Saturday, November 10, 2007

1670 – 1695 Tragedie lyrique

1672 Louis XIV assumed power; death of Schütz
1689-94 William and Mary, England
1695 Death of Purcell

This is Lully's opera period and the period of Purcell, Corelli, Buxtehude, Pachelbel, Biber and the next generation of Venetian opera composers. It is the first generation of equal importance of instrumental music, the concerto grosso and tonality.

Vocal Music

Venetian opera

Venetian opera had become international in scope, as in La Forza dell'Amor paterno (1678) by Alessandro Stradella (c.1645-82), Giustino (1683) by Lagrenzi, La Gerusalem liberata (1687) by Carlo Pallavicino (1630-88) and Enrico ditto il Leone (1689) by Agostino Steffani (1654-1728).


Composed by all of the above plus M.A. Sartorio (c.1620-85) and Domenico Gabrielli (c.1650-90) and in France by Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1624-1704), cantatas were the experimental form of the period.

Tragedie lyrique

The first opera in French was Pastorale (1659) by Robert Cambert (c.1628-77) on a text by Abbé Perrin. A vogue was established with Pomone (1671) by Cambert, and quickly adopted by Lully with Cadmus et Hermione (1673). His operas were characterized by

(a) large ballets and choruses,
(b) a new recitative style with frequent meter changes,
(c) a thick, five-voice texture,
(d) French Overture, and
(e) short simple arias in aabb form.
His librettist was Jean-Philippe Quinault. Other Lully operas were Alceste (1674), Persée (1682), Amadis (1684), Roland (1685) and Armide (1686).


A pupil of Carissimi, Charpentier brought the oratorio to France. An example was Le Reniement de St. Pierre.

English dramatic music

Though operas in English were composed, Venus and Adonis (1684-85) by John Blow (1647-1708) and Dido and Aeneas (1689) by Henry Purcell (1658-96), more important from the English view was incidental music written for plays: Purcell's Dioclesian (1690), King Arthur (1691), The Fairy Queen (1692), The Tempest (1695) and Indian Queen (1695).

English songs, odes, anthems

Purcell also composed

(1) songs on ostinato basses, rondo forms and da capo arias which were collected in Orpheus Britannicus (1698),
(2) odes in several movements for chorus, soloists and orchestra, composed for large celebrations, and
(3) anthems. The distinction between full and verse anthem persisted, with the more popular verse anthem, in a distinctly baroque multi-movement form.

German opera

In 1678 Johann Theile's (1646-1724) Adam und Eva opened the Hamburg opera house.

Lutheran church music

The Abendmusiken, begun in Lübeck in 1673 by Dietrich Buxtehude (c.1637-1707), were public concerts during Advent and included chorale variations, arias, dialogues and organ and orchestral music. A pre-cantata form of Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) came in the usual arrangement: motet, aria, chorale.

Instrumental Music


Forms composed by Buxtehude were

(1) toccata, suggesting improvisation and including contrasting fugal sections, also Pachelbel,
(2) fugue, a long section in a toccata, also Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703) or by Pachelbel as an independent piece, either serious as a ricercar or lively as a canzona,
(3) chorale fantasia, a fragmented chorale melody treated with free ornamentation and counterpoint, also Jan Reinken (1625-1722),
(4) chorale prelude, a short introduction to chorale singing which usually treated the melody as a soprano cantus firmus, also Pachelbel, and
(5) passacaglia or chaconne, which used a repeating bass melody or repeating chord progression, also Georg Muffat (1653-1704) and Purcell.


Music for string ensemble reached its first peak in the works of Archangelo Corelli (1653-1713):

Op. 1 (1681), 12 trio sonatas da chiesa,
Op. 2 (1685), 11 trio sonatas da camera and a chaconne,
Op. 3 (1689), 12 trio sonatas da chiesa,
Op. 4 (1695), 12 trio sonatas da camera,
Op. 5 (1700), 6 violin sonatas da chiesa, 5 da camera and the Follia variations,
Op. 6 (1714), 12 concerti grossi.
Corelli's sonata da chiesa was in four movements (slow-fast-slow-fast) and his sonata da camera was a prelude with two or three of the standard suite movements with gavotte in no special order.  A characteristic cadence is called the Corelli clash.

Trio Sonata

Trio sonata|--------- violin
|--------- violin
|--------- continuo (keyboard and cello)

The trio sonata was always a quartet which in the Bologna school consisted of two violins, cello and keyboard (harpsichord or organ). Corelli used chain suspensions and diatonic sequence to create a continuous tonality. The two equal violins crossed frequently.

Violin Sonata

The Mystery sonatas (c.1675) of Heinrich Biber (1644-1704) used scordatura (unusual tunings) to allow for unusual multiple stops in a contrapuntal texture.

Corelli's violin sonatas made important use of double and triple stops, fast runs, arpeggios, cadenzas and movements in moto perpetuo.

Concerto Grosso

The concerto grosso of Corelli was a trio sonata (concertino) that played continuously, alternately as a solo group and augmented by a larger orchestra (ripieno). These works, probably written in the 1680's, show little difference between solo and tutti sections. Sinfonia (c.1680) by Stradella first showed the concerto grosso principle.


Historische Beschreibung der edlen Sing und Klingkunst (1690) by Wolfgang Caspar Printz was the first history of music.

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