What is Enlightenment? Discussion how the notions of enlightenment or Enlightenment ideals are conveyed in 18th century music.
The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement that applied reason to issues of emotions, social relations, and politics. Beliefs of the Enlightenment were individual rights, naturalness, universal education and social equality. A movement in 18th-century thought dedicated to raising the level of general education, and by placing human improvement above concern with the supernatural. The movement’s origins are placed in English empiricism, French rationalism and French skepticism.
Social roles for music were providing public concerts and private teaching with musicians. The middle class's increased interest in learning and the arts affected writers and artists. The public concert was largely an 18th-century invention. Increasingly large theatres were built to accommodate an increasing public for spectacles and concerts. Production of musical instruments, especially keyboard instruments, reached levels that had not been approached since the 16th century. The immense output of songs with simple accompaniments or no accompaniment at all was destined for amateur circles; so were the unending volumes of keyboard arrangements devoted to operas, oratorios and other concerted music. A large repertoire of music was composed for amateur musicians to perform at home
During the eighteenth century, “sensitivity” became an important idea in music and was reflected in two styles: the galant style and the empfindsamer Stil. What did it mean for music to be “sensitive” in the 18th century?
Empfindsamer Stil, Style Galant, J.C. Bach, C.P.E.Bach.
The term can be translated as the “Sensitive style” or the “Style of Sensibility”, but it must be interpreted as a style in which emotion is valuable above all. It also requires a more than usual openness to a wide range of emotional responses from both the performer and the listener. During this period, the cultural life of Germany continued in many ways to reflect French influences. French galant music similarly made its imprint on the German musical scene. The German word Empfindsamkeit can be translated as “sensitivity,” “sensibility,” or “sentimentality.” The empfindsamer Stil was characterized by an emphasis on subtle nuances or shading and on the expression of variety of sentiments, often in rapid succession, within one movement of composition. To achieve this variety, phrases tended to be short. The style is most clearly represented in the works of C.P.E. Bach. Music in the empfindsamer Stil sounds especially good on the clavichord, which is C.P.E. Bach’s favorite instrument.
The development of the keyboard sonata over the course of the 18th-century,information on the stylistic, formal, and functional aspects of these works
Sonata is a term used to signify a piece of music usually consisting of several movements, almost invariably instrumental and designed to be performed by a soloist or a small group. The solo and duet sonatas of the Classical period sonata was in its actual usage over more than five centuries the title ‘sonata’ has been applied with much broader formal and stylistic meanings than that.
From the 13th century the word sonnade was used in literary sources simply to mean an instrumental piece. In the 1730s the term ‘sonata’ began to be widely used for keyboard solos. In 1732 Handel published his one-movement sonata at Amsterdam. Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti left several hundred one-movement harpsichord sonatas in manuscripts, but when the works was published in London around 1738 they were termed essercizi.
During the mid-18th century the sonata was important for stylistic change, from the late Baroque to the galant. The galant idiom, which reached its peak during the 1750s and 60s, favored a wholly different approach towards melody. It proceeded in short phrases of two or four bars, arranged in symmetrical patterns and closing with balancing imperfect and perfect cadences along with a use of the 6-4 chords. Characteristics of galant melody was its tuneful, lyrical quality, dotted rhythms, effective use of rests and long appoggiaturas, contrast of dynamic and articulation. According to The Cambridge Music Guide, the galant style of music “meant a flowing melodic style, free of the complexities of counterpoint, it would normally be highly accompanied, generally by a continuo instrument with a static or slow-moving bass line.”
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
Nocturne Op.27 No.2 D flat major
Chopin dips his pen in moonbeams and floods the world with lovelorn melodies from his nocturnes. The ideal example of this strain is undoubtedly the D flat, which contrives, too, to be an unsurpassed jewel of craftsmanship in every sense: in its uniquely delicate and seductive sonorities, in the extraordinary bel canto elaborations of its melody, in its harmonic subtlety and its classical proportion. By the time he composed the nocturne op.27, he went to Carlsbad, where, for the last time in his life, he reunited with his parents. On his way back to Paris, he met with his old friends from Warsaw, the Wodzińskis. He fell in love with their daughter Maria, a charming, intelligent, artistically talented woman. In September 1836, Chopin proposed marriage to Maria. She accepted, and her mother Countess Wodzińska approved in principle.
Discussion of Shostakovich Piano Sonata No.2. Comparing it stylistically to Shostakovich Sonata no.1, as well as to war period sonatas of Prokofiev that were written at the same time
The Sonata genre started in Russia mainly with Michail Glinka who was the leading composer of Russian opera in the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Almost all the composers of this generation were educated under German tradition so that the style of the sonata was mixture of late classical and romantic style. Some of the most contributors of the genre are Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. Shostakovich’s Piano sonata no.2 in B minor, op.61 was influenced by news of the death of Shostakovich’s teacher Leonid Nikolayev at Leningrad conservatory. Leonid Nikolayev’s piano lessons were beneficial for Shostakovich’s knowledge of western european music. Outside of class, Nikolayev was able to give Shotakovich useful advice on his compositions. The Sonata is considered as his best “piano symphony” work and was completed in March of 1943, between the Leningrad Symphony (7th) and the Eighth Symphony. The Sonata is the only a multi-movement sonata cycle and belongs to a period of maturity in Shostakovich’s distinct style. The Sonata consists of three movements that composer’s s dramatic, lyrical and tragic aspects revealed. The Sonata’s stylistic characters are: In the first movement, use of diminished tetrachords, non-stop development of the main theme, contrast of the first and second thematic material, chromatic melodic, combined themes of recapitulation, dynamic contrast and use of church mode; In the second movement, Impressionism-like melody with soft passagesthat functions as ornaments of the main melody; In the last movement, variations cycle based on perfect shaped main theme that reaches the climax almost at the end.
In his “Moonlight” Sonata, Opus 27 Nr. 2, Beethoven directs the pianist to play the entire opening movement “with great delicacy and without damper.”
While this pedal indication would lead to nothing but blurred, dissonant noise on the modern piano, it made perfect sense on the early fortepianos of Beethoven’s time.
Briefly charting the evolution of the piano from its origins in Italy to the present day. Then provided a detailed examination of how the fortepiano’s pedal and damper mechanism changed over time, and how these changes affected playing techniques using specific examples in the repertoire.
Also the introduction of Janissary pedals, bassoon stops, and other “bells and whistles” by some late 18th and early 19th century piano builders, and how these gimmicks applied to keyboard repertoire of that time period.
The earliest type of stringed keyboard instrument is a clavichord. The first clavichord’s existence is from 1404. When the key is pressed, a tangent rises and strikes a pair of strings. When the note is held, the player is able to control the pressure on the string. This allows the player to produce a vibrato effect known as “bebung”. In “fretted” clavichords, several keys could strike a single string or pair of strings at different places to make the correct pitch. By the early 17th century, the instrument grew to contain longer strings and a larger soundboard. The clavichord was only suitable for domestic use or small salon and it was great popular in central Europe, especially in Germany.
Virginal, spinet and harpsichords all belong to the same basic action mechanism in which strings are activated by a plucking action. The first documented reference date to a virginal is 1460. The typical virginal is like a small harpsichord with only one string per note. The virginal is normally rectangular in shape. Both its strings and keyboard run parallel to the side of the casework. The virginal was the favorite instrument of keyboard composers in Shakespeare’s time.
Discussion of specific teaching techniques or materials designed to aid in the teaching of certain techniques. Discussion of the methods of well-known teachers who established a distinct pedagogy.
In this discussion, I am attempting to briefly discuss the main principles of teaching methods of the 19th and 20th century’s great pianists and piano teachers: Chopin, Gieseking/Leimer and Neuhaus. These teachers’ methods have a common pedagogy of relaxed muscles and arm weight to produce a beautiful tone. In their teaching, proper sitting and natural position of hands is the utmost important aspect of the piano technique. What distinguishes their pedagogy is Leimer’s ear training, Gieseking’s amazing visualizing technique, Chopin’s technique for finger exercising and freeing the hands, and Neuhaus’ philosophy of building a musician with all the knowledge of the art and culture.
Concert Report of live classical performance staged in Chicago as of February 8, 2013. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Michael Hill Series: Blockbuster, The Harris Theatre at Millennium Park
Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
Sonata in E-flat major for Violin and Piano, Op.18 (1887-88)
Strauss started working on the E-flat major Sonata for violin and piano in 1887 and was finished in 1888. The sonata is his final composition using classical structure models and was the last piece of his orthodox chamber music. Strauss composed the sonata when he was in love with soprano opera singer Pauline de Ahna who became his wife later in 1894. The sonata is a legitimate and potent source of his inspiration.
Toccata in G major BWV 916 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
Its bright G-major tonality and clear three-movement form distinguish BWV 916 from Bach’s other toccatas. The lost copy of Heinrich Gerber contains the title Concerto seu Toccata pour le Clavecin (Concerto or Toccata for Harpsichord). It was during the Weimar period that Bach became familiar with the Italian-style concerto by transcribing instrumental works by Albinoni, Vivaldi and Telemann. Bach designed his Toccata in G major in concerto layout by employing the distinctive ritornello element in the opening phrase of the Allegro while following the German tradition of inserting the Fugue. The joyful first movement is followed by a beautiful slow Andante which is highly expressive and recitative-like. The slow tempo suggests a certain freedom for the performer in the realization of ornaments.
Suite Bergamasque (1890) Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
It’s title is probably derived from a phrase in Paul Verlaine's (d.1896) poem "Masques et bergamasques."(Maskers and Bergamaskers). Bergamasca is a16th century courtship dance of Bergamon, in northern Italy. Four of the pieces of the Suite Bergamasque composed and dated on editions in 1890, revised and published in 1905, but also he changed the original title of the pieces: the final piece, “Passepied”, began life as “Pavane”, while “Clair de lune” was originally called “Promenade sentimentale”. Debussy treated casually his titles and then the performers should take the trouble to follow up its significance.He was studying at The French Academy in Rome for two years in Villa Medici (1885-1887). He wrote cantata “Ladamoiselleélue” which was criticized by The Academy “Bizzare” and they hoped better for gifted Debussy, and upon his return to Paris he composed Suite Bergamasque. Although, how much of this work written in 1905 is unclear.
In diaries and biographies on Sergey Prokofiev (1891-1953,) references to Chicago and artists in Chicago, particularly Cleofonte Campanini, Konstantin Balmont, and Frederick Stock, arise many times. Prokofiev finished the composing of Piano concerto No.3 C major, op.26 in Chicago and premiered with Chicago symphony orchestra, conducted by Frederick Stock in December 16, 1921. There is evident that the atmosphere of Chicago and character itself, either directly or indirectly, influences Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.3. According to musical term that used in the Concerto, to play Prokofiev’s Concerto includes performance directions that reflect his experience of winter, feeling of energy, unpleasing townscape and critical disapproval of his concerts in Chicago.
In his life time, Prokofiev made several trip to Chicago, August 23, 1918 (September 5), November 18, 1918 (December 1), December 2, 1918 (December 15), October 31, 1920, and October 28, 1921.