Small numbers, or figures, are often placed above the bass line music as a guide to the harmonies, hence the term figured bass. In these early, loosely titled collections by the Gabrielis and by Castello, there can be found at least five of the means of contention or opposition that later became closely identified with the stile concertato or concerto. Listed in their approximate order of evolution, they include opposition between voices and instruments; between one choir and another whether of voices or instruments ; between the essential basso continuo and its melodic elaboration; between simple, straightforward parts and more decorative, virtuoso parts; and between two or more voices or instrumental parts engaged in imitative or motivic interplay.
Within the span of a century and a half the Baroque era saw the word concerto change from a broad general term applied on several musical levels to a fairly specific term whose meaning had two senses: that of an instrumental group and that of a musical structure or process.
The same century and a half saw a similar narrowing of definition in two closely allied terms: sonata and sinfonia. Before sonata, sinfonia, and concerto became clearly defined and attained a degree of mutual exclusion, they often overlapped and were sometimes even equated in meaning. Many so-called trumpet sonatas of the same period, especially those by Domenico Gabrielli and Giuseppe Jacchini, simply equate the three terms without distinction.
It is no wonder, then, that even the traits most basically identified with the concerto can be found in works of other titles. These cross-influences are important reminders that any full history of the concerto idea must take into account not only the concerti in the literature but many works with other titles. His outstanding technique and passionate playing prompted dozens of composers to write pieces for him, first in his native Soviet Union and then abroad.
Sergei Prokofiev, another Russian composer, wrote no less than five piano concertos which he himself performed. Like their violin counterparts, they show the various stages in his musical development.
The 20th century also witnessed a growth of the concertante repertoire of instruments, some of which had seldom or never been used in this capacity. As a result, almost all classical instruments now have a concertante repertoire. Examples include:. Among the works of the prolific composer Alan Hovhaness may be noted Prayer of St. Gregory for trumpet and strings. Each text was set as a separate movement. Often, each movement began with a similar melody, in which case the Mass was called "cyclic"; when that melody was taken from plainchant or from a secular song, the Mass was called a "parody Mass" "parody" meant in the sense of imitation, but not humorously.
The most famous mass of Josquin des Pres was that parodying the plainchant beginning with the text "Pangue lingua. The madrigal typically set a poem in Italian later, often in English with an intense emotional cast. The setting was usually for four or five voices with no instrumental accompaniment, although instruments were probably added in performance at times.
Jacques Arcadelt c. The most famous example of his work is Il bianco e dolce cigno. LISTEN: Arcadelt, Il bianco e dolce cigno The White and Gentle Swan [ Text ] Toward the end of the 16th century, madrigals became more tortuous harmonically and more aggressive in their use of musical devices to project the text's meaning and character.
Luca Marenzio was the most celebrated "madrigalist" of his day. Different dance styles corresponded to different underlying musical rhythms as with today's Latin dance music. The German Michael Praetorius ? Praetorius gave no indication of what instruments were to be used--his dances were played by whatever instruments were available. Here, the Early Music Consort of London switches between four different "consorts" of instruments, one per volte, before all four consorts play the end of the fourth volte together.
A consort was a set of instruments similar in design and tone but varied in size and pitch. Bach The Baroque era of Western classical music is usually defined as the period from to These dates are, of course, rough; the Renaissance dances of Praetorius were written in Two stylistic tendencies that partially define the Baroque were an increased interest in the solo voice and a rise in the status of instruments and instrumental music. The members of the Camerata sought to create a form of stage music comparable in expressive power to ancient Greek tragedy.
They disparaged the polyphonic madrigal, creating instead a new form--the opera--in which soloists sang against an instrumental background. The earliest opera that has entirely survived is L'Euridice , by the Camerata member Jacopo Peri L'Euridice presents the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, altered so that Orpheus successfully retrieves Eurydice from the underworld in a happy ending.
LISTEN: Peri, L'Euridice , " Nel pur ardor " forward [ Text ] The showpiece of opera came to be the aria, a self-contained, melodious passage that revealed the mood or attitude of the character singing it.
The arias in a given opera were separated by recitative, a faster-moving, more speechlike form of singing. Henry Purcell wrote Dido and Aeneas to be performed by the students at a girls' school. Martin Luther, the author of the Reformation, was also a musician; in the 16th century, he collected hundreds of tunes to serve as devotional hymns for his new Protestant Church.
The cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach included both chorales and aria-like solos. The chorale "Wachet auf" is among Bach's most famous. Unlike the choral music of the Renaissance, "Wachet auf" included parts written for instruments. Bach, " Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme " Wake up, the voice calls us! The concept for this ingeniously complex work came from Mr. The constant clacking of the train on the tracks imprinted itself on his musical imagination.
While contemplating this piece, Mr. Reich realized that, as a Jew, had he been in Europe during his youth he would probably have been traveling on quite different trains. Weaved into the textures are the recorded voices of the governess who accompanied Mr. Reich on his journeys and an old Pullman car worker, as well three Jewish refugees. The speeches, as transcribed with uncanny accuracy into pitches and rhythms, become another element in the music. John Adams was initially associated with Minimalism.
But Mr. The opera has been attacked for what is perceived as its sympathetic depiction of the Palestinian terrorists who murdered Leon Klinghoffer aboard an Italian cruise ship in But the creators think of the opera as a reflective work in the spirit of the Bach Passions, which mix storytelling and commentary.
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