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‘The Coronation of Poppea’ L’incoronazione di Poppea, composed in 1642, has been called Monteverdi’s greatest opera. It was one of the first operas to be based on history rather than mythology. The action takes place in Rome in ad 65. The eponymous heroine is the mistress and, later, wife of the Emperor Nero. The libretto was by ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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‘Orpheus, a Legend in Music’ L’Orfeo, favola in musica consists of a prologue and five acts – a prolonged performance for its time. Monteverdi used several devices to extend the action of the opera. He wrote recitatives to be performed between the duets, as well as polyphonic madrigals, of which he was a master. Further additions included ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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1567–1643, Italian Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi was born in Cremona and began his illustrious career as a choirboy in the town’s cathedral. By the time he was 20, he had already published the first of his eventual nine books of secular madrigals. He was also a skilled composer of motets. Monteverdi’s horizons expanded in 1591 when he joined the ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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(Klou’-dyo Mon-ta-ver’-de) 1567–1643 Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi stands as one of the last great composers of the Renaissance and one of the first of the Baroque. He studied composition with the madrigalist Marc’Antonio Ingegneri (c. 1547–92) in his home town of Cremona. When he took his first professional post in his mid-twenties, he had already published six books of music and ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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Claudio Monteverdi was a great innovator who achieved the quantum leap of musical style that largely freed opera from its Medieval and religious origins. To achieve this, he broke some rules, put his own interpretations on others and made changes that, in seventeenth-century terms, were revolutionary. The recitative, for example, was already an established pattern ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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1933–2014 Italian conductor Abbado studied in Milan and Vienna. He first conducted at La Scala, Milan in 1960 and held a number of posts there 1969–86. He was principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra 1979–96, music director of the Vienna State Opera 1986–91, and principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra 1990–2002. A renowned interpreter of Verdi ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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1903–91 Chilean pianist Arrau studied at Stern’s Conservatory in Berlin – where he taught 1924–40 – giving his first recital in 1914. He toured Europe in 1918, and gave concerts in Argentina and Chile in 1921. He made his London debut in 1922 and US in 1923. After founding a piano school in Santiago, he moved to New York. ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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The history of musical instruments has always been very closely linked to the history of music itself. New musical styles often come about because new instruments become available, or improvements to existing ones are made. Improvements to the design of the piano in the 1770s, for instance, led to its adoption by composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
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The first known examples of the recorder date from the Middle Ages. It became hugely popular in the Renaissance and Baroque periods and then, surpassed by the concert flute, it largely fell out of use in the professional arena. At the beginning of the twentieth century, however, it was redesigned by Arnold Dolmetsch and subsequently enjoyed a ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
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A trombone is a brass instrument sounded by buzzing the lips into a mouthpiece. It is peculiar amongst brass instruments in using a double ‘U’-shaped slide to alter its pitch. The early history of the trombone is confused, mostly due to a lack of clarity in naming instruments. It is generally accepted that the immediate precursor to the trombone was ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
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The trombone developed the idea of the Renaissance slide trumpet. While the trumpet abandoned the slide in favour first of crooks and later of valves, the trombone pursued the slide method and perfected it. The trombone is shaped like a giant paper-clip. While the left hand holds the instrument close to the mouth, the right hand grasps a crossbar; ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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b. 1932 English composer A member of the Manchester New Music Group, Goehr studied also in Paris with Messiaen. He attended the Darmstadt Summer School in 1956, but ultimately found its orthodoxy too dogmatic. Works such as the Little Symphony (1963) instead attempt a synthesis of serial elements with modality and traditional formal models. The music of Johann Sebastian ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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(Jan Fran-cha-sko Ma-le-pe-a’-ro) 1882–1973 Italian composer Although he is deemed to have been unevenly prolific, Malipiero was described by his younger contemporary Dallapiccola as the most important figure in Italian music since Puccini. He was influenced by Stravinsky, no less radically by his discovery of early Italian music – Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643) and Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741), both of whose ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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(Jool’-yo Ka-che’-ne) c. 1545–1618 Italian composer Caccini was a singer and instrumentalist at the Medici court. His most important publication was Le nuove musiche (‘The New Music’, 1602), which contained madrigals and strophic songs with basso continuo. Its preface, in which ornamentation and figured bass are discussed, outlines the stile rappresentativo. In this new monodic style he sought to follow ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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(Zhan Ba-test’ Lü-le’) 1632–87 French composer Lully was an Italian by birth, but as a youth he accompanied the Chevalier de Guise to Paris, where he remained for the rest of his life. In 1653, Lully danced with the young King Louis XIV in the Ballet de la nuit, and it was from this point that he began ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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