Music

school, opera, musical, german, composers, masters, romantic, dramatic, liszt and expression

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XXII. The Prenrh Opera Comique (c.17(10 Xxii. The Prenrh Opera Comique (c.17(10- 1S;70i.—Thi: school presents three sharply marked periods. The productions of the first period somewnat resemble the German sinyspi-I. The subjects are taken from everyday life or fairy tales. The secco-recilative of the Italian op, ra built, gives place to the spoken dia logue; for the aria is substituted the French rh,Hismr. The works of the second period 3(1t show the influence of German romanticism. The purely comic subjects arc replaced by a mixture of comedy and romanticism. The music assumes a more serious character and better musical charaeterization is attained; the orches tra bet-miles an important beim-, and the en semble is strongly influenced by that of the grand opera. In fact. some of the masters of the grand ope'ra belong equally to the niu'rit coiniquc• Aulwr, 11 a 1. In t he works of the third period we find very often that t he only comical thing about them is their designation as opf'ra emniqUe% Composers do not hesitate to choose tragic subjects. And yet such works are called oi"'ra romique, because they differ from grand ope'ra by the fact that there is spoken Ilialoffue. Nothing van very well be more traffic ha n Bizet 's Carmen. But it contains spoken dialogue: hence it is op'ra (-antique. 1n opera comivic there is generally a healthier musical atmosphere, less striving for mere effect, more truthful dramatic expression, less artifi ciality. The great masters of this school are: Philidor, 1\lonsigny, Gri;try, Cherubini, Auber, BoIeldieu, Halt7.vy, A. Thomas. Bizet, Delilies.

XXIII. The School of Bel Canto (1813-68).— Xxiii. The School of Bel Canto (1813-68).— We have seen that the opera in Italy declined rapidly after the middle of the eighteenth cen tury. With the appearance of Rossini a new school may be said to begin. Even before him singing was the chief attraction: but his pred ecessors relied upon the technical skill of the singers to please the audience. Rossini surpassed all Italian operatic composers before him in the power of melodic invention. It is this sensuous charm of melody that distinguishes the school of the Be! Canto from the school of Decadence. Be sides Rossini, the principal exponents of this style are Donizetti and Bellini. Of only second ary importance are Genera]i. lercadante, and Parini.

XXIV. The German Romantic School (MSXxiv. The German Romantic School (MS- SO).—The German romantic opera was developed from the singspicl. About the middle of the eight eenth century witches, gnomes, ghosts, and all kinds of spirits were introduced into the singspicl, which thus gradually gave rise to a new kind, the Zanbcroper (magic opera). Although the texts of these productions were silly, and the at tention was distracted from the purely musical element to the scenic decorations, yet this Zauber olu•r led opera into the realm of the mysterious, phantastic, and wonderful, where it has scored its greatest triumphs. The real beginning of the Romantic School is marked by the appearance of Weber's 1'ceisc•hiifx (ISIS). With the ap pearance of romanticism music becomes more and more the individual, subjective expression of each composer, so that it is exceedingly difficult to arrange composers into schools. One char acteristic of the Romantic School in genera] is the great advanec in orchestral tone-coloring over the elassic masters, and a decided preference for dissonances. 'sot only the different instruments become so many separate voices, but a distinc tion is made even between the various registers of the same instrument. Ilarmony becomes great

ly enriched and is the principal means of emo tional expression. while rhythm assumes greater diversity and complexity. 1\lusie in general be comes more intense and passionate. The instru mental composers at first fill the classical forms with nunantie contents, and then originate new forms. in the field of dramatic music the prin cipal composers are: Weber. Spoilt.. 1\larschner, tortzing. 'Holstein. Wretschmer, Gohlmark, Gtltz, Nessler. Drill]. Those who devoted their energies to instrumental and choral works are: Spar, Schumann, :Nlendelssohn. The latter master has nmeh in common with the classicists, and became the lu.ad of a school whose principal representa tives are: Alter, Reinecke, Jadassohn. The in finence of Schumann is perceptible in another group of masters. 14 whom the most prominent are: Franz, Volkmonn, Jensen. lIuFer. Alidway between these two sehools, and preserving. (hat. acterislies of their own, are ItafT and Rhein benYer.

X XV. Wagnrr— Liszt — Rrahms (1543-97). —Among, the great German masters of the nine teenth century three stand forth so prominently that it is impossible to classify them. Wagner and Liszt became founders of two distinct schools, whereas Brahms stands alone, without follow ers. Wagner began as the successor of the ro mantic opera of \Veber. His reformatory work is concerned not with the opera in particular, but with dramatic composition in general. He emphasizes the drama and asserts that music must only follow and intensify the text. He practically banishes the chorus, ensembles, etc., and substitutes the monologue. The voices de claim in a highly dramatic kind of recitative, while the development of the musical ideas is as signed to the orchestra. The unifying principle of his works is the leitmotiv (q.v.), which consti tutes the basis of the musical drama (q.v.). The musie-drama is a combination of the dramatic, musical, and plastic arts into one new art-form. Wagner demands first of all a drama, not a text or libretto (q.v.) ; all the resources of music are to be employed toward a true interpretation of this drama ; and the plastic arts are to combine with music. The orchestra is enormously en riched by new tone-colo•s and means of expres sion. (See MEtos; OPERA ; WAGNER. ) Liszt ap plied Wagner's principle of descriptive music to purely instrumental music, and became an ex ponent of 'programme music' (q.v.). 'Unable to make the classic form of the symphony serve his purpose, he invented the symphony poem. In the field of piano-music lie becomes the originator, with Schumann and Chopin. of modern piano forte technique. Together with and Ber lioz he also laid the foundations of a new school of conducting (the interpretativeconductor). ( See CONDUCTOR; LISZT. ) Brahms, in an age of musical excitement and innovations, stands forth as the keeper of classical forms. He successfully car ries on the style of Beethoven's third period, faithfully preserving the form, but showing the possibility of filling it with new and original con tents. Thus he proves that absolute music is un limited in its scope and power of expression; that its capabilities were not exhausted even by the titanic Beethoven; that any original genius can employ those forms for conveying his ideas; that the polyphonic art, of Bach can successfully lie combined with the homophonic-harmonic art of Beethoven and with Romanticism. See Bum-Drs.

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