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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 Timeline
Gesualdo
Renaissance
Patterns broadly recognisable in the directions taken by the visual arts during the Renaissance period -- inspiration derived from the ancient world and its cultural wealth and an interest in humanism -- can also be discerned in the music of the time. Private patrons -- usually royal or aristocratic, sometimes clerical -- began to set up their own musical establishments as a secular complement to those already found within religious institutions. The Northern French composer Josquin Desprez sang in and wrote for important choirs in Milan and Rome, as well as being employed by Louis XII of France and at the court of Ferrara. The career of Orlande Lassus a century later followed a similar pattern, with periods in Mantua, Milan, Naples, Rome and Munich forming parts of it. In the rich and seamlessly constructed polyphonic style of the church compositions of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina written towards the close of the period Renaissance polyphony reaches an apex of classical perfection.

Church music
  • The composition of the Mass formed a central part of the work of figures such as Josquin Desprez , Orlande Lassus and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina , all of whom were choirmasters. Sacred or secular melodies were often used as the source of musical material -- a technique known as 'cantus firmus' (or 'fixed melody').
  • Motets written in contrapuntal style were also composed in large numbers.
Secular music  
  • The increased attention given by patrons to music as a source of pleasure and prestige widened the range of forms and techniques considerably, leading to the development of the madrigal -- contrapuntal and often illustrative settings of poetic texts for a small group of singers -- and related forms.
  • The development of domestic music making in the home is apparent in the creation of repertoires for the harpsichord and for consorts of viols.

Guide to Classical Music
Index
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