Classical Music Talk

October 31, 2009

Italian classical music

Filed under: Uncategorized — classicalconnect @ 5:48 am

The popular Italian composer Rossini who lived in 19th century was inspired at the beginning of Bellini, Donizetti, and then, of course, for the last fifty years of the century by Giuseppe Verdi, the great icon of Italian musical history, one of the great classical music composers. It is also the inspired moment in the career of Giacomo Puccini, perhaps the greatest composer of melody pure in the history of Italian music, and certainly the last. Puccini is the bridge to the age of the new music of the 20th century. Romanticism was a secular and intellectual movement in the history of ideas that originated in the late 18th century Western Europe. … Humanism is a broad category of active ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on our ability to determine what is right using the qualities innate to humanity, particularly rationality. Romanticism in the entire European music certainly remains through the centuries. In Italy, the music of Verdi and Puccini dominated for a certain number of years. Other Italian composers, romantic, or at least composers who continued to compose in theClassical Music tonal tradition of Western classical music opposed to dissonance and atonality. The 20th century list of composers includes Arrigo Boito, Ruggiero Leoncavallo, Pietro Mascagni, Francesco Cilea, and Ottorino Respighi. Atonality describes music that is not conforming to the system of tonal hierarchies, which characterizes the sound of classical music between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. We can’t forget Henry Boito (February 24, 1842 – June 10, 1918) was an Italian poet, writer and composer, best known today for his libretti for opera and his own opera, Mefistofele. Ruggiero Leoncavallo (March 8, 1857 — August 9, 1919) was another great Italian opera composer. Pietro Mascagni (December 7, 1863 – August 2, 1945) is one of the most important Italian opera composers of the late 20th century. Francesco Cilea (Palmi, near Reggio Calabria, 26 July 1866 – Varazze, near Savona, 20 November 1950) was an Italian composer, whose early success was not sustained, as taste in music changed. Ottorino Respighi (born in Bologna, July 9, 1879, died in Rome April 18, 1936) was an Italian composer and musicologist. Who can forget his Pini di Roma, considered one of the masterpieces of the Roman Trilogy of symphonic poems along with Feste Romane and Fontane di Roma. Each movement portrays the location of pine trees in the city during different parts of the day.

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October 29, 2009

Romanticism in European music

Filed under: Uncategorized — classicalconnect @ 5:43 am
Classical Music

classical music

From early 1700 to the end of the century, we can talk about what historians and musicians call “classical music“. (The use of the term “classic” doesn’t correspond to what people mean when they spoke about “classical music“, i.e., all symphonic music and opera, as opposed to “popular music”.)

The term “classic” is appropriate for this period of music evolution, as this is the great time that marks the standardization of musical forms like the symphony and concerto. The term “classical” is used in the Renaissance sense. It designates the classical Greek philosophy, the Platonic form, the great idea that things like beauty exists eternally as an ideal, and that the work of the artist, in this case, the work of the composer, is making than ideal comes real. A symphony is a standard work in four movements for orchestra, as we already know; it is an piece of music for orchestra and includes different movements.

This is the period when the awesome opera houses in Milan and Naples have been built: the beautiful and unique La Scala and the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. This is the age of the Italian-Neapolitan opera buffa. This is the time when the composers are trying to find a balance between text and music in opera. The San Carlo is a famous opera house in Naples, Italy.

Italy has accepted, however, a romantic tradition of music in the early 20s. Composers such as Arrigo Boito, Leoncavallo, Pietro Mascagni, Francesco Cilea, and Ottorino Respighi are anchoring their music in the previous century. We can include Arrigo Boito, Leoncavallo, Pietro Mascagni, Francesco Cilea, and Ottorino Respighiin the same cathegory. But then, after World War 1 and the death of Giacomo Puccini (1924), the entire Italian music has become more European and less distinctly Italian. This is the moment of a important modern composers such as Luciano Berio, Luigi Dallapiccola, Carlo Jachino, Gian Carlo Menotti, Jacopo Napoli, Goffredo Petrassi and Ildebrando Pizzetti.

19th Century is the century of Romanticism in European music, art, and literature. Romanticism in music is characterized by many of the same characteristics that define century literature and painting: a reduced attention to the formality of Classicism, greater involvement of human feelings, like love, heroism, courage, freedom, all a direct consequence of the French Enlightenment humanism. Italian opera tends to leave the thoughtlessness of the comic opera for the more serious charge of Romantic Italian opera.

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