This is intended to be a study guide for those taking Music Appreciation this year. You will find the musical periods along with the composers we have studied, a few facts to jog your memories, and one piece that you should be able to recognize. Your handouts from class have detailed biographies that you can review.
Baroque composers (1600-1750)
The ‘Red Priest’
Taught at a school for girls in Venice
Known for his Concertos…which established the three part pattern of fast, slow, fast
Piece to know… Spring, part of the Four Seasons.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Orphaned and sent to live with his brother
Instrument of choice was the organ
At the top of each piece he composed were the words…’in the name of the Lord’ or ‘to the glory of God alone’.
He had 2 marriages (his first wife died) and 20 children.
Mozart once said of Bach…’He is the father of all music.”
Piece to know Bouree
George Frederick Handel
His father wished him to become a lawyer and was very opposed to Handel pursuing music. However, he was a child prodigy who was discovered by the Duke of Weissenfel when Handel accompanied his father to his home on business. After that his father consented to music lessons.
After traveling to England he decided he wanted to become an English subject
Developed the Oratorio, s short opera that tells a Bible story
The Messiah is his most famous Oratorio. When King George II heard the “Hallelujah Chorus” for the first time, he stood, beginning a tradition. The Messiah was performed for charities during Handel’s lifetime.
Piece to know, the Hallelujah Chorus.
Classical Period (1750-1820)
Franz Joseph Haydn
His talent was recognized when he was quite young and at 6 he was sent away to study music
He spent 30 years of his life working in the court of the Esterhazys. This allowed him a great deal of freedom
He is known as the ‘Father of the Symphony’ composing over 100 during his life.
He was a close friend of Mozart
Piece to know, The Surprise Symphony, 2nd movement.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
His sister, Maria Anna (Nannerl), was also quite talented and their father would tour with the 2 children.
As a child Mozart played in the courts of Austria, France, and England.
For a period of time he worked for an Archbishop, but was very unhappy because he wanted to compose his own music.
He contrived to get himself fired…and them moved to Vienna.
He lived most of his life in poverty.
Piece to know, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Ludwig Van Beethoven
His father was an alcoholic, and Ludwig had to support his mother and brothers. At 11 he worked as an organist.
He had a volcanic temperament and free spirit that made it difficult to work with.
For a time he studied with Haydn
He broke from the patronage system, and published his music, which allowed people across Europe to hear it.
He went deaf, and still continued to compose.
Piece to know, The 5th Symphony.