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It began to feel its way into new channels, and in the form of the opera became a national institution.Its growth at first was weak and faulty; but finally it developed into a perfect art.In 1540 San Filippo Neri formed in Milan a Society called "Le congregazione dei Padri dell' Oratorio" (from _orare_ to pray), and we are told by Crescembini that "The oratorio, a poetical composition, formerly a commixture of the dramatic and narrative styles, but now entirely a musical drama, had its origin from San Filippo Neri, who in his chapel, after sermons and other devotions, in order to allure young people to pious offices, and to detain them from earthly pleasures, had hymns, psalms, and such like prayers sung by one or more voices." "Among these spiritual songs were dialogues; and these entertainments, becoming more frequent and improving every year, were the occasion that, in the seventeenth century, oratorios were invented, so called from their origin."[A] Then came the fulness of the Renaissance, quickening dead forms into new life, laying its vivifying touch on the new-born art, music, and making it its nursling. It was church music out of church, fine, stately, what may with seeming paradox be called statuesque, which came to bear the name of _L'Opera_, signifying _The Work_:--but, though born to a heritage of good aims, possessed of very inadequate means for their fulfilment.Once liberated from its presumed function of expressing religious feeling, and thus subjected to other impelling forces, music could not long remain in the old forms.Chopin's whole early training was in the German school, and he may be looked on as one of the founders of the latest school of pianoforte composition, whose highest development is in contemporary Germany.He represents German music by his affinities and his influences in art, and bears too close a relation to important changes in musical forms to be omitted from this series." Various important events have occurred since the publication of these volumes in America: _inter alia_, the performance of Wagner's last great work "Parsifal," and the death of the great German musician; the production of new works by Gounod and Verdi; and so forth.At first, therefore, the stately art and the musical needs of the people were dissimilar and apart; but little by little each gave to and took from the other, till at length, out of the marriage of these elementaries, a third arose to become the expression of the life of the people, partaking in likeness of both, having lost certain qualities, having gained many more, becoming richer, broader, more eclectic--in short, developing into the more fitting expression of the manifold aspirations of modern days, when life is varied and intense, and the mind gropes blindly in every direction.This development is traceable in all art, and in the sphere of music it is most manifest in the opera. Towards the end of the sixteenth century a number of amateurs in Florence, dissatisfied with the polyphonic school of music, combined "to revive the musical declamation of the Greeks," to wed poetry and music--so long dissevered--to make the music follow the inflexion of the voice and the sense of the words.

The plan pursued has been to devote the bulk of space to composers of the higher rank, and to pass over those less known with such brief mention as sufficed to outline their lives, and fix their place in the history of music." To _The Great German Composers_ he prefaces a few words which may be quoted--"The sketches of composers contained in this volume may seem arbitrary in the space allotted to them.The Project Gutenberg e Book, Great Musical Composers, by George T. William) Sharp This e Book is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this e Book or online at Great Musical Composers German, French, and Italian Author: George T. William) Sharp Release Date: November 20, 2010 [e Book #34381] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII) ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK GREAT MUSICAL COMPOSERS*** E-text prepared by Colin Bell, Sam W., and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team ( The Camelot Series. GREAT MUSICAL COMPOSERS German, French, and Italian by GEORGE T. William Sharp London Walter Scott, 24 Warwick Lane Paternoster Row 1887 CONTENTS.The first opera was "Il Conte Ugolino," composed by Vicenzio Galileo--father of the famous astronomer--and it was followed by various others, the titles of which need not here be recorded.At first, such performances took place in the palaces of nobles on grand occasions, when frequently both performers and musicians were of high rank.

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