Saturday, November 10, 2007

1695 – 1715 Neapolitan Opera


1695      Death of Purcell
1702-14 Queen Anne, England
1709 Piano invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731)
1715 Death of Louis XIV, France


Vocal Music

Neapolitan Opera


Said to have begun with Francesco Provenzale (d.1704), the style was brought to international attention by Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725). Trained in Venetian style, he gradually adopted the fashion of Naples, characterized by:

(a) Italian Overture,
(b) secco (with continuo only) and accompagnato (with orchestra, for tense dramatic situations) recitative,
(c) aria forms: arioso (between aria and recitative accompagnato), siciliana (melancholy 6/8 or 12/8) and the grand da capo aria,
(d) clearly established tonality in recitative and aria,
(e) frequent use of the Neapolitan sixth chord,
(f) downward fourth cadence in recitative, and
(g) vocal virtuosity in the singing of improvised ornaments, especially by castrati. 

Operas by Scarlatti were Eraclea (1700), Mitridate (1707), Tigrane (1715) and Telemaco (1718).


Da capo Aria


"From the top," the da capo aria consisted of a large A section, usually with Motto beginning, a contrasting B section in a related key and a complete repeat of A, altered by extemporized ornaments.




Midway between cantata and opera, serenatas were written for special occasions (royal birthdays in Vienna) by Stradella, A Scarlatti, Handel and Mozart.




Standardized as a sequence of two, or sometimes three, da capo arias connected by recitative, cantatas were composed for voice and continuo, some with obbligato instruments by A. Scarlatti.




After Lully the divertissement sections (dances, entr'actes, non-plot elements) increased in importance, producing a mixed form of ballet and opera called opéra-ballet. Examples were L'Europe galante (1697) and Les fêtes vénitiennes (1710) by André Campra (1660-1744).


German Opera


The Hamburg opera achieved its greatest distinction in the operas of Reinhard Keiser (1674-1739) who wrote 126 operas between 1696 and 1734. Rage arias, da capo arias, strophic and free arias, arietta, unison accompaniment and important instrumental writing were features of the style. An example was Croesus (1710). Between 1705 and '06 Handel composed four operas for Hamburg, including Almira (1705).


Lutheran Cantata


In 1700 Erdmann Neumeister (1671-1756) of Hamburg introduced a new kind of Pietist poetry for musical setting, which he called "cantata." With the traditional Bible verses and chorale texts, subjective meditations were added for use as recitatives and arias. His texts were published in 1717. Composers of these texts were Johann Phillip Krieger (1649-1725), Johann Kuhnau (1660-1722) and Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow (1663-1712). Between 1712 and '14 J.S. Bach began using these texts.


Instrumental Music


In the late baroque instrumental forms consisted primarily of unified monothematic movements (preludes, fugues, dance movements, sonata movements) within stereotyped larger forms with variety created by contrasting movements of different character. The sectional, discontinuous forms of the early baroque (toccata with fugal sections, canzona and ricercar) gradually disappeared.




Prelude and fugue were no longer sectional forms. A homogeneous free prelude was followed by a thematically unified fugue with clear tonic-dominant relationships. Collections were Anmuthige Clavierübung (1699) by J.P. Krieger and Ariadne musica (1715) by J.K.F. Fischer (1650-1746), which demonstrated the progress of equal temperament by including preludes and fugues in 19 different keys arranged in ascending order; also, Prelude and Fugue in D major by J.S. Bach.


Suite, called partita (actually Parthie was the term used) or overture in Germany, was arranged in the classic order: Allemande-Courante-Sarabande-Gigue with optional dances by J.P. Krieger and Pachelbel.


The sonata da chiesa was first transferred to the keyboard by Kuhnau in his Clavierübung II (1692) and Frische Clavierfrüchte (1696). Sonatas with programs were his Musikaische Vorstellung einer Biblischer Historien (1700).


Concerto Grosso


The form of the concerto grosso was further developed by Giuseppe Torelli (c.1650-1709), Op. 5 (1692) and Op. 8 (1708), who composed in three movements (fast-slow-fast) with allegros in rondo form and greater solo-tutti contrast. He also developed the solo concerto.


Orchestral suite


A French overture and dances in no standard arrangement were composed by J.K.F. Fischer, Journal de Printemps (1695), and Georg Muffat, Florilegium (1695, '98).


Italian Overture


Called sinfonia, the Italian overture was standardized by A. Scarlatti in three movements: first a fast canzona the second slow, short and chordal and the third fast and dance-like.





The first history of music in Italian was Historia musica (1695) by Giovanni Andrea Bontempi. The first history of music in French was Histoire de la musique (1715) written by three men: begun by Abbé Bourdelot, continued by Pierre Bonnet, his nephew and completed and published by Jacques Bonnet, his brother. (The book is called Bourdelot-Bonnet.) A French dictionary of music was Dictionnaire de musique (1703) by Sebastian de Brossard.


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