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16:30 - 17:30

Sean Rafferty presents a selection of music and guests from the arts world.

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17:30 Opera on 3

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Music Genres
Image: Piano
This genre comprises music written for solo instruments. Keyboard music (for the harpsichord, clavichord, piano or organ) predominates. A keyboard player has no need of other instrumentalists to create a full texture of sound. But players of stringed instruments have been supplied with a wealth of material usually requiring keyboard accompaniment, with a similar situation pertaining to players of woodwind and brass instruments, though their repertories tend to be smaller.

  • The growth of music making within the homes of the wealthy during the late Renaissance period encouraged the production of collections of music for the harpsichord. Later figures such as William Byrd , Jan Sweelinck and Girolamo Frescobaldi wrote many characteristic sets of variations for the instrument.   

  • In the late Baroque period Johann Sebastian Bach , George Frideric Handel , Domenico Scarlatti , François Couperin and Jean-Philippe Rameau were all notable harpsichord players who left substantial legacies to add to its growing repertoire. 

  • During the Classical period the domestic instrument of choice gradually became the piano, which was invented in Italy around 1700. It became especially important to the Viennese Classical school and inspired many of the greatest creations of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert .

  • In the Romantic period the tendency was for piano music to become ever more virtuosic in the hands of Fryderyk Chopin and Franz Liszt . New ranges of colour were developed by Claude Debussy at the end of the nineteenth century and by Béla Bartók and Olivier Messiaen in the twentieth.

  • The home of organ music is essentially the church, and the works of the greatest composers for the instrument -- notably Bach and Messiaen -- were mostly designed for the context of church services.
  • Repertories for other instruments may be comparatively smaller, but there are many fine works written at different periods for the violin , cello , flute , oboe , clarinet and horn in particular.

Guide to Classical Music
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