The Classical Style
The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven is such a remarkable book which is written by Charles Rosen. It not only explicitly introduces many important aspects of Classical style, but also fully discusses the musical characteristics of those major Classical composers. Charles Rosen is smart enough to cover so much materials without overlapping or skipping any other crucial details so that it makes the whole book concise but refined.
The content is consisted with 7 parts. In fact, it could be divided into two main parts: The first and the second part are basically introducing the theoratical materials: such as tonality, form and structure, ect. While the third and the rest of the parts are simply focusing on three major composers and some of their outstanding works which are the representatives of the typical Classical Style.
In the both first parts of the Introduction and the second Chapter, they all deal with the same topic¡ªMusical Language. Speaking of the musical language of the Classical Style, Rosen tries to start talking about it since the late 18th century. In contrast to the constant spinning¡ªout of Baroque music, the new styles were periodic. Phrases were consequent, pairing. Rosen tells us more about it: Symmetrical melody in balanced phrases and cadences; meanwhile, they are quite tuneful and diatonic, with narrow leaps. For better illustration. Rosen gives many examples and detailed analysises. By talking about the musical language at the beginning, Rosen gives the readers a clear idea about the sound and tonality of the music in the Classical Style so that we could have a better thought to trace his ideas which are following in the rest of the chapters.
... interested with the production of classical pieces. He updated the pieces for an augmented harmonious language. Some of these are ... not only reflected, but also influenced the most notable musical trends of the twentieth century. The persisting significance came ... nationalities several times, but he also had many different styles of music. His compositions underwent exceptional transformations.His early ...
Obviously, according to the examples which he illustrates, no matter they are Haydn¡¯s quartets or Beethoven¡¯s symphonies, they all deal with the same kind of topics: textures and dynamisc. It seems Rosen is attempting to bulit up a strong point of views on the characteristics of the Classical Style by explaining the similarities out of those composers¡¯ music. It goes without saying that many new things were going on during this period. From the sample of Mozart¡¯s, we found out an individual and compact character of the new melody. It replaces the long lines and the figuration styles of Baroque. From the example that Rosen gives on Hayden¡¯s quartet: classical music generally shows a remarkable simplicity. For Beethoven¡¯s symphonies, we all see the great amd dramatic dynamic contrast and so on. Rosen is getting so much into the details and making the whole chapter explicit enough to let every reader learn his major idea about the whole thing of this chapter.
Moreover, Rosen thinks it is necessary to bring out a little bit about the early classical music and their pioneer composers who were the founders of the Classical Style. So, Czerny, J.C.Bach, Gluck and Stamitz are being metioned briefly as the Empfindsam style and Glant style are being brough up at the same time. It is important to notice those are the origins of the Classical Style, not only in terms of the music itself, but also the composers as well.
Furthermore, Rosen countinues completing the first big theoratical part by talking over the Sonata form. As we all notice that most of the Sonatas, symphonies, and chamber works in Classical period typically had three or four movements in related keys and contrasting moodes and tempos. According to what Rosen explains in the Classical Style, however, he is so smart to set up his point of views on the theories of form right before he introduces the general sonata form. By pointing out that the Classical form is move likely based on the motivic and themetic motives, Rosen is really making a good point and argument of his chapter so that it makes even more than clearer but convicing to convey his opinions on the sonata forms. Meanwhile, to make the thesis sound more convicing and go further building up his point of views, Rosen gives many unique examples on Mozart¡¯s Sonatas, symphonies and some of Haydn¡¯s and Beethoven¡¯s works. They not only demonstrate how perfect the sonata form fits into the Classical music, but also help Rosen establish a stronger, better point of views on the topic of form.
... . This sonata dates 1789, almost ten years after Jungfemquartette ... Sonata is one of the Haydn's later Keyboard sonatas. This is written in a period that Haydn had reached its mastery in the sonata form ... idea of mixing themes in the developing section of the sonata form. In his own words, this was a new and a ...
In order to reinforce his unique point of view, Rosen sticks with sonata form and tonality by focusing a couple outstanding quartetes when he finally gets to the subject of Haydn. There is nothing in music finer than the best Haydn string quartets. In his op 20. No.4, Haydn was near the fully developed sonata form with one important exception: most of his sonata-form movements are really monothematic, the ¡°second theme¡± a variation of the opening theme in a new key. While in op.33, he gives a more developed equalizing of the four instruments and a heightened thematic logic, the melodies made up of contrasting motivic elements that are fragmented in the development section and then reassembled in the recapitulation. These details are all being carefully demonstrated by Rosen in this chapter.
Interestingly, when Rosen talks about Haydn¡¯s symphonies, he spents a great deal of portion to elaborate the relationship between Haydn and Mozart. Maybe that is why he writes the title on ¡°Haydn from 1770 to the death of Mozart¡±. Obviously, Mozart gave a huge impact and influence into Hayden¡¯s music. Especially, Mozart¡¯s opera music gives plenty inspirations to Haydn to compose his early symphonies. As we know, in Haydn¡¯s earlier works, he introduces more startling dramatic contrasts, richer harmonies, more distant modulations, and more counterpoint. Increasingly, each symphony has unique features that mark it as an individual.
Rosen is always so cohesive that he does not forget to metion a little background of the opera in the Classical period before the brings out the subject of Mozart. As a transition of two different chapters, Rosen brifely gives a comparison on the serious opera to the related music from the Baroque style and even Romantic period. He not only establishes his point of views from the tonal relationship, but also from the angle of ethic and art.
... the history of Western music" (New Grove... ). Mozart wrote in different styles of his day: opera buffa, or comic Italian opera (The marriage of Figaro ... a child prodigy and his style essentially represents a synthesis of many different elements. Unlike his contemporaries Haydn and Beethoven, "he excelled ...
It is very noteworthy that Rosen said: ¡° Mozart¡¯s most signal triumphs took place where Haydn had failed: in the dramatic forms of the opera and concerto, which pit the individual voice against the sonority of the Mass.¡± Rosen is using a large amount of papers to discuss about Mozart¡¯s concerto which he particularly addresses on the tonal relations modulations and melody ect. Harmonically, as Rosen observes, constrasting themes occur in the dominant or the relative major; the exposition ends in that key; the development is likely to bring much modulation; and the recapitulation will stress the tonic. However, in Mozart¡¯s concept of the concerto they are equals is frequently sharing of themes. On the other hand, the second biggest contribution of Mozart is his comic opera. Rosen keeps talking over the ¡°Figaro¡± and focusing on the techniques which Mozart makes his comic opera being comic but with elegance. Rosen is able to address on Mozart¡¯s couple famous comic opera such as ¡°Figaro¡± and ¡°Don Giovanni¡± ect, especially, he focuses on the tonality and the form quite a lot in order to prove that Mozart¡¯s operas are greater than contemporary Italian operas. By giving the readers these kind of imformations and examples, we learned the great success of Mozart¡¯s comic opera is because of the greatness of his music and its importance to the dramatic work; is because of Mozart¡¯s great melodic genius, and because of his ability in character delineation.
Although Rosen has already used large portion to discuss Haydn¡¯s music, he goes further discoving Haydn¡¯s late works from different angel¡ªpopular style. As Rosen emphsizes in the entire whole chapter about the melodies and the skills that Haydn used in his London Symphonies, we notices that Rosen is talking about the folk character inside the London Symphonies. Without any doubts, folk character appears in some later symphonies very often especially takes place in the finale and minuets. Nevertheless, nor do all the minuets have a folk-like, popular flavor, many give the impression of being abstract, symphonic music which merely preserves rhythmic and formal features of the earlier type. Because Haydn¡¯s music fits most of the people¡¯s taste without losing its classy and serious musical elements that is why Rosen calls it popular style. Besides, his piano music and the church music are taking important roles in his huge musical repertory.
... deepened experience of the music of Bach and Handel. Operas of the Vienna Years Mozart's evolution as an opera composer between 1781 and ... 1780. In 1785, he published the six Quartets dedicated to Haydn (K. 387, 421, 428, 458, 464, and 465), and in ... from an early age to an unusual variety of musical styles and tastes across the Continent. Salzburg and Italy, 1766-1773 ...
It is worth noting, instead of restating the music history throughout the entire book, Rosen always associates with the tonality and form with those major composers in order to make a good comparison out of it and built up a stronger argument to support what is the Classical Style all about.
As a transitional composer between Classical style and Romantic style, Beethoven truly has his own specialty and freshness that reveal through his music. Beethoven is not only good at using tonic-dominant relationship, but also producing a sententious moral earestness that many people have found repellent. In Beethoven¡¯s music, chromaticism is used for color rather than modulation. A wider dynamic range includes such favorite Beethoven effects as a sudden pianissimo after a fortissimo. While the third movement usually is a scherzo, simple and regular in form but with the characteristic drive and light humorous quality that the name implies. The tonal qualities, the expressive characteristics of the piano suited his personality, and therefore his musical style, especially remarkable and rare.
In short, the Classical Style is such a great book that not only helps us on studying the classical music, but also is a wonderful book that has pretty fun to read.