Chapter 8: Prelude: The Late Baroque Period

Key Terms
• • • • baroque absolutism Age of Science theatricality

Late Baroque Timeline

Late Baroque Period (c. 1700–1750)
• Age of Absolutism
– decreasing power of church – rise of absolute monarchs (Louis XIV) – pomp and splendor (Versailles)

• Age of Science
– development of scientific methods and technology – new theories about the natural world – advent of empiricism

Art and Absolutism
• royal patronage of arts
– courts throughout Europe imitated France – rules vied with each other through art

• art’s political function
– to reflect and symbolize the majesty of the state – to stupefy with its grandeur

The Music of Absolutism
• music required for court life
– to pay homage to nobles – to play for ceremonies – to entertain at banquets and balls

• opera closely associated with courts
– expensive, spectacular entertainment – allegorical tributes to noble patrons

A Golden Age of Theatre
• Baroque obsession with emotional extremes • all arts take on a dramatic quality
– theatre: Shakespeare, Corneille, Racine – art: Tiepolo, Guercino, Rembrandt – music: invention of opera

Science’s Impact on the Arts
• painting
– scientific observation  detail and perspective – optics  attention to light

• architecture
– symmetry and geometry grandeur and scale of Versailles – regulation of nature  formal gardens

• theater
– mathematics and machinery  Bibiena’s set designs

Science’s Impact on Music
• • • • • scales tempered more precisely more systematic use of harmony new regularity in rhythm orderly formal schemes emotions (affects) analyzed and classified

Musical Life in the Late Baroque Period
• composer as artisan
– producing a made-to-order craft for patrons – music often anonymous in character

• three main institutions for music
– church – court – opera house

Church Composers
• composed or improvised new music for worship • played and led performances • provided elaborate works for special occasions • trained choirboys • responded to increasing desire for keyboard, chamber, even orchestral works

Court Composers
• employee of the court, producing music to order • had to be prolific • enjoyed secure existence • could travel and encounter new trends

Opera House Musicians
• supported by the public (paid admission) • solo singers were the stars • composers wrote and rewrote music to show off singers’ talents • composers often conducted their operas from the harpsichord