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Thread: Classical Music

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cantus Firmus View Post
    The classical period is called "classical" in reference to classical antiquity, the Greeks and Romans. A similar use can be found in "classical architecture." It denotes a period of music history, and more particularly the style of music that was popular at the time. Characteristics such as balance, elegance, and refined simplicity predominated, as a cultural reaction to the highly ornamental style of the Baroque period.
    Not only. It's not that simple because:

    (A) Bach, Vivaldi and Haendel are sometimes considered to be the last Baroque composers

    (B) Many Baroque works weren't especially "ornamented". Take for instance Buxtehude and Pachelbel (for the Germans), or Charpentier and Lully (French and Italians).

    Besides, "classical architecture" rather refers to the period of Louis the XIVth, the gardens of Le Nôtre or the palace of Versailles, which were erected several decades before 1730.

    ----

    I'd rather postulate that the rupture between the Baroque and Classical period, musically speaking, is caused by the invention of the Equal Temperament for all instruments, and it is exemplified in Couperin and Bach works. Before them, the temperaments were always relative, especially during the Renaissance era which saw the almost exclusive use of meantone temperaments.

    To hear that musical rupture, you can try for instance "les Barricades mystérieuses" of Couperin, that you may have already heard in Terrence Malick's Tree of life:



    Or, of course, "Das wohltemperierte Klavier" of Bach. (Self explanatory title, isn't it? )
    Here is the world famous first prelude and fugue (BWV 846) played by Sviatoslav Richter -I prefer this interpretation to Gould's-

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    Yes, it's a simplification. There was a transitional period between what we like to call Baroque and what we like to call Classical. The early Baroque of Caccini and Monteverdi was significantly different from the late Baroque of Bach and Handel, but it still gets lumped together in categories. I didn't mean to imply that all music from the Baroque period was overly ornamental, just that there was a significant shift between the eras, on the whole.

    I'd also point out that Baroque art and architecture pre-date Baroque music as well. They are historians' labels, not rigid definitions.
    ----

    Interesting postulation. Certainly the equal temperament allowed for more flexibility in modulations and key relationships, which form an integral part of Classical and Romantic compositional forms. The development of woodwind keys also would have played a parallel role. Still, I don't know that I would see those as the primary cause for the change between periods. The style galant was popular even during the high Baroque, and that is where the roots of the Classical period were laid. That said, I haven't researched the transition in great depth.
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    It seems many people here don't like Mozart.

    Just like it has already been suggested, I think they should try to hear some of his less "mainstream" works. @Mole said Mozart only composed music, and this is true in the way that Mozart was a "natural" composer, who could translate almost effortlessly and almost instantly his current emotional state into music. It's exactly like if music was his first, "natural" language, before his native tongue, German. Thus, I'd consider his more intimate works not only to be his best works, but also the most revolutionary.

    Take for instance his Fantasias, either the one in D minor (K397) or the other in C Minor (K475). They follow no pre-ordered structure, it's impossible to guess what will be next, it's totally unpredictable. And you have those sudden silences. All the deep conflicts that permeated Mozart's mind are here... a deep sadness and melancholy followed by the recollection of joyful moments spent with his mother, and all, in less than 5 minutes. It's exactly like if we were following Mozart's own complex stream of thoughts, it's like being directly linked to his mind.

    Nobody ever made music like this before. The first persons that heard that were astounded, if not perplexed. It's like a continuous improvisation with sudden key changes every thirty seconds, but put to an incredible degree of sophistication, richness and inner variations.

    And nobody ever made music like this after him, even if Beethoven tried several times to imitate his genius sometimes.

    ----

    Here is the version played by that dear Claudio Arrau and his famous "velvet paw"...



    Or the fantasia in D minor (by Walter Gieseking), one of the most disturbing and surprising piece of music ever written...




    I have memories of my father playing both of them on the piano. I also tried it, but playing Mozart is way more difficult than it seems: despite the relatively slow pace, each note has to be played perfectly; the paradox is that the fast movements are comparatively easier to interpret. And you have to be in the mood for it, because of the huge emotional content. Playing Mozart can leave you exhausted, not something I could do everyday or on command.
    Last edited by Blackmail!; 12-14-2013 at 04:44 PM.
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cantus Firmus View Post
    Interesting postulation. Certainly the equal temperament allowed for more flexibility in modulations and key relationships, which form an integral part of Classical and Romantic compositional forms. The development of woodwind keys also would have played a parallel role. Still, I don't know that I would see those as the primary cause for the change between periods. The style galant was popular even during the high Baroque, and that is where the roots of the Classical period were laid. That said, I haven't researched the transition in great depth.
    Well... the style galant is a transitional form... and sometimes you can perceive what music will become next during the pre-romantic era.

    Take for instance "La Pothouin" of Duphly (here interpreted by Alexandre Tharaud, probably the most gifted contemporary pianist, if not one of the most eccentric) :



    During a few minutes, it seems fairly normal and repetitive. And then suddenly, at 3:00, it changes completely. What do you think?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Well... the style galant is a transitional form... and sometimes you can perceive what music will become next during the pre-romantic era.

    Take for instance "La Pothouin" of Duphly (here interpreted by Alexandre Tharaud, probably the most gifted contemporary pianist, if not one of the most eccentric) :

    ...

    During a few minutes, it seems fairly normal and repetitive. And then suddenly, at 3:00, it changes completely. What do you think?
    I was unfamiliar with Duphly before. I'll have to look into his music. Honestly, I'd like to hear that on harpsichord, because I think the sound of the piano lends it a more Romantic quality than you'd get from the harpsichord—that and the interpretation is rather Romantic as well. I do agree that it sounds like something taken out of the Romantic, but it also fits within earlier periods. Sometimes dividing history into discrete chronological units hides the unity over time, even though those historical units help us to understand the way things change over time.
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  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cantus Firmus View Post
    Interesting postulation. Certainly the equal temperament allowed for more flexibility in modulations and key relationships, which form an integral part of Classical and Romantic compositional forms. The development of woodwind keys also would have played a parallel role. Still, I don't know that I would see those as the primary cause for the change between periods. The style galant was popular even during the high Baroque, and that is where the roots of the Classical period were laid. That said, I haven't researched the transition in great depth.
    The development of the fortepiano probably influenced musical style as well. With the harpsichord, the only way to obtain more volume was to play more notes, often elaboration on the straightforward melodic or harmonic structure. The ability to vary dynamics by touch provided alternatives, which only expanded with the advent of the modern piano.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    The development of the fortepiano probably influenced musical style as well. With the harpsichord, the only way to obtain more volume was to play more notes, often elaboration on the straightforward melodic or harmonic structure. The ability to vary dynamics by touch provided alternatives, which only expanded with the advent of the modern piano.
    Definitely an influence! Dynamic variation is such a key aspect of Classical style, though the harpsichord did remain prominent well into the early Classical period. I guess my biggest point was that the development of music was and is complex, and it can't be summed into a single cause. There were many parallel developments that converged into a recognizably different norm.

    It's exciting to see so many classical music enthusiasts on a typology site.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cantus Firmus View Post
    Definitely an influence! Dynamic variation is such a key aspect of Classical style, though the harpsichord did remain prominent well into the early Classical period. I guess my biggest point was that the development of music was and is complex, and it can't be summed into a single cause. There were many parallel developments that converged into a recognizably different norm.

    It's exciting to see so many classical music enthusiasts on a typology site.
    The obvious question is whether interest in classical music is type-related. I'm sure it's been asked, but the answer escapes me.

    As a keyboard player, the evolution of keyboard instruments was the first thought that occurred to me. Harpsichords are really fun, when I can get my hands on one.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    The obvious question is whether interest in classical music is type-related. I'm sure it's been asked, but the answer escapes me.

    As a keyboard player, the evolution of keyboard instruments was the first thought that occurred to me. Harpsichords are really fun, when I can get my hands on one.
    They are indeed! I get my hands on a digital harpsichord whenever I want, which is pretty nice. Some day I will own my own harpsichord. Although a fortepiano would be an interesting alternative...
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  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanton Moore View Post
    You have no idea what your talking about.

    Bach wrote the soundtrack for the Church.

    And Beethoven wrote the soundtrack for the Bourgeoisie.

    While Mozart wrote music.



    The above is poetry.

    It is three lines of poetry.

    And the only response to a poem is another poem.

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