30 nov. 2009

What did Bach call his own style of music? How about Mozart? They didn't think of themselves as "baroque" and "classical" respectively. (As I understand it those terms were applied retrospectively.) Then what were their own names for their music, if any? If they didn't need a name, what does this mean about these periods?

5 comentarios:

Vance Maverick dijo...

Do we generally follow artists' own names for their styles and periods? I think of the comment from Rousseau to Picasso -- "I in the modern manner and you in the Egyptian."

Jonathan dijo...

Still, I'd like to know what the name was, even if I don't have to use it myself.

Vance Maverick dijo...

To answer more directly, I think they did have names, representing different taxonomies than we use today -- and that this is normal for all kinds of art. (For a starting point, German Wikipedia's page on Viennese classicism gives a lot of pointers, though with little indication of which labels were used by the musicians being labeled.)

Am I right in thinking you're aiming at discrediting the term "classical music" sensu lato? I do think it identifies a cultural category in modern life.

Jonathan dijo...

I'm not that interested in discrediting the term "classical music." I'll continue to call it that myself in everyday conversation, both sensu stricto and sensu lato. I don't really know where I'm going with this, but I think it will become clear to me in a few months.

John dijo...

Bach thought of himself as writing some pieces in the French style, and some in the Italian, and so on; hence "French Suite" and "English Suite." Aside from style, he thought of himself as writing church music -- motets, cantatas, preludes and fugues (he did write two secular cantatas, compared to his hundreds of church cantatas) -- and wanted to write more court music, of which the Brandenburg Concertos were an audition. (He did not pass, and the concertos were unplayed until many many decades after Bach's death.) The story of the Goldberg Variations is that they're court music, written for a patron, but that story is disputed. Their publication, which happened in Bach's lifetime, does not mention Goldberg or a patron and came out as the 4th in a series that Bach called "Keyboard Practice," which indicates that he conceived a lot (or all? outside of the organ works?) of his solo instrumental work as etudes or studies for performers.

I'm not as up on Mozart, but I do recall reading that he had been influenced by the Italian style too.

To reply to your later post on this subject, "Galant" refers to the style of Bach's sons and their contemporaries, not Bach; it's a simpler style than the old man's.

As for an overarching name for what these guys were doing, I think they just called it "music."