Welcome back to Austin classical music / San Antonio classical music 101! Today we’re discussing part FOUR (of five) in our series of symphony terms to help the unacquainted become more familiar with this rich and treasured musical art form.
Orchestration – The art of writing for an orchestra. Mmasters of orchestration include Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Mahler, Saint-Saens, Elgar and Prokofiev.
Ostinato – A short musical passage that is repeated several times.
Programme – An extra-musical explanation applied to a piece of music. For example, Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique is a ‘programmatic work,’ with movements specifically describing places and feelings.
Renaissance – French word meaning ‘rebirth.’ In music, it refers to the period from around 1400 to 1650.
Romantic – A period in Western history, particularly in literature and music, from around 1830 to 1900. Romantic art is characterized by an emphasis on emotional expression. Romanticism is a very broad term, which also encompasses many composers of the 20th century.
Schoenberg, Arnold – Austrian-born composer and teacher born in 1874. Schoenberg was perhaps the most influential figure in 20th-century Western music. He was the inventor of the twelve-tone method of composition, and pioneer of atonlity. He’s long been regarded as the ‘dark prince of modernism,” though his music is now recognized for its beauty and drama. Schoenberg died in 1951.
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