Composers MH3

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Composers MH3
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2010-12-04 18:51:27
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  1. Vincenzo Bellini
    Vincenzo Bellini (1801-35)

    • musical family, patron sponsored his education
    • 1st opera in 1824, total of 10 serious operas
    • “aristocrat” of Italian opera - refined, elegant


    • T: Norma
    • G: Italian serious opera
    • C: Bellini
    • N: Italian
    • D: 1831
    • SF:

    • Casta diva (Chaste goddess) still divided into cavatina-cabaletta (standard by 1830s)
    • but cavatina had evolved into slow, sustained, melodious section, sometimes with choral interjections
    • this bel canto cavatina style influenced Chopin’s nocturnes
    • Recording with Maria Callas, controversial soprano who helped revive bel canto opera during 1950’s-60s, after long period of neglect
  2. Hector Berlioz
    • HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-69) radical romantic composer
    • b. French provinces, father an MD, taught HP flute
    • HB later self-taught guitarist, but never a virtuoso, except as conductor
    • 1822 HB sent to MD school in Paris, but quit (memoirs)
    • 1824 HB began composition studies
    • 1825 1st major work, “messe solonelle” (HB supposedly destroyed it, but found in 1990s)
    • 1830 HB won Prix de Rome, competition for composers winner receives 4 yrs. in Rome, all $$$ paid

    Composed Symphony Fantastique
  3. Georges Bizet
    Georges Bizet (1838-75)

    • born Paris, France
    • Parents professional musicians
    • GB a piano prodigy
    • age 8: entered Conservatoire
    • age 17: operas, incidental music, piano music
    • Symphony in C
    • age 19: Prix de Rome
    • Died months after Carmen “flopped”


    Carmen
  4. Johannes Brahms
    • Johannes Brahms (1839-97)
    • b. Hamburg, Germany
    • • Father played contrabass in local orchestra
    • • Quickly progressed with local piano teacher
    • • Heard by Eduard Marxsen, famous pedagogue, whoaccepted him on scholarship.
    • • 1840s-50s worked as pianist, wrote for piano.
    • Played in taverns, not brothels as once thought,
    • Toured with famous Hungarian violinist, Eduard Remenyi, someties
    • adopted Hungarian idioms
    • • Mentored by the Schumanns (NZfM essay “New Paths” – Brahms was
    • future of German music)
    • JB, a conservative romantic, used classical forms, edited early music,
    • wrote little program music; BUT Schoenberg recognized JB’s progressive
    • side
    • JB is identified with “absolute music” -= “pure” instrumental music,
    • “free of” EMAS, instead emphasizes objective formal properties and
    • abstract expressive content.

    • Piano Quintet in F minor
    • Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90
  5. Anton Bruckner
    Anton Bruckner (1824-96)

    • born Austrian provinces (AB always provincial)
    • trained with father and at Catholic monastery as school teacher and organist
    • continued studies longer than necessary (lacked confidence as composer)
    • focused on church music early in career
    • 1865, met Wagner, a powerful influence
    • 1868, appointments at Vienna’s Conservatory and University, focused on symphonies


    Bruckner’s Sacred Music

    • masses, Te Deum, many motets (choral settings of Latin devotional texts, a capella or with modest instrumental accompaniment, usually 1 mvmt)
    • Bruckner was devout Catholic, studied music of Renaissance masters, JS Bach


    • Christus factus est (Christ was obedient)
    • Symphony No. 4 in Eb Major (“Romantic”)
  6. Frederick Chopin
    Frederic Chopin (1810-49)

    • b. near Warsaw, Poland
    • educated with sons of Polish aristocrats at school where his French-born father taught
    • Prodigy as pianist and composer, formal music education at Warsaw Conservatory
    • 1829, 1831 gained international fame with concerts in Vienna
    • Revolution in Poland prevented his return
    • he settled in Paris, spent remaining career there
    • Chopin tired on concertizing, played often in salons (semi-private gatherings of intellectuals, interested in politics, high society, the arts

    • suited Chopin’s “intimate” style of piano playing
    • known as “Ariel of the piano” after Shakespeare

    1838: met novelist Aurore Dudevant, aka George Sand, early feminist, masculine persona

    They vacationed at her estate in central France and on island of Majoroa, where Chopin’s health began its long deterioration from tuberculosis



    All of Chopin’s music involves the piano mostly solo, less w. orchestra, few chamber and songs

    His works can be divided into “poetic” and “heroic”

    • Nocturne in Db Major Op. 27 no. 2
    • Polonaise in Ab Major Op. 53
  7. Franz Liszt
    Franz Liszt

    • b. Raiding, Hungary, German speaking family
    • Talent discovered early by amateur cellist father
    • studied in Vienna with Salieri (compostion) and Czerny (piano, LvB’s student)
    • toured as prodigy, settled in Paris
    • French became his primary language
    • greatly influenced by French romanticism
    • awed by Paganini (violin) and vowed to duplicated Italian violinist’s virtuosity on the piano


    Like Paganini, Liszt created scandals:

    1834: he and Countess Marie d’ Agoult “eloped” to Switzerland

    3 children, including Cosima, later Wagner’s wife

    1839-47: Liszt made unprecedented tours of Europe

    • hundreds of programs in 170 cities, 1st in Hungary
    • established modern piano recital
    • solo; piano positioned as now
    • old and new music memorized
    • “Lisztomania” = modern rock-star status



    • “Un Sopspiro” (A Sigh), from 3 concert etudes (study pieces)
    • Les Preludes
  8. Felix Mendelssohn
    • Felix Mendelssohn, 1809-1847
    • b. Berlin, Germany
    • intellectual Jewish banking family
    • 1816 converted to Protestantism, adding Christian name, Bartholdy
    • Felix & sister Fanny (1805-1847) were prodigies
    • tutored in arts, languages, sciences
    • both composed, conducted, played piano & violin
    • close siblings, he died months after her sudden stroke
    • 1836 FM founded conservatory in Leipzig, conducted Gewandhaus orchestra
    • Felix studied & performed music of the past, unusual for early 19th cent. musicians (more below)
    • Thus Mendelssohn is a “conservative” romantic (essay-progressive? conservative? traits)
    • used sonata cycle, traditional forms & tonality
    • but also used romantic innovations, as in

    • Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream
    • Elijah
  9. Giacomo Meyerbeer
    Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864)

    • born Berlin, Jakob Liebman Beer
    • Young piano virtuoso, wrote operas in Germany and Italy by 1824
    • Dominated French stage, beginning with Robert le Diable and its scandalous ballet of ghostly nuns
    • German court appointment, but composed for Paris


    Les Huguenots
  10. Modest Musorgsky
    • born Karevo (army, civil service)
    • largely self-taught
    • little recognition during lifetime
    • died of acute alcoholism
    • now admired for unorthodox, non-westernized musical language

    Boris Gudonov
  11. Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)
    - born Pesaro, Italymusical family (studied theory, multiple instruments)1st opera at age 16; 32 more by age 30so successgull called the “Napoleon of Music”1824, rare failure caused Rossini to move to Paris (2 more operas)retired at age 37, wrote songs, chamber and religious worksThe Barber of Seville
  12. Franz Schubert
    Although notable precedents existed, FS transformed 18th C folk-like song into art songs

    Fl chose poems by serious authors, notable Johann Woflgang Goethe (1749-1832) KNOWWN IN HIS 20S AS THE German Shakespeare (Da Vinci more accurate: scientist, diplomat, botanist

    • Nahe des Geliebten (Heaness of the Beloved)
    • Der Lindenbaum (The Linden Tree) from Winterreise (winter Journey, Müller)
    • Gretchen am spinnrade (Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel) from Goethe’s Faust
    • Quintet in A major, D. 667 (“Trout”)
    • Symphony No. 8 in B minor (“Unfinished”)[“symphony, oh symphony, never finished”-lyrics]
  13. Robert Schumann
    Zwickau, eastern Germany


    • father was a bookseller - Schumann always interested in literature, wrote short stories, poems, and literature influenced his career as music critic and composer
    • 1st serious music studies at Leipzig University; Friedrich Wieck, famous pedagogue

    • promised to make RS a virtuoso
    • but RS injured his hand because of finger weight lifting

    RS the became music critic and composer

    • co-founded the Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik (The New Journal for Music)
    • 19th century’s leading music periodical
    • focused on promoting new music and new composers, not judging performances
    • some of RS’s reviews take the form of conversations among imaginary characters

    • Florestan = extroverted, impulsive side of RS
    • Eusebius = introverted, dreamy side of RS
    • Maestro Raro = pedantic (Wieck)
    • These and other characters belonged to a “League of David” who fought against the

    • Philistines = those with narrow, conventional. views, esp. on culture and aesthetics (philosophy of art)
    • RS also depicted these “characters” in some of his piano “pieces” of the 1830s





    • Carnaval
    • Dichterliehe (A Poet’s Love)

    • In wunderschonen Monat Mai (In the wonderful month of May)
    • Ich grolle Nicht (I won’t complain)

    Symphony No. 3 in Eb Major, Op. 97 (“Rhenish”)
  14. Peter Tchaikovsky
    Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93)

    • Admired Kuchka’s use of folk materials, but not Balakirev’s anti-western
    • career very different
    • born mining town, in Rural Mountains
    • studied with Western oriented Anton Rubinstein in St. Petersberg
    • then taught at new COnservatory in Moscow
    • career as virtuoso pianist, supported by Nadezhda von Meck, secretive patron


    Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 (Pathetique)
  15. Giuseppe Verdi
    Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)

    • born near Parma, northern Italy
    • child prodigy, educated as church musician thanks to local patron
    • 1832, denied admission to Milan Conservatory because he was too old
    • 1839, 1st opera (Oberto) produced at Teatro alla Scala (=ladder, named for interior rungs) architectural style influenced opera houses throughout world
    • Oberto’s success led to more commissions including one that made Verdi nationally famous


    • Nabucco
    • La Traviata (The Fallen Woman)
  16. Richard Wagner
    Richard Wagner (1813-83)

    • changed 19th-century operatic conventions (all countries)
    • changed basic harmonic/motivic style (all genres); very chromatic
    • born in Leipzig, Germany; theatrical family
    • as a child, studied piano but better at writing plays (later wrote all his own opera libretti)
    • until 1848, worked as a conductor and arranger and composed in various national operatic styles
    • after participating in Dresden Uprising (1849), Wagner was banished to Switzerland, ceased composing
    • wrote book-length theoretical essays (eg. Opera & Drama) formulating conventions of the MUSIC DRAMA (see handout)
    • Ideals realized at Bayreuth Festspielhaus (Festival Playhouse), modeled on Greek amphitheater; only Wagner works performed there; funded by King Ludwig of Bavaria (“Mad”)


    Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold)
  17. Carl Maria von Weber
    • born in North Germany
    • from prominent musical family related to Mozart
    • studied with Michael Haydn (FJH’s brother)
    • piano virtuoso, pioneer of baton conducting
    • revered as the founder of German Romantic Opera (see handout)

    Der Freischutz (The Free Shooter)
  18. Mily Balakirev
    the “Kuchka” = Mighty Handful or Might 5 (5 composeres who rejected Western ties)

    Leader: Mily Balakirev (1837-1910)

    • professionally trained in Moscow
    • but mistrusted systematic musical education
    • instead, championed nationalism
    • in politics : desire to promote autonomy of national, regional, or ethnic group
    • in music : adopt language, speech rhythms, folk materials/subjects, for operas/program music
  19. Sebastian de Yradier
    Bizet borrowed melody by Sebastian de Yradier (1809-65) for Carmen
  20. Eusebius
    • introverted, dreamy side of Schumann; seen in his character pieces
    • introverted dreamer, nebulous cross rhythms, unusual rhythmic subdivisions = reverie
    • Carnaval
  21. Florestan
    • impulsize extrovert, music suddenly changes tempo, range, dynamics (dance-like)
    • Carnaval
  22. Mikhail Glinka
    • founded a distinctive Russian tradition
    • used Russian subjects, folk or folk-like materials
  23. Johann Wolfgang Goethe
    Schubert chose poems by serious authors, notable Johann Woflgang Goethe (1749-1832) KNOWWN IN HIS 20S AS THE German Shakespeare (Da Vinci more accurate: scientist, diplomat, botanist

    Gretchen am spinnrade (Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel) from Goethe’s Faust
  24. Lamartine
    Liszt’s Les Preludes: program related to poem by Lamartine; “double function form” resembles both sonata form and sonata cycle
  25. Clara Schumann
    • Friedrich Wieck raised his daughter Clara (1819-96) to be a piano virtuoso (she debuted and toured by age 11)
    • But in 1835 she and Robert became engaged (she was 16)
    • Wieck refused parental permission, fearing for Clara’s career
    • CW and RS prevailed in ugly court proceedings
    • married one day before her 21st birthday
    • impending marriage affected Robert’s career

    at Clara’s urging, Robert tackled larger genres

    wrote Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 17
  26. Harriet Smithson
    • Berlioz falls in love & becomes obsessed with lead actress, Harriett Smithson
    • 1833 HB & HS marry, one child, then separate
    • Berlioz Heard music when he thought of his wife, melody that is present throughout SF
  27. Frederick Wieck
    • promised to make RS a virtuoso
    • but RS injured his hand because of finger weight lifting
    • Maestro Raro = pedantic (Wieck) [one of Schumann’s characters]

    • Friedrich Wieck raised his daughter Clara (1819-96) to be a piano virtuoso (she debuted and toured by age 11)
    • But in 1835 she and Robert became engaged (she was 16)
    • Wieck refused parental permission, fearing for Clara’s career
    • CW and RS prevailed in ugly court proceedings
    • married one day before her 21st birthday

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