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History of Western Music Final--Composers

Terms in this set (93)

- March 1, 1810 - October 17, 1849
- a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist
- widely considered one of the greatest Romantic piano composers
- a renowned child prodigy, he grew up in Warsaw and completed his music education there; he composed many of his mature works in Warsaw before leaving Poland in 1830 at age 20
- most of Chopin's works are for solo piano, though he also wrote two piano concertos, a few chamber pieces and some songs to Polish lyrics
- his piano works are often technically demanding, emphasizing nuance and expressive depth
- Chopin invented the instrumental ballade and made major innovations to the piano sonata, mazurka, waltz, nocturne, polonaise, étude, impromptu, scherzo and prélude
- used a lot of chromaticism and counterpoint
- Chopin was the first to write ballades and scherzi as individual pieces; he took the example of Bach's preludes and fugues and essentially established a new genre with his own Préludes
- he reinvented the étude, expanding on the idea and making it into a gorgeous, eloquent and emotional showpiece, and he used his Études to teach his own revolutionary style - for instance playing with the weak fingers (3, 4, and 5) in fast figures (Op. 10, No. 2), playing in octaves (Op. 25, No. 10), and playing black keys with the thumb (Op. 10, No. 5)
- Over 230 Chopin works survive; all his known works involve the piano, and only a few range beyond solo piano music, as either piano concertos or chamber music
- 59 mazurkas
- 27 études (twelve in the Op. 10 cycle, twelve in the Op. 25 cycle, and three in a collection without an opus number)
- 27 preludes
- 21 nocturnes
- 20 waltzes
- 18 polonaises, including one with orchestral accompaniment and one for cello and piano accompaniment
- 5 rondos
- 4 ballades
- 4 impromptus
- 4 scherzos
- 4 sets of variations, including Souvenir de Paganini
- 3 écossaises
- 3 piano sonatas
- 2 concerti for piano and orchestra, Op. 11 and 21
- Johannes Brahms (7 May 1833 - 3 April 1897) was a German composer and pianist
- spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene
- he is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the "Three Bs"
- Brahms composed for piano, chamber ensembles, symphony orchestra, and for voice and chorus
- A virtuoso pianist, he premiered many of his own works; he worked with some of the leading performers of his time, including the pianist Clara Schumann
- His music is firmly rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the Baroque and Classical masters.
- He was a master of counterpoint and of development
- aimed to honour the "purity" of these venerable "German" structures and advance them into a Romantic idiom, in the process creating bold new approaches to harmony and melody
- many contemporaries found his music too academic
- Brahms maintained a Classical sense of form and order in his works
- A German Requiem was partially inspired by his mother's death in 1865
- worshipped Beethoven
- Brahms's First Symphony bears strongly the influence of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, as the two works are both in C minor, and end in the struggle towards a C major triumph
- The early Romantic composers had a major influence on Brahms, particularly Schumann, who encouraged Brahms as a young composer
- also influenced by Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Chopin
- Brahms wrote settings for piano and voice of 144 German folk songs, and many of his lieder reflect folk themes or depict scenes of rural life.
- His Hungarian Dances were among his most profitable compositions.
- influenced Dvorack and Schoenberg who respected Brahms's fondness for motivic saturation and irregularities of rhythm and phrase
• Impressionism (Russian influences in French Music)
• Teaches Von Meck's kids in Switzerland in the summers which changed the history of music. She sends his work to Tchaikovsky who then influences Debussy to use Russian music in French music and creates Impressionism
• France and Prussia are at war. Did away with anything German. Strong nationalism.
• Debussy decided to use Russian music as the future for French music. Looks for new styles until he develops impressionism
• Preludes of the Afternoon of a Faun
• No consistent meter, folk rhythms which often are oddball rhythms, mixed meters, except you don't hear a steady beat in this piece.
• Free rhythmically, flows.
• Harmony- use scales other than western scales, whole tone, pentatonic - no sense of major, minor, tonic, key, etc. No form.
• Thrown out a lot of basics of historical tradition. Timeless.
• Picks chords you can't associate easily. Lots of color created in a free type of harmony and rhythm, allowing him to go farther than previous color composers.
• Waves- a prelude, Debussy named all of his preludes (like tone poems). All notes are part of whole note or pentatonic scale.
• Estampes- medieval dance. Took the term, but it has nothing to do with the 3 pieces. Each piece has something to do with Spain. Each one is a tone poem for piano with varying effects.
• Orchestral nocturne- "Clouds"- represent the fluid nature of clouds. Very peaceful.
• 3 movement of tone poem "le mer"- exciting, filled with emotion and motion. Not at all Germanic in sound. Based on the things the Russians did.
• Wrote an opera without arias. Entirely impressionistic, including the story .
• Writes a string quartet in G early in his career
• WWI, writes a series of sonatas moving beyond impressionism, innovative. He also becomes a father and worships his daughter.
• Grasshopper doing the cakewalk- song for kids, key and chords with a taste of impressionism
• Peliéas et Mélisande (opéra)
• (1840-1893)
• most prominent Russian composer of the 19th century; both in Russia and in the West
• First student at the St. Petersburg Conservatory (Anton's conservatory) and became the professor of composition at Nikolay's conseratory.
• Open minded internationalist composer.
• synthesizes national and international philosophies; combined his Russian heritage with influences from Italian opera, French ballet, and German symphony and song
• composed for ballets
• 4th symphony
• Hears trumpet calls in the barracks and dedicates it to his patron. Very loud and very bombastic intro, writes in sonata form due to his western training. Resembles Beethoven's sonata pathetique in the intro comes back
• Uses unusual instruments
• Military trumpets act as a unifying piece in the movement to let you know where you are in the piece.
• Second movement, not using whole tone scales and ploychords- straight forward western. Very Russian, oboe solo creates a unique sound.
• 3rd movement is unique- A section is al strings B al winds then A then mix in coda. Final movement- loud crashing descending scale with variations3/6. Typical scherzo form, balalaika.
• Von Meck was patron for over 13 years on the condition that they never met. Inaugurated Carnegie Hall
• 1875 reads play Eugene Onegin by Pushkin. About a playboy whose best friend from an aristocracy in a young village is getting married. Bride's sister falls in love with Onegin. She writes a love letter. Onegin tells her hes too suave for her and she becomes insulted. Same thing happens to Tchaikovsky and a female student, so he has an affair with female student, realizes hes gay, and has a nervous breakdown.
• Symphony pathetique- depressing 1st movement. 2nd movement—beautiful melody in 5/4
• composed 8 operas: Eugene Onegin; The Queen of Spades
• composed 3 ballets- Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker (written by E.T.A. Hoffmann)
• composed 6 symphonies; 2 piano concertos; a violin concerto; symphonic poems and overtures (Romeo and Juliet; 1812 Overture); and chamber music (3 string quartets) and songs
• Operas are performed constantly
• 3rd movement of string quartet #1: Andante cantabile. Intimate music with famous melody. Mixed meter in 2 and 3; links to nationalistic style
• took part in the inauguration ceremonies for New York's Carnegie Hall in 1891
- Prokofiev and Shostakovich were the 2 leading Soviet composers of the 20th century
- (1891-1953)
- had a reputation before 1918 as a radical modernist; he combined dissonance with motoric rhythms
- left Russia after the Revolution and spent almost 20 years living and touring in North America and western Europe; returned to Russia in 1936 based on promises of commissions and performances from the Soviet regime
- wrote many pieces for films and ballets
- wrote "Peter and The Wolf" (1936) in response to the Soviet's demand for high-quality children's music
- P. reworked most of his theatrical pieces and film scores into concert works; the orchestral suites he drew from Romeo and Juliet and Lieutenant Kije were among his most popular works
- his repertoire of works conformed to socialist realism (using a realistic style [no abstraction, expressionism, or symbolism] in works that portrayed socialism in a positive light; music with relatively simple, accessible language, centered on melody, often drawing on folklike styles, and used for patriotic or inspirational subject matter)
- used Russian sounds: Russian guitars, bells, brass, and percussion
- WWII brought a relaxation in gov't control, and P. turned to absolute music in classical genres (the Piano Sonatas Nos. 6-8, 1939-44;the Fifth Symphony, 1944); these works are largely tonal with unexpected harmonic juxtapositions and alternations of dryness, lyricism, and motoric rhythms
- after WWII, authorities again cracked down in a 1948 resolution that condemned Prokofiev's works as "formalist"; he never achieved success for his work after the crackdown
- Russian 20th century composer; 1882-1971
- one of the most influential composers of all time
- started as a Russian nationalist and became a cosmopolitan
- Russian Period: contained his most popular works: the ballets "The Firebird" (1910), "Petrushka" (1910-11), and "The Rite of Spring (Le sacre du printemps)" (1911-13); all were commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes in Paris; FIREBIRD: based on Russian folk tales, stems from the Russian nationalist tradition and from the exoticism of Rimsky-Korsakov, humans = diatonic music, supernatural creatures and places = octotonic or chromatic realms; PETRUSHKA: contains his characteristic blocks of static harmony with repetetive melodic and rhythmic patterns and abrupt shifts from one black to another, each group of dancers gets its own distinctive motif, thematic interruption, and a juxtaposition of diverse textures (like Musorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov); uses Russian, French, and Viennese melodies and heightens their differences; the "Petrushka Chord"; THE RITE OF SPRING: showcases his distinctive style, an imagined fertility ritual set in prehistoric Russia where a young girl is chosen for sacrifice and must dance ehrself to death, used PRIMITIVISM, the audience at the premier was shocked and riots ensued, later it became one of the most popular compositions of its time; each pulse is played with the same strength (negating beats vs offbeats), accented chords destroy any feeling of metrical regularity, a reduction of meter to pulsation was the element that conveyed primitivism, instead of motivic development Stravinsky uses repetition, unpredictable variation, and changes in timbre (learned from Glinka and R-K)
- Neoclassical Phase: Stravinsky had an epiphany while reworking a number of Pergolesi pieces that affected all of his furture works; in 1920 he completed "The Symphonies of Wine Instruments" which applied the methods from Rite of Spring to an entirely abstract piece; NEOCLASSICISM: a broad movement from the 1910-1950s in which composers revived, imitated, or evoked the styles, genres, and forms or pre-Romantic music, esp. that of the 18th century, then called Classic/"Baroque"; S. applied his distinct style to the classics to become "cosmopolitan"; S. has a more anti-Romantic tone; prefers absolute music to program music; SYMPHONY OF PSALMS (1930) - an objective rather than emotional sound palette; NEOTONAL; audiences found Stravinsky's neoclassical works easier to play and follow than Schoenberg's 12-tone pieces (like Brahms vs. Wagner)
- Serial Period: SERIAL MUSIC - music based on a series of 12 pitches that has been extended; S. adapted serial techniques in his music from 1953 on; "In Memoriam Dylan Thomas" (1954) - uses 5 notes; "Threni" (1957-8); "Movements" (1958-9); all use juxtaposed blocks, disrupted meter, and other S. traits, but the pitch content is increasingly chromatic; Stravinsky's STYLISTIC MARKERS allowed him to be recognizable no matter what genre of music he was playing
(1908-1922)
- the most important French composer born in the 20th cent.
- studied organ and composition at the Paris Conservatoire, was organist at St. Trinite in Paris from 1931 on, and became professor of harmony at the Conservatoire in 1941
- taught Boulez, Stockhausen, and Ton de Leeuw
- devout catholic; composed many pieces on religious subjects
- "Quatour pour la fin de temps": Quartet for the End of Time; for violin, clarinet, cello, and piano; written in a German prison camp in 1940-41 to be performed by Massaien and 3 fellow prisoners
- "Vingt regards sur l'Enfant-Jesus": Twenty Looks at the Infant Jesus, 1944; for piano
- "Saint Francis of Assisi": opera; 1975-83
- "Turangalila-symphonie" (1946-48)
- "Catalogue d'oiseaux" (1956-58); Catalogue of Birds; for piano
- his works typically present an experience of concentrated meditation on a few materials; rather than writing themes, he juxtaposes static ideas (like Debussy and Stravinsky)
- wrote down birdsongs in musical notation and used them in several compositions
- MODES OF LIMITED TRANSPOSITION: collections of notes, like the whole tone and octotonic scales, that do not change when they are transposed by certain intervals; these scales lack the differentiation of diatonic scales so they don't create a strong need for resolution (ideal for static blocks)
- treats rhythm as a matter of DURATION, not meter; meter is internalized in the human body, duration is in the realm of time, ruled by the divine; "medieval isorhythms"
- uses cyclic pitch and rhythmic repetition to inspire the feeling of contemplation
- used ADDED VALUES: like dotted eighth notes; produces irregular note lengths
- NONRETROGRADABLE RHTHYMS: rhythms that are the same backwards and forwards; palindrome rhythms; symbolize the eternal, that which exists out of time