spain and at her death, was brought to Italy by Farinelli ( the famous castrato used by Handel).
-excellent biography by Ralph Kirkpatrick, 1953.
“The legend that he was too fat to cross his hands at the keyboard is belied by a portrait of him made c.1740 by Domingo Antonio de Velasco. That painting, located in 1956, [after Ralph Kirkpatrick’s claim of obesity as tool to date his works] depicts Scarlatti as slender, with prominent cheekbones and chin.” [Stolba 440]
-mostly influential on Iberian peninsula and in England [through his published works]
particularly on Antonio Soler (1729-83) whom he knew.
Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
-musical family, at age 7 could play at sight, on the harpsichord, any music given him
-age 10-14, attended the Jesuit College at Dijon, his hometown.
1701 sent to Italy, but after a brief stay at Milan, he joined the orchestra of a traveling French opera-troupe as a violinist.
Spring 1705 moved to Paris and published his first book of Pieces de Clavecin remained in Paris as an organist until 1708
1709 became his father’s successor at the Cathedral in Dijon
1722 permanent move to Paris and became the organist at Clermont-Ferrand, where he wrote his famous
Treatise on Harmony, 1722
it was little understood at the time but attracted enough opposition that he was not unknown in Paris when he settled there in 1723
1726 New System of Musical Theory
-an introduction to the Treatise Basic ideas:
1. chords built from thirds
2. classification of a chord and all its inversions as one and the same
3. invention of a fundamental bass, not corresponding to thorough bass but is an imaginary series of root-tones forming the real basis of harmonic movement
*** This text continued to be an influence for 2 centuries!
-became organist at Sainte-Croix-de-la-Breton-nerie and was soon recognized as the best organist in
Ex. Pieces de Clavecin 1731 Book L’Enharmonique
-composed opera, at first not successful, but with the help of influential friends, all soon recognized Rameau as great.
Castor et Pollux 1737
-his masterpiece which was performed for years in the 18th century
-for the next 30 years, his operas dominated the French stage
-1745 he was named composer of the King’s (Louis XV) chamber music. Shortly before Rameau’s death, the King honored him with a patent of nobility and the order of St. Michael.
However, Controversy! His music was criticized for its unintelligible harmony, lack of melody, preponderance of discords, noisy instrumentation, etc.
But, 25 years later in another controversy between Gluckists and Piccinists, Rameau’s works were praised as models of beauty and perfection.
Appearance: tall and harsh, so emaciated that he appeared ghostlike. “It has been said that Rameau was the scientist, the mathematician, the geometrist of composers.” [Igor Kipnis]
Importance: Rococo composer, Treatise on Harmony, chamber music now.
Ex. Suite in A minor
-suite: a collection of small dance or dance-like movements
-advantages of suite composition:
perfect for the Rococo style which demanded short, usually descriptive pieces with a lot of variety
1. variety of moods and tempi
2. simple, short tunes ideal for ornamentation
3. simple form, not too deep, ideal entertainment
-Allemande, Courante and Sarabande are the commonly occurring dances in all suites.
-Movement IV “Les trois mains” features Scarlatti-like hand-crossings
Durant, Ariel & Will. A History of Western Civilization.
Geiringer, Karl, in collaboration with Irene Geiringer. The Bach Family: Seven Generations of Creative Genius. New York: Oxford University Press, 1954; reprinted by New York: Da Capo Press, 1981.
Grout, Donald Jay. A History of Western Music. New York: W.W. Norton.
Palisca, Claude V. Baroque Music. 3d ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1991.
Redlich, Hans Ferdinand. Claudio Monteverdi: Life and Works. tr. by Kathleen Dale. London: Geoffrey Cumberlege for Oxford University Press, 1952.
Sadie, Samuel, ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. New York: W.W. Norton, 1982.
Schonberg, Harold. The Lives of the Great Composers.
Stolba, K. Marie. The Development of Western Music: A History. Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown Publishers, 1990.