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Cherubini - A Near Great Composer Extremely Influential On Beethoven To Mid 19Th Century

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Many of you are familiar and write well in the early 19th century Romanticism style, but the source of this was Cherubini in his operas. Cherubini came up with three key expositions - that is you have three key areas as the primary material is presented  in the exposition of a work.  A famous exmple is Schubert's late Quintet which has C minor, E flat major, and G major in the exposition. Of course late Mozart and even in Haydn they range oall over the place at times (sometimes to the point the material is entirely chromatic) but these are only temporary modulations to a key that is not established.  And french opera was already showing some preogressive strains under Gluck but even Mendelssohn said the first half of the 19th century in Western art music is indebted to Cherubini.

 

Interesting thing is as composers such as Beethoven and later Schubert caught onto Cherubioni's innovation and his style was out of favor due to the new leader of France (yes politics play a huge role in art!) he retired to be a counterpoint teacher at the new Paris Conservatory and became stylistically conservative. But it wasn't until I took a good grad level music history/analysis course that this was made clear. So, it illustrates in a way the danger of worshipping the canonically accepted "great" composers.

 

 

Here are a few links to his opera overtures.

 

Medee (1797)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vvwSMgcZTE

 

Der Wassertrauger (1801)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsrYbDxFoiM

 

Late work of his Requiem in D minor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqDutniURP4

 

Unfortunately he was a pretty poor teacher and his opera output in quality and amount fell off - though he praised Mendelssohn (he rarely praised musicians, he said of Beethoven's late works it made him sneeze)

 

Here is a history probably taken from Grove - http://www.theodora.com/encyclopedia/c/maria_luigi_carlo_zenobio_salvatore_cherubini.html

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I think it's amazing how the accepted canon has taken over to the point that anything outside of it is virtually unknown. I wasn't really aware of Cherubini or his influence myself but I'll be sure to have a listen now.

 

I think even good grad programs can get these things wrong though. I'm a grad student myself. It seems to be taken as a given sometimes in musicology seminars that program music didn't exist before the 19th century when this just isn't true. I don't know if you've ever heard of Heinrich Biber? He was a 17th century composer who was way ahead of his time. In this piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9DJpaxT7wg, he uses Ives-esque polytonality to mimic the sound of a soldiers' camp, with lots of different folk melodies in different keys being played against each other out of sync. He also attempts to represent arrows being shot in the music. Quite amazing considering the date it was written. As with Cherubini, it just goes to show that you shouldn't take the standard history of music as gospel.

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Yup do know Biber.  Also introduced some wild string techniques that were revived in the late 20th century such as placing paper between the strings on a violin.   In fact a good thread that might be educational is to have people add similar "near greats" who were very influential on more famous composers. I'll add Wagenseil who was one of the early to mid century 18th century symphonists who had a profound effect on Haydn  and in some ways Mozart.

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       I went to a music camp that had "classes" in the actual universities for young people(ages 13-18) . So you can imagine my knowledge of music history in certain periods of music isn't as advance as yours. I just know basic outlines and the well known composers. So anyways I remember the "teacher" said there's an argument when the romantic period started. They say 1810 or 1819 or when beethoven's ninth symphony came out(1822-1824). However I like this argument because it is safe to say this was the early influence or the beginning of the period that would eventually spread across the western world in music. Since it's known that things were slower back then , therefore it took longer for everyone to know of these "new" things,ideas, or beliefs. 

     I also remember learning how politics played a role in music back then. I found 19th and 20th century music changing those roles as well. Since a lot of the music back then were commissioned by the royal courts of europe,  whomever was the favorite composer would get the most recognition. Then in the 19th century you had the downfalls of a lot of monarchies. Therefor I can definitely see even small remnants of favoritism in music by leaders playing a role in music back then more then you see today. I don't really recall anyone caring who obama likes but everyone sure hell cares about  what magazines , mtv, tv in general , web sites , advertisements ( remember being bombarded with kreyshawn "gucci gucci" ads on youtube) or any media for that matter recommends now.

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The roots of Romanticism started with CPE Bach overall but his style is so idiomatic to say it was early Romanticism, it is simply CPE Bach.    When you get to late Mozart (about 1787) you hear already early characteristics of the style of Schubert.  In some cases with Mozart his music gets so chromatic to suggest early 20th century (much like late Bach is harmonically and contrapuntally as ambitious as Wagner and beyond).   The full onset of the Romantic period really was in the 1790's, you can hear it in Haydn's Op 76 Quartets already and some of Clementi's Sonatas.  Finally, Rameau in his ORIGINAL manuscripts incorporated a ton of harmonic daring which he later revised to make more palatable for French audience (for example removing diminished chords here and there).

 

I tend to think of musical styles as cyclical where form and chromaticism grows for period (for example late Lassus in 16th and Gesualdo in early 17th) and then is reformulated (monteverdi) and simplified (Schutz's late works) before another cycle resumes (again we can argue with late Bach and some Vivaldi).  

 

But here are a few links:

 

CPE Bach (very much of the Sturm and Drang of this time) - 1756, only composer doing similar harmonic exploration might have been Rameau (who died in 1750).  But we do here where Haydn, mozart, and early Beethoven got their ideas!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mmvr50lXBc

 

 

Mozart Gigue written about 1787

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQvzXirNzJk

 

 

JS Bach 6th Partita for keyboard

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijFIBPN5mro

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