Composers of the 18th & 19th Century

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Detailed descriptions of composers ranging from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods.

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Composers of the 18th & 19th Century : 

Composers of the 18th & 19th Century

Baroque Composers : 

Baroque Composers Claudio Monteverdi His work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the music of the Renaissance to that of the Baroque. The path from his earliest canzonettas and madrigals to his latest operatic work exemplifies the shifts in musical thinking that took place at that time.

Baroque Composers : 

Baroque Composers Antonio Vivaldi Nicknamed il Prete Rosso ("The Red Priest"), Vivaldi was a Venetian priest and Baroque music composer, as well as a famous virtuoso violinist. The Four Seasons, a series of four violin concerti, is his best-known work and a highly popular Baroque piece.

Baroque Composers : 

Baroque Composers Henry Purcell An English Baroque composer, Purcell has often been called England's finest native composer. Purcell incorporated Italian and French stylistic elements but devised a peculiarly English style of Baroque music.

Baroque Composers : 

Baroque Composers George Frideric Handel His most famous works are Messiah, an oratorio set to texts from the King James Bible; Water Music; and Music for the Royal Fireworks. Strongly influenced by the techniques of the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the English composer Henry Purcell, his music was known to many significant composers who came after him.

Baroque Composers : 

Baroque Composers Johann Sebastian Bach He was a German composer and organist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity. Although he introduced no new forms, he enriched the prevailing German style with a robust contrapuntal technique, an unrivaled control of harmonic and motivic organization in composition for diverse musical forces, and the adaptation of rhythms and textures from abroad. A revival of interest and performances of his music began early in the 19th century, and he is now widely considered to be one of the greatest composers in the Western tradition.

Baroque Composers : 

Baroque Composers Johann Pachelbel He was a German Baroque composer, organist and teacher, who brought the south German organ tradition to its peak. He composed a large body of sacred and secular music, and his contributions to the development of the chorale prelude and fugue have earned him a place among the most important composers of the middle Baroque era. Today, Pachelbel is best known for the Canon in D, the only canon he wrote.

Classical Composers : 

Classical Composers Joseph Haydn He was one of the most prominent composers of the classical period, and is called by some the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet". Haydn's development of both musical forms helped provide the basis for the fuller structures of Beethoven and other composers who would follow. His notable symphonies include Farewell (no. 45), Surprise (no. 94), and Hen (no. 83).

Classical Composers : 

Classical Composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart He was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. His more than 600 compositions include works widely acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music, and he is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers.

Classical Composers : 

Classical Composers Ludwig van Beethoven He was a crucial figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music, and remains one of the most respected and influential composers of all time. Beethoven is remembered for his powerful and stormy compositions, and for continuing to compose and conduct even after he began to go deaf at age 28. Celebrated works include: “Moonlight” Sonata, Fur Elise, and the Third ("Eroica"), Fifth, and Sixth ("Pastoral") Symphonies.

Romantic Composers : 

Romantic Composers Franz Peter Schubert Franz Peter Schubert was among the first of the Romantics, and the composer who, more than any other, brought the art song to artistic maturity. During his short but prolific career, he produced masterpieces in nearly every genre, all characterized by rich harmonies, an expansive treatment of classical forms, and a seemingly endless gift for melody.

Romantic Composers : 

Romantic Composers Franz Liszt He was a Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist and teacher. Liszt became renowned throughout Europe for his great skill as a performer; to this day, many consider him to have been the greatest pianist in history. He was also an important and influential composer, a notable piano teacher, a conductor who contributed significantly to the modern development of the art, and a benefactor to other composers and performers.

Romantic Composers : 

Romantic Composers Richard Wagner He was a German composer, conductor, theater director and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or "music dramas", as they were later called). Unlike most other great opera composers, Wagner wrote both the scenario and libretto for his works. He transformed musical thought through his idea of Gesamtkunstwerk ("total artwork"), the synthesis of all the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, epitomized by his monumental four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Romantic Composers : 

Romantic Composers Frédéric Chopin A Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic period, Chopin is widely regarded as the greatest Polish composer, and ranks as one of music's greatest tone poets. The bulk of his reputation rests on small-scale of works: waltzes, nocturnes, preludes, mazurkas, and polonaises. These works link poetically expressive melody and restless harmony to high technical demands.

Romantic Composers : 

Romantic Composers Hector Berlioz Berlioz, the passionate, ardent, irrepressible genius of French Romanticism, left a rich and original oeuvre which exerted a profound influence on nineteenth century music. He was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande Messe des morts (Requiem). Berlioz made great contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation and by utilizing huge orchestral forces for his works.

Romantic Composers : 

Romantic Composers Giuseppe Verdi An Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera, Verdi was one of the most influential composers of Italian opera in the 19th century. His works are frequently performed in opera houses throughout the world and, transcending the boundaries of the genre, some of his themes have long since taken root in popular culture.

Romantic Composers : 

Romantic Composers Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky One of the Russian composers known as “The Five”, Mussorgsky was an innovator of Russian music. He strove to achieve a uniquely Russian musical identity, often in deliberate defiance of the established conventions of Western music. He is best known for Night on Bald Mountain.

Romantic Composers : 

Romantic Composers Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky He was a Russian composer of the Romantic era. While not part of the nationalistic music group known as "The Five", Tchaikovsky wrote music which was distinctly Russian: plangent, introspective, with modally-inflected melody and harmony. Tchaikovsky wrote some of the most-recognized melodies of Romantic music, and his ballet The Nutcracker endures as a winter holiday favorite.