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Thread: Renaissance or classical - which era had more "great" composers?

  1. #31
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    Its been an interesting conversation. Although I am not much interested in Renaissance music for the purposes of listening at home, it can have enormous impact when heard live. This is not only in concerts but also during liturgy, which is the original purpose that much of this music served.

    This music has endured until today as part of liturgy. If you're in any major city of the Western world on a Sunday, chances are that you don't have to go very far to find a church where the music of Palestrina and others is still sung. That functional aspect of the music means that it is alive in a different way to those religious works that where designed solely for concert performance (a famous example being Verdi's Requiem).

    Years ago I was at a service on Christmas day and the music - probably Palestrina or Byrd, but I can't remember exactly - combined with the ceremony moved me to tears. It had this cathartic effect that I didn't expect.

    Similarly there was a choral concert I attended that included Renaissance music and also contemporary composers influenced by them such as Whitacre and Lauridsen. During one of the old items - might have been by Schutz, hard to remember - the choir was split into two groups, one at the altar the other coming in from the sacristy. There was this otherwordly echo effect that would be impossible to replicate on a recording.

    So with this music, for me its all about being there. I've not listened to it often, but when I do there is some sort of impact. As far as recordings go, I think I've now only retained a double disc set on the Alto label with Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 and a variety of key pieces by Monteverdi, Allegri, Schutz and Palestrina. In fact, I regret misding the vespers live in 2010, when there where many performances to commemorate its anniversary.

    Incidentally, another composer who could be added to science’s lineup is the Spaniard, de Victoria. His Requiem is among the masterpieces of the period.
    Last edited by Sid James; May-16-2019 at 08:29.

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  3. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    Here is an interesting paper on the Renaissance era over time.

    https://digitalcommons.cedarville.ed...ship_symposium
    Just glancing at it it seems to be full of stuff from Fux! He’s not an authority on Early Music, I mean Dufay and Josquin and Gombert, is he?
    Last edited by Mandryka; May-16-2019 at 07:44.

  4. #33
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    I think the Renaissance was more in touch with God, the classical was more about royalty. Therefore, the "greatness" is, of course, with God, not a bunch of satin-clad royals.
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  5. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I think the Renaissance was more in touch with God, the classical was more about royalty. Therefore, the "greatness" is, of course, with God, not a bunch of satin-clad royals.
    And yet, Renaissance composers too were blending God with ancient mythology and sex (De Lassus' famous missa Entre vous filles de quinze ans). Burkhardt's Civilization of the renaissance in Italy also gives detailed accounts of the rampant immorality within the Church.
    And even medieval motets were combining sacred plain chant lines with secular songs about whatever.

    So, should we go back to gregorian chant ? Is the evolution of music a constant fall from Grace ?

    Also, Churchmen whose patronage enabled Renaissance composers to thrive also were satin-clad.

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  6. #35
    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Just glancing at it it seems to be full of stuff from Fux! He’s not an authority on Early Music, I mean Dufay and Josquin and Gombert, is he?
    I'm assuming Fux was only regarding the times of Palestrina. I didn't really do much more digging.
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    Senior Member Gallus's Avatar
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    Considering the Renaissance period was about a century longer than the Classical period, it's not really a debate is it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Just glancing at it it seems to be full of stuff from Fux! He’s not an authority on Early Music, I mean Dufay and Josquin and Gombert, is he?
    It's a freshman undergrad paper, so I guess we're lucky any "early" sources at all were consulted. Not bad for an undergrad.

    Fux isn't a very good or accurate distillation of the Palestrina style. A better source is Knud Jeppesen's Counterpoint (1931). He was a student of Carl Nielsen.

    For the style of the early 16thc, Part III of Gioseffo Zarlino's Le Istitutioni harmoniche (1558) is an excellent and surprisingly engaging source. His teacher was Adrian Willaert.

    Both books are available in good English translations.

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  9. #38
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    There may have been more "great" composers during the Renaissance but there is far more "great" music in the Classical 18th century. Other than an occasional university concert I have never seen nor heard any piece composed in the Renaissance in concert.
    Last edited by larold; May-17-2019 at 20:07.

  10. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by larold View Post
    There may have been more "great" composers during the Renaissance but there is far more "great" music in the Classical 18th century. Other than an occasional university concert I have never seen nor heard any piece composed in the Renaissance in concert.
    Because the concert hall is an invention of the Classical and Romantic period? What do you expect? Renaissance music was written either for church worship or entertainment at home.

  11. #40
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    The Classical period is played more in these days, and I think that's for a good reason; of course, this doesn't mean Renaissance composers aren't good, it's just that (aside of the Renaissance lasting much longer as some people here stated) the Classical period just sounds better to me, Mozart became synonymous with Classical music, and it's not hard to see why-he was a musical prodigy, and the Classical period, as well as the Romantic following, are my favorite; so I'd say that relatively for the length of the period, the Classical would be better...at least in my opinion!

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    I think the classical period sounds "better" than the renaissance period only in the genres that renaissance era composers never wrote in or even knew would come to exist. Josquin alone is worth all the classical era masters' liturgical music put together, and for me the baroque era's too (except for that one guy's, and even then Josquin doesn't run his melodies and mechanical repeats into the ground the way that guy does, so it's a draw). Even Handel and Mozart's great choral works strike me as lite by comparison.

    Maybe I'm in a honeymoon phase as I only just recently started giving the Renaissance era another try. So far something about this style of composition is more immediately profound, hypnotic, and even accessible than later periods, at least once you get over that initial "sameness" of everything.
    Last edited by Clairvoyance Enough; May-21-2019 at 13:09.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clairvoyance Enough View Post
    I think the classical period sounds "better" than the renaissance period only in the genres that renaissance era composers never wrote in or even knew would come to exist. Josquin alone is worth all the classical era masters' liturgical music put together, and for me the baroque era's too (except for that one guy's, and even then Josquin doesn't run his melodies and mechanical repeats into the ground the way that guy does, so it's a draw). Even Handel and Mozart's great choral works strike me as lite by comparison.

    Maybe I'm in a honeymoon phase as I only just recently started giving the Renaissance era another try. So far something about this style of composition is more immediately profound, hypnotic, and even accessible than later periods, at least once you get over that initial "sameness" of everything.
    Who who has heard them would be so rash as to claim that Beethoven's late quartets are more worthwhile than Purcell’s viol fantasias or Sainte Colombe’s music for one or two viols? Not me.

    The same sort of thoughts in non religious vocal music. Did Schubert and Schumann write better songs than Ockeghem and Dufay? I think that would be a surprising conclusion from anyone who has given time to both.

    And in opera, no one, not even Wagner, has the better of Monteverdi for depth of idea and quality of music.
    Last edited by Mandryka; May-21-2019 at 13:43.

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