9.18.2010

Nuit Blanche 1: Charles Rosen and a Complete Breakfast

I just read something quite interesting in a book by Charles Rosen called The Classical Style. I picked it up from the EWU library on Thursday with my brand new student ID card as an augmentation to the class I will be taking on Classical Music. Classes start in literally two days and I can't sleep or sit still, so why not tackle an extremely erudite and dense book that will get my brain in gear, eh? I'm also working through piano sonatas by Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven to have the era in my fingers and ears as well. At least I can play sections of those for Prelude or Offertories for church.


Anyway, back to Rosen's pearl of insight. In the first place, I had no idea what an experimental no-man's-land music could be viewed as after the death of Bach. I always assumed that Classical music just pounced on Baroque just as J.S. had mined it for all its treasures. Fascinating to think of the composers struggling to find something of depth in a new style, such as Bach's three most famous sons. Rosen sets up a working definition of Classical style at this point by contrast with High Baroque. To boil it down he points out how Baroque music is all about steady, mobile perpetua rhythm, long melodies that blend into each other, and contrasting textures (not necessarily dynamics). Classical music's breakthrough was the development of short and balanced musical phrases in which different rhythms could be transitioned seamlessly.

I still don't have a firm grasp of it yet. It's a lengthy and technical paradigm. Plus it's midnight. :) Let's just say that I have a new appreciation for both Baroque music and Classical. Each goes about exploring problems in different ways. I love reading and learning and school. However, I don't love sleep, it would seem.

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