The Classical Era (1730-1810)

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    Pietro Metastasio

    He was a court poet in Vienna. He was the primary librettist for opera seria in the late Baroque and Classical periods. He set the standard for opera style in about 1750.
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    Giovanni Battista Sammartini

    He is credited with inventing the symphony in Milan, Italy.
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    Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    He was the eldest son of J. S. Bach. He was the primary composer of the Empfindsamkeit style. He worked in Berlin for Frederick the Great as the chamber harpsichordist.
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    Christoph Willibald Gluck

    He was a composer of lyric dramatic opera. He brought about the operatic reform in Italian operas.
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    Charles Burney

    He was an organist, amateur composer, writer, and music scholar. He traveled around Europe writing down everything he heard and saw giving us a lot of information about the time. All of his books are considered primary sources.
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    Franz Joseph Haydn

    He was credited as the primary mover concerning instrumental music of the classical era. On of the most original and inventive composers. He started as a choirboy in Vienna, but was kicked out at 16 and was homeless for a while. He was eventually hired by the Esterhazys.
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    Johann Schobert

    He simulated orchestra effects in his harpsichord writing.
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    J. C. Bach

    He wrote Italian operas, church music and orchestral works. He used beautiful melodies and some chromaticism in his writing style. He also used contrasting themes in his concertos and sonata-form movements.
  • Symphony

    Invented by Giovanni Battista Sammartini. It is one of the new genres to emerge in the Classic Era. It originally contained only 3 movements, but quickly a fourth movement (the minuet) was added in Mannheim, Germany.
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    William Billings

    One of the first American composers. He made a living as a tanner, a leather maker. He taught himself to compose and it shows.
  • String Quartet

    It was invented by Franz Xaver Richter. It is a prestigious chamber music genre and appealed to aristocratic social life. It consists of two violins, a viola, and a cello and they are all considered equal. It is considered one of the most important chamber genres. It follows the general outline of a symphony with four movements. Haydn is considered the father of this genre even though he did not invent it.
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    Antonio Salieri

    One of the successful court composers in Vienna. He was very popular and talented. He composed many operas in Italian, German, and French.
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    Maria Anna Mozart (Nannerl)

    She was Mozart's older sister and is described as equally talented and skilled as her brother. She toured with Mozart and their father as a child. Her father said she was one of the most skillful players in Europe at age 12. Mozart wrote several works for her after she retired and even sent her his piano cadenzas to play and critique.
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    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    He and his sister were child prodigies and taken on tours of Europe as young children by their father. At age 16 he "worked" for Archbishop Colloredo's court in Salzburg, but he was unpaid and the third concertmaster. That was the longest he ever worked for someone because his ego was so huge. His favorite genre to compose was opera.
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    Maria Theresa von Paradis

    She was an excellent pianist and organist. She is renowned for her remarkable musical memory; it is said she could have 60 concertos memorized at one time. She was also blind. Sadly most of her music is lost.
  • Opera Buffa

    It is serious with a few comic elements. It used more realistic characters and serious topics than previous comic operas. Specifically Italian opera. Founded by Niccolo Piccinni.
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    Industrial Revolution

    It made mass production possible. It shifted our nation's economic focus from agriculture to big industry and factory work.
  • The Present State of Music in France and Italy

    This is one of the books written by Charles Burney. It gives us information about what music was like at this time in France and Italy.
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    The American Revolution

    The American colonies gained independence from Great Britain and began building their own country.
  • Piano

    While most pianists today point the pianoforte being invented in 1700 by Bartolomeo Cristofori in Florence, the first patented version was in London in 1777. The coloring of the keys is the opposite of what it is now and there were a few less octaves than what we have now.
  • Piano Concerto in G Major, K. 453

    Mozart wrote 27 piano concertos, mostly for himself. This one however, was written for his student Babette (Barbara von Ployer). He wrote one other concerto for her.
  • Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)

    Composed by Mozart and a libretto by da Ponte. It is his first mature opera buffa. It was based on a play that had been banned in France because of how it depicted royalty. It includes one of the most sung mezzo-soprano arias "Voi, che sapete".
  • Don Giovanni

    This was considered the best opera ever composed. Composed by Mozart with a Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. Opera Buffa
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    The French Revolution

    The citizens of France sought to change the relationship between the people and their rulers. It ended with many of the monarchs beheaded.
  • Die Zauberfloete (The Magic Flute)

    Composed by Mozart. It is a singspiel, which is the German equivalent of an opera buffa. This is one of the most famous operas and includes one of the most famous arias sung by the Queen of the Night (which was actually written for Aloysia Weber who Mozart was originally hoping to marry). He believed an aria should be tailored toward the singer.
  • Symphony No. 100 in G Major (Military)

    Composed by Haydn. It is one of the London Symphonies. It used trumpet fanfares and Turkish military instruments. He plays with expectations and the idea of returning musical themes. He then surprises everyone with the Janissary elements.
  • Die Schoepfung (The Creation)

    One of Haydn's most important and last oratorios. His last public appearance was also to a performance of this in 1808.
  • Valved Trumpet

    For many years, the trumpet just had holes to be covered up. Anton Weidinger invented a trumpet that used similar keys to woodwind instruments, however it did not catch on, and shortly after, the valved trumpet was invented.