Bach: Toccata in D minor
Mozart: Piano Sonata in C major
The Classical Period in Music History: 1750 to approx. 1825
– Shorter than other musical eras, yet most influential
– Age of Enlightenment
This new way of thinking was that rational thought begins with clearly stated principles, uses correct logic to arrive at conclusions, tests the conclusions against evidence, and then revises the principles in the light of the evidence.
– Industrial Revolution: growth in population and average income; technological development
– Ancient Greece and Rome as models for art and architecture
Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809, Austrian
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756-1791, Austrian
Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770-1827, German
– String quartet
– Solo instrument (flute, violin, cello, etc.) with piano accompaniment
– Strings and piano: trio, quartet, quintet
– Wind quintet
Important types of pieces:
“Absolute music” — not designed to tell a specific story. The music is about form and structure.
Theme & variations
Dance forms, esp. minuet (similar to a waltz)
Pieces of music are getting longer!
Vivaldi Violin Concerto “Spring:” ~10 min.
Haydn Trumpet Concerto: ~15 min.
Beethoven Piano Concerto no. 5: ~37 min.
Called “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet”
Began as a freelancer, nearly starved
1761: hired by Esterházy family
– Duties included: composition, running the orchestra, playing chamber music for and with his patrons, organizing operatic productions
1779: Contract renegotiated:
– Compositions previously property of the Esterházy family
– Now was permitted to write for others and sell works to publishers.
1790: Patron died; his son dismissed court musicians, but Haydn received a pension
Travelled to London and had success with his symphonies there
1795: Returned to Vienna, worked part-time for Esterházy family and part-time as freelancer
Examples of Theme & Variations:
My Favorite Things:
Haydn String Quartet opus 76 number 3: “Emperor”
Second movement: theme & variations
Haydn: Symphony No. 94 in G major (“Surprise”) 1791