Germany Music Part 9

Germany Music Part 9

The instrumental forms are fixed in common patterns: the theme is symmetrical in the quadrature of the eight bars, imposing this quadrature on the entire composition. What counts in the bitematic Sonata (ie with two contrasting themes) is not so much the elaboration as the theme itself. The dynamics and color are particularly valued and the crescendo effects are used extensively. This epoch of transition draws its strength especially from the art of JS Bach’s sons – on the one hand W. Friedemann and Ph. Immanuel (who last in his harpsichord sonatas lays the spiritual and formal foundations of Haydn’s richly developed sonata and Beethoven) on the other J. Christian (who exercised a great influence on Mozart with his typical “Allegro singer”) – and from the great center of the new instrumental style: that Mannheim school which, rich in Bohemian contributions Germanica (J. Stamitz, FH Richter, A. Filtz, J. Holzbauer), above his formal innovations (frequent use of crescendo and other colors, introduction of the Minuet in symphonic composition), ended up creating a true Sturm und Drang fueled by delicious spring freshness and a keen sense of nature.

Around the Mannheimers and the sons of JS Bach, Stamitz’s pupil, F. Beck, J. Schobert (probably the greatest of the pre-romantic German harpsichordists), K. Ditters von Dittersdorf (author of symphonies and quartets of descriptive intention), A. Rösler, M. Haydn and JG Albrechtsberger. Meanwhile, the German genre of the Lied is developingfor singing and harpsichord which, already living with Telemann and Görner, is cultivated in the Berlin of Frederick the Great by Ph. I. Bach, KH Graun, Germany Krause, J. Ph. Sack until reaching the most favorable conditions at the time of Klopstock, Goethe and Schiller, whose poems were set to music by Chr. Germany Neefe and JP Schulz, by JF Reichardt and KF Zelter; the latter two continued the activity of the Berlin group, while in Swabia a more popular tendency developed led by D. Schubart and JR Zumsteeg, author of ballads of the type later cultivated by Schubert and Schumann. Nor should we forget Gluck’s Lieder su odes by Klopstock, very famous in their time, that is, until the birth of Mozart’s and Beethoven’s Lieders.

Meanwhile, musical theater was reborn in the late eighteenth century: under English and French influences work A. Hiller, Neefe, Reichardt, A. Schweitzer and Germany Benda, initiators of a so-called Kleinkunst in which serious opera was left for smaller theatrical forms, suitable for the new bourgeois public. Other comic operas and fantastic comedies by FL Gassmann, Dittersdorf and Wenzel Müller open a way where Mozart will find The Magic Flute and his musical comedies. Another form loved by some of those masters (especially Germany Benda) and then cherished by Mozart was the monodrama (based on the melologist). The serious opera was moving towards national characters with A. Schweitzer, with I. Holzbauer, while N. Jommelli, T. Traetta and finally Chr. W. Gluck carried out the reform of the musical drama.

In the Gluckian drama – whose principle (triumphant for the first time in Vienna with the Orpheus on the text of the great collaborator and inspirer of Gluck, Ranieri de ‘Calzabigi) is that of the submission of music to poetry – the old dry recitative is replaced by an expressive declamation supported not by the harpsichord but by the orchestra; the Arias spring from the logical course of the drama, framed in great architectures of scenes; the choir summarizes an essential value and a character of ancient grandeur; the melody (not very varied at Gluck) rediscovers the purity of line and the intensity of expression that had long been overwhelmed by the virtuosic practice of the so-called “bel canto”. The great currents of modern theater represented by Cherubini, Spontini, Weber etc. derive from Gluck’s theater, of international significance.

According to, the variety of stylistic currents that had animated German instrumental music of the late eighteenth century, towards the end of the century, ends up merging into the broad and majestic style of the so-called Viennese school; style which remained, almost par excellence, the name of symphonic. Its main characteristics could be summarized in those of a very free thematic elaboration, in dialogue between the parties, outside of any rigor in the application of technical means (being able to occur mainly melodic-accompanied passages mainly, but always slightly, counterpoint); elaboration contained in the typical form of the Sonata and in the subordinate ones of the Lied instrumental, variation, minuet and rondo. This school, which represents the apogee of modern instrumental music, has remained – due to the wide architecture in whose clearly traced lines every impetus and every aspiration is ennobled and aesthetically explained – with the name of classical, and classics are called its three high representatives: J. Haydn, WA Mozart and L. v. Beethoven. At Haydn we find a keen sense of thematic elaboration, though still very light and free from great complexity, and – a fact intimately connected with this – a great thematic value of invention, of ideas; a rare balance between the areas of the composition, that is – in the sonata – between the period of exposure and the period of development (a balance that is not always achieved, for various reasons, by Mozart and Beethoven). With Haydn, moreover, the type of orchestra that is still the basis of the symphonic score can be said to be fully mature and efficient. Haydn has too often emphasized only the aspect of naive, almost rustic joy; an aspect which is certainly his most proper and personal but which should not make us forget the other significant ones: the calm religious expression and the singular acuity of his dialectic, truly worthy of a contemporary of the great German philosophers.

Germany Music 09

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