Baroque period part 2

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  • 1.Baroque Opera
    • A major development of the Baroque era was the opera
  • An opera is a drama or play that is sung to musical accompaniment
  • It is a fusion of music, poetry, acting, dance, scenery, and costumes
    • It is a theatrical experience offering overwhelming excitement and emotion.It remains a powerful form of musical theater today.

2. Baroque Opera

  • The creation of an opera involves a joint effort between a composer and a dramatist
  • Thelibretto , or text of the opera is usually written by the dramatist or librettist
  • A good opera plot cannot be sensible because people do not sing when they are feeling sensible

3. Baroque Opera

  • In opera, the characters are overwhelmed by love, lust, hatred, and revenge
  • They wear fantastic disguises and commit extraordinary acts of violence
  • Yet the music makes them human and real

4. The Aria (in Operas)

  • The main attraction for an opera fan is thearia
  • An aria is a song for solo voice with orchestral accompaniment
  • It is an outpouring of melody that expresses an emotional state
  • It usually lasts for several minutes and is meant also to show off the soloists singing abilities.

5. More than you wanted to know about opera:

  • Composers usually lead into an aria with a vocal line that imitates the rhythms and pitch fluctuations of speech
  • This spoken line is called therecitative
    • The words are sung quickly and clearly, often in repeated tones.

6. More than you wanted to know about opera:

  • Besides arias, the soloist in an opera will sing compositions for two or more singers: duets (for two singers), trios (for three), quartets (for four), quintets (for five), sextets (for six).
  • When three or more singers are involved it is called anensemble
    • In a duet or ensemble, the performers either face the audience or move through action that develops the plot
    • Each character expresses his or her own feelings
    • Conflicting emotions like grief, happiness, or anger can be projected simultaneously when different melodies are combined

7. More than you wanted to know about opera:

  • The nerve center of an opera in performance is theorchestra pit - a sunken area directly in front of the stage
  • An opera orchestra uses the same instruments as a symphony orchestra, but with a smaller string section
  • The orchestra not only supports the singers, but depicts mood and atmosphere
  • During the performance the conductor shapes the entire work, sets tempos, cues singers, and indicates dynamic changes

8. Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

  • One of the most important composers of the early baroque era
  • He created the operaOrfeo(Orpheus, 1607)
  • He Became music director at St. Marks cathedral in Venice, the most important church position in Italy
  • Monteverdi wrote music for church services and also for the public

9. Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

  • He wanted to create music with emotional intensity
  • To achieve this intensity, he used dissonances with unprecedented freedom and daring
  • He pioneered new orchestral effects to evoke angry or warlike feelings in his music
    • These effects include: pizzicato and tremolo
  • Eventhough only 3 of his 12 works were preserved, Monteverdi is considered the first composer of operatic masterpieces

10. Orfeo(Orpheus 1687)Monteverdis first opera

    • It is about Orpheus, the son of the god Apollo
    • He is very happy after marrying Eurydice, but his joy is shattered when she is killed by a poisonous snake
    • Orpheus goes down to hades (the underworld) hoping to bring her back to life
    • Because of his beautiful music, he is granted the privilege-on the condition he not look back at Eurydice while leading her out of hades
    • During a moment of anxiety, however, Orpheus does look back, and Eurydice vanishes.There is however a happy ending of sorts, Apollo pities Orpheus and brings him up to heaven, where he can gaze eternally at Eurydices radiance in the sun and stars.

11. Orfeo(Orpheus 1687)Monteverdis first opera

  • Act IIRecitative: Tu se morta (you are dead)
  • Monteverdi shows his mastery of the then new technique of the recitative
  • After Orpheus is told of the death of Eurydice he resolved to bring her back from hades
  • He bids an anguished farewell to the earth, sky and sun

12. Orfeo(Orpheus 1687)

  • Listen to:
  • Act IIRecitative: Tu se morta (you are dead)
  • His vocal line is accompanied by only a basso continuo played by a small organ and bass lute
  • The texture is homophonic
  • The accompaniment gives simple harmonic support to the voice

13. Orfeo(Orpheus 1687)

  • Monteverdi frequently uses word painting to get his message across
    • Words likestelle (stars)andsole (sun)are sung to climactic high notes, whereasabissi (abysses)andmorte (death)are sung to somber low tones
  • Using these techniques, Monteverdi makes Orpheuss passion come alive

14. Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

  • Is called the greatest English Composer
  • He mastered all the musical forms of his day
    • He wrote church music, secular choral music, and music for the stage
    • His only true opera wasDido and Aneneas(1869)which many consider the finest opera ever written to an English text
  • Few composers have equaled Purcells handling of the English language. Some of Purcells finest songs use a variation of the form found in many baroque works:aground bass.

15. Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

  • Often in baroque works a musical idea in the bass is repeated over and over while the melodies above it change
  • The repeated musical idea is called aground bassorbasso ostinato

16. Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

  • Dido and Aeneas(1689)
    • Act III Didos Lament
  • A melodic recitative accompanied by only the basso continuo sets the sorrowful mood forDidos Lament , the climax of the opera
    • The aria is built on a chromatically descending ground bass that is stated 11 times
    • Didos melody moves freely above this repeated bass creating touching dissonances with it

17. Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

  • Was one of the most prolific composers ever
  • He wrote 50 operas, 40 pieces for chorus and orchestra, and 100 works for orchestra alone
  • He also wrote over 500 concertos for solo instruments

18. Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

  • After he left the Priesthood his next job was at the Ospedale della Pieta (Mercy Hospital)
  • It was actually a school for illegitimate girls
  • He was their music teacher and composer
  • Whenever he had a student with talent, he would compose a concerto for her
  • All of Vivaldis concertos have 3 movementsThey are:FAST-SLOW-FAST

19. La Primavera(Spring),Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra, Op. 8, No. 1, fromThe Four Seasons

  • One of his most famous piece isThe Four Seasons
  • It is a set of four concertos for violin and orchestra
  • Each concerto is meant to evoke a feeling for each of the four seasons

20. La Primavera(Spring),Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra, Op. 8, No. 1, fromThe Four Seasons

  • Spring is full of bird songs, a quick thunderstorm with lightning, a sleeping goatherd complete with barking dog, dancing shepherds, and nymphs
  • Spring was as popular in Vivaldis time as it is today
  • Like most of Vivaldis concertos, Spring has 3 movements
      • 1. Fast,2. Slow, 3. Fast

21. La Primavera(Spring),Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra, Op. 8, No. 1, fromThe Four Seasons

  • Listen to:
  • First Movement: Allegro
    • Opens with an energetic orchestra ritornello depicting the arrival of spring.
    • Each of the ritornellos two phrases is played loudly and then repeated softly
    • After the ritornello, the movement alternates between extended solo sections containing musical tone painting and brief tutti sections presenting part of the ritornello theme

22. La Primavera(Spring),Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra, Op. 8, No. 1, fromThe Four Seasons

  • Listen to:
  • Second Movement:Largo e pianissimo sempre (very slow and soft throughout)
    • It uses only the solo violin and the orchestral violins and violas, omitti