Jacopo Peri, 1561-1633

Peri

Selected Recordings

Tu dormi e’l dolce sonno

Al canto, al ballo, all’ombra

Dunque fra torbide onde (madrigale)

Selected Sheet Music

“Nel puro ardor” from Euridice

Euridice

Source: CPDL.org

Showcase Piece

L’Euridice (complete version)

Notes and Commentary

Jacopo Peri was an Italian composer and singer of the transitional period between the Renaissance and Baroque styles, and is often called the inventor of opera. He wrote the first work to be called an opera today, Dafne (around 1597), and also the first opera to have survived to the present day, Euridice (1600). In the 1590s, Peri became associated with Jacopo Corsi, the leading patron of music in Florence. The two of them believed contemporary art was inferior to classical Greek and Roman works, and attempted to recreate Greek tragedy, as they understood it. Their work added to that of the Florentine Camerata of the previous decade, which produced the first experiments in monody, the solo song style over continuo bass which eventually developed into recitative and aria.

Peri and Corsi brought in the poet Ottavio Rinuccini to write a text, and the result, Dafne, though nowadays thought to be a long way from anything the Greeks would have recognised, is seen as the first work in a new form, opera. Rinuccini and Peri next collaborated on Euridice. This was first performed on October 6, 1600, at the Palazzo Pitti. Unlike Dafne, it has survived to the present day (though it is hardly ever staged, and then only as an historical curio). The work made use of recitatives, a new development which went between the arias and choruses and served to move the action along.

Peri produced a number of other operas, often in collaboration with other composers, and also wrote a number of other pieces for various court entertainments. Few of his pieces are performed today, and even by the time of his death his operatic style was looking old-fashioned when compared to the work of relatively younger reformist composers such as Claudio Monteverdi. Peri’s influence on those later composers, however, was large. He lived from August 20, 1561, to August 12, 1633.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

Books and Music

Selected Books

Orpheus in the Marketplace
Harvard University Press, 2013
Richard A. Goldthwaite and Tim Carter
$38.77 on Amazon

Orpheus

“Richard Goldthwaite, an economic historian, and Tim Carter, a musicologist, have done much more than write a biography: their investigation exposes the remarkable value of Peri’s private account books and other financial documents as a primary source for an entire period. This record of Peri’s wide-ranging investments and activities in the marketplace enables the first detailed account of the Florentine economy in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and also opens a completely new perspective on one of Europe’s principal centers of capitalism.”—From the book description at Michael Shamansky, Bookseller

Selected Music

Euridice-2 Euridice (2000), 2-CD set

zazzerino Il Zazzerino (1999), 1 CD

opera omnia Opera Omnia I: Madrigali (2010), 1 CD

More Jacopo Peri music

Complete Works

Dafne, with Jacopo Corsi
L’Euridice, with Jacopo Corsi
La Flora, with Marco da Gagliano
Other operas
Other pieces for court entertainments

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Heinrich Schütz: Notes and Commentary

“Heinrich Schütz was Germany’s most significant composer before the age of Bach and Handel. He represents the transition between not only two epochs but also two cultures.”—David Ewen, The Complete Book of Classical Music

Schütz was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach and often considered to be one of the most important composers of the 17th century along with Claudio Monteverdi. He wrote what is traditionally considered to be the first German opera, Dafne, performed at Torgau in 1627, the music of which has since been lost.

Schütz’s compositions show the influence of his teacher Gabrieli (displayed most notably with Schütz’s use of polychoral and concertato styles) and of Monteverdi. Additionally, the influence of the Netherlandish composers of the 16th century is prominent in his work. His best known works are in the field of sacred music, ranging from solo voice with instrumental accompaniment to a cappella choral music. Representative works include his three books of Symphoniae sacrae, the Psalms of David, the Sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz (the Seven Last Words on the Cross), and his three Passion settings.

Schütz’s music, while starting off in the most progressive styles early in his career, eventually grew into a style that is simple and almost austere, culminating with his late Passion settings.

He was one of the last composers to write in a modal style. His harmonies often result from the contrapuntal alignment of voices rather than from any sense of “harmonic motion”; contrastingly, much of his music shows a strong tonal pull when approaching cadences. His music includes a great deal of imitation, but structured in such a way that the successive voices do not necessarily enter after the same number of beats or at predictable intervallic distances.

Schütz’s writing often includes intense dissonances caused by the contrapuntal motion of voices moving in correct individual linear motion, but resulting in harmonic tension. Above all, his music displays sensitivity to the accents and meaning of the text, which is often conveyed using special technical figures drawn from musica poetica, themselves drawn from or created in analogy to the verbal figures of classical rhetoric.

Beyond the early book of madrigals, almost no secular music by Schütz has survived, save for a few domestic songs (arien) and no purely instrumental music at all (unless one counts the short instrumental movement entitled “sinfonia” that encloses the dialogue of Die sieben Worte), even though he had a reputation as one of the finest organists in Germany.

Schütz was of great importance in bringing new musical ideas to Germany from Italy, and as such had a large influence on the German music which was to follow. The style of the North German organ school derives largely from him. A century later this music was to culminate in the work of J.S. Bach. He lived from October 18, 1585, to November 18, 1672.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

Heinrich Schütz Books and Music
More on Schütz
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Heinrich Schütz: Complete Works

The following are major published works. Access complete list on Wikipedia. There are more than 500 surviving pieces in all.

  • Il primo libro de madrigali (first book of madrigals) (opus 1, Venice, 1611)
  • Psalmen Davids (Book 1) (opus 2, Dresden, 1619)
  • Historia der … Aufferstehung … (The Resurrection) (opus 3, Dresden, 1623)
  • Cantiones sacrae (opus 4, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1625)
  • Becker Psalter (opus 5, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1628, revised 1661)
  • Symphoniae sacrae (Book 1) (opus 6, Venice, 1629)
  • Musikalische Exequien (opus 7, Dresden, 1636)
  • Kleine geistliche Konzerte (Book 1) (opus 8, Leipzig, 1636)
  • Kleine geistliche Konzerte (Book 2) (opus 9, Leipzig, 1639)
  • Symphoniae sacrae (Book 2) (opus 10, Dresden, 1647)
  • Geistliche Chor-Music (opus 11, Dresden, 1648)
  • Symphoniae sacrae (Book 3) (opus 12, Dresden, 1650)
  • Zwölf geistliche Gesänge (opus 13, Dresden, 1657)
  • Historia, der … Geburt … Jesu Christi (The Nativity), (Dresden, 1664)
  • Königs und Propheten 119er Psalm … (Psalm 119, Psalm 100, and German Magnificat: “Swan Song”] (opus ultimum, Dresden, 1671)—Excerpted from Wikipedia

Heinrich Schütz Books and Music
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Heinrich Schütz, 1585-1682

schuetz

Selected Recordings

Psalm 119 Schwanengesang

Kleine geistlichen Concerten Op.9

Symphoniae Sacrae III, Op. 12

Selected Sheet Music

Grimmage Gruft

grimmage gruft

Source: IMLSP.org

Showcase Piece

Psalms of David

Notes and Commentary

“Heinrich Schütz was Germany’s most significant composer before the age of Bach and Handel. He represents the transition between not only two epochs but also two cultures.”—David Ewen, The Complete Book of Classical Music

Schütz was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach and often considered to be one of the most important composers of the 17th century along with Claudio Monteverdi. He wrote what is traditionally considered to be the first German opera, Dafne, performed at Torgau in 1627, the music of which has since been lost.

Schütz’s compositions show the influence of his teacher Gabrieli (displayed most notably with Schütz’s use of polychoral and concertato styles) and of Monteverdi. Additionally, the influence of the Netherlandish composers of the 16th century is prominent in his work. His best known works are in the field of sacred music, ranging from solo voice with instrumental accompaniment to a cappella choral music. Representative works include his three books of Symphoniae sacrae, the Psalms of David, the Sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz (the Seven Last Words on the Cross), and his three Passion settings.

Schütz’s music, while starting off in the most progressive styles early in his career, eventually grew into a style that is simple and almost austere, culminating with his late Passion settings.

He was one of the last composers to write in a modal style. His harmonies often result from the contrapuntal alignment of voices rather than from any sense of “harmonic motion”; contrastingly, much of his music shows a strong tonal pull when approaching cadences. His music includes a great deal of imitation, but structured in such a way that the successive voices do not necessarily enter after the same number of beats or at predictable intervallic distances.

Schütz’s writing often includes intense dissonances caused by the contrapuntal motion of voices moving in correct individual linear motion, but resulting in harmonic tension. Above all, his music displays sensitivity to the accents and meaning of the text, which is often conveyed using special technical figures drawn from musica poetica, themselves drawn from or created in analogy to the verbal figures of classical rhetoric.

Beyond the early book of madrigals, almost no secular music by Schütz has survived, save for a few domestic songs (arien) and no purely instrumental music at all (unless one counts the short instrumental movement entitled “sinfonia” that encloses the dialogue of Die sieben Worte), even though he had a reputation as one of the finest organists in Germany.

Schütz was of great importance in bringing new musical ideas to Germany from Italy, and as such had a large influence on the German music which was to follow. The style of the North German organ school derives largely from him. A century later this music was to culminate in the work of J.S. Bach. He lived from October 18, 1585, to November 18, 1672.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

Books and Music

Selected Books

Master Musicians: Schütz
Oxford Univ. Press, 2000
Basil Smallman
$53.30 on Amazon

smallman

“Oxford has produced another winning entry in The Master Musicians series. Smallman’s narrative weaves discussion of life and works seamlessly, and the extras (calendar, list of works, personalia, bibliography) have been executed superbly.”—B.J. Murray, Choice, on Amazon

Music in the Baroque Era: From Monteverdi to Bach
W.W. Norton, 1947
Manfred Bukofzer
$39.95 on Amazon

Bukofzer

Selected Music

schutz-1 Musikalische Exequien (1995), 1 CD

Schutz-2 Motets / German Magnificat (2009), 1 CD

schutz-3 Johannes-Passion: Psalmen Davids (1998), 1 CD

More Heinrich Schütz music

Complete Works

The following are major published works. Access complete list on Wikipedia. There are more than 500 surviving pieces in all.

  • Il primo libro de madrigali (first book of madrigals) (opus 1, Venice, 1611)
  • Psalmen Davids (Book 1) (opus 2, Dresden, 1619)
  • Historia der … Aufferstehung … (The Resurrection) (opus 3, Dresden, 1623)
  • Cantiones sacrae (opus 4, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1625)
  • Becker Psalter (opus 5, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1628, revised 1661)
  • Symphoniae sacrae (Book 1) (opus 6, Venice, 1629)
  • Musikalische Exequien (opus 7, Dresden, 1636)
  • Kleine geistliche Konzerte (Book 1) (opus 8, Leipzig, 1636)
  • Kleine geistliche Konzerte (Book 2) (opus 9, Leipzig, 1639)
  • Symphoniae sacrae (Book 2) (opus 10, Dresden, 1647)
  • Geistliche Chor-Music (opus 11, Dresden, 1648)
  • Symphoniae sacrae (Book 3) (opus 12, Dresden, 1650)
  • Zwölf geistliche Gesänge (opus 13, Dresden, 1657)
  • Historia, der … Geburt … Jesu Christi (The Nativity), (Dresden, 1664)
  • Königs und Propheten 119er Psalm … (Psalm 119, Psalm 100, and German Magnificat: “Swan Song”] (opus ultimum, Dresden, 1671)—Excerpted from Wikipedia

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