Music

opera, school, qv, italian, composers, german, handel, english, dramatic and french

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The School of the German Singspiel (e.1630-1800).—(A) In the beginning of the seventeenth century there arose in Germany the so-called 'school comedy'—dramatic representa tions by students. Each act was preceded by a short musical dialogue introducing mythological personages. This custom led to the establish ment of the German singspiel (q.v.). in which the acting personages were shepherds, shep herdesses, nymphs, etc. These singspicic finally gave rise to a national German opera in Ham burg, hut not until Hiller in Leipzig established the singspicl upon the basis of the folk-song did this form rise to an artistic level. The composers of this school are: Strnngk, Kusser, Keiser, Mattheson. Handel. Telemann. Hiller, Dittersdorf. Schenck, Weigl, Winter. (B) While the singspiel was popular with the masses, the German princes, decrying everything that was German. favored the Italian opera. Especially Vienna and Dresden became strongholds of the foreign style. Many German composers began to write Italian operas, and thus aided time rapid decline of dramatic composition. Among these composers we find: Hasse, Gramm, Doles, Nau mann. See OPERA.

XVIII. The Italian school of Decadence Xviii. The Italian school of Decadence (t...MO-1810 ).—With the aria the Neapolitan School had given to music that form which was soon to bring about a general decline of dramatic music. Dramatic troth counted for nothing: sensuous charm of melody and display of vocal art were paramount. Composers became the slaves of singers. The ballet became an im portant factor in the opera. Naturally com posers did not waste time in studying counter point and polyphonic writing when success was so easily won by writing pretty melodies over the plainest harmonic accompaniment. The prin cipal names of this school are: Porpora. Pergo lese, Joint.lli, Piccinni, Sacc•hini, Pais jell o, Salieri, C'ima•osa, Ziugaelli, Righini, Pair. See OPERA.

XIX. The Classic Masters (c.1700-1827).—As the contributions to music by our great classic masters are fully treated under the separate titles, mention is made of them here merely for the sake of completeness. BAcn marks the culmination of the polyphonic period of music (see POLYPHONY ) , as well as the beginning of the new homophonic-harmonic period. (See Ho MOPTIONY.) In him the passion (q.v.) and the instrumental fugue reach their highest develop ment. He brings equal temperament (q.v.) into universal use. HANDEL brings the oratorio (q.v.) and the vocal fugue to perfection. Tak ing up English music where the premature death of Purcell bad left it, he becomes the founder of a new English school. GLUCK reforms the opera by emphasizing the dramatic in opposition to the purely musical element, without, however. disturbing the forms of the aria, chorus, duet, ensemble. etc. He greatly advances the art of orchestration. HAYDN perfects the sonata (q.v.) and establishes the modern form of the sym phony and string quartet (q.v.), as well as the symphony orchestra, by individualizing the sepa rate instruments. He is the 'father of modern instrumental music.' 310ZART invents no new forms, but fills those existing with the contents of his wonderful genius. Ile is a universalist, equally great in all the forms he handles. In

the works of BEETHOVEN absolute music reaches a point which would indicate the highest possible development, beyond which no progress can be imagined. He greatly enlarges the forms of Haydn and Mozart, and replaces the minuet (q.v.) of the symphony by the scherzo (q.v.). He strikes passionate accents never heard before in music, and discloses marvelous depths of emo tion. SCHUBERT creates the a•t-song (kunst lied). (See LIED.) In the field of instrumental music he follows the path opened by Beethoven, but preserves his own strong individuality.

XX. The English School Since Handel (1750 1829).—When Handel settled in England in 171:3 the national opera of Purcell had been entirely superseded by the Italian. Ilandel's own Italian operas exerted no uplifting influence, and have shared the fate of the works by his contempo raries. But when Handel began to cultivate the oratorio he laid the foundation of his fame as well as that of the English School. i'nfor tunateh•, he remained the only master. His contemporaries and immediate successors were unable to carry on his work. although they made earnest efforts. They, therefore, turned their attention to the opera- -not the foreign Italian product, but the national English opera. They e'en succeeded in establishing a style of t heir own different from the Ge111111111 S'lqspie/ or the French opera comique. The spoken dia logue occupied altogether too much space, and, although the musical numbers were nut lacking in a certain freshness and melodious charm, they were utterly devoid of all dramatic expression. Renee this national opera died with its authors. The most prontinent composers are: Arne, Ar nold. Pibdin. Storac•e, llook, Shield.

XXI. The l'rench Grand Opera A !peculiarity of the French opera is the fact that several of the masters who have contributed most materially to its advancement were foreign born. „ther the death of Rameau, French na tional opera was at a standstill, during which time the Italian opera gained ground. Then a Gernmn. Gluck, appeared with his reforms. The success if his 1phigenic en ulide in 1774 marks the beginning of a new era of French opera. The new style was taken up by two Italians, Cherubini and Spontini, who finally established the grand opera. Then native Freud' composers began to take part. The characteristics of this school are: the prevalence of tragic subjects; the absence of spoken dialogue; the great atten tion paid to declamation. which very often degenerates into empty rhetoric and hollow bathos: a heavy orehestration, whose aim is for striking effects; and elaborate ensembles and finales. The introduction of a ballet after the second act is indispensable. In the choice of subjects those taken from history are specially favored. This school may be divided into two periods, roughly separated by the year 1530. The characteristics just mentioned apply more strictly to the second period (Meyerbeer) ; while. the works of the first period, as a rule, are marked by a greater earnestness of purpose as far as the purely musical setting is concerned. Tile principal composers re (11110k. Berton, Gu,sPt•, Cherubini, Lesneur, Spoilt 1111, Rossini ,Nleyerlicer. HaVvy. See OPERA.

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