Johann Sebastian Bach

BachJ.S. BachJ. S. Bach
Approximately 200 of these sacred works are extant, an estimated two thirds of the total number of church cantatas he composed. The Bach Digital website lists 50 known secular cantatas by the composer,Bach's secular cantatas in BWV order, each followed by a link to the Bach Digital Work (BDW) page of the cantata at the Bach-Digital website: about half of which are extant or largely reconstructable. Bach's cantatas vary greatly in form and instrumentation, including those for solo singers, single choruses, small instrumental groups, and grand orchestras.

Dmitri Shostakovich

ShostakovichShostakovich, DmitriDimitri Shostakovich
Shostakovich also played the piano solos in recordings of the Cello Sonata, Op. 40 with cellist Daniil Shafran and also with Mstislav Rostropovich; the Violin Sonata, Op. 134, with violinist David Oistrakh; and the Piano Trio, Op. 67 with violinist David Oistrakh and cellist Miloš Sádlo. There is also a short sound film of Shostakovich as soloist in a 1930s concert performance of the closing moments of his first piano concerto. A colour film of Shostakovich supervising one of his operas, from his last year, was also made. A major achievement was EMI's recording of the original, unexpurgated opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.

George Frideric Handel

Mattheson, however, summarized his opinion of Handel's church cantatas written in Halle: "Handel in those days set very, very long arias and sheerly unending cantatas which, while not possessing the proper knack or correct taste, were perfect so far as harmony is concerned." Early chamber works do exist, but it is difficult to date any of them to Handel's time in Halle. Many historians until recently followed Chrysander and designated the six trio sonatas for two oboes and basso continuo as his first known composition, supposedly written in 1696 (when Handel was 11). Lang doubts the dating based on a handwritten date of a copy (1700) and stylistic considerations.

Paul Hindemith

HindemithHindemith, Paul[Paul] Hindemith
He continued to write for unusual groups of instruments throughout his life, producing a trio for viola, heckelphone and piano (1928), 7 trios for 3 trautoniums (1930), a sonata for double bass and a concerto for trumpet, bassoon, and strings (both in 1949), for example. Around the 1930s, Hindemith began to write less for chamber groups, and more for large orchestral forces. In 1933–35, Hindemith wrote his opera Mathis der Maler, based on the life of the painter Matthias Grünewald. This opera is rarely staged, though a well-known production by the New York City Opera in 1995 was an exception ( Holland 1995). It combines the neo-classicism of earlier works with folk song.

Sergei Prokofiev

ProkofievProkofiev, SergeiSergey Prokofiev
Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78, cantata for mezzo-soprano, chorus, and orchestra. Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 80. The Three War Sonatas:. Piano Sonata No. 6 in A major, Op. 82. Piano Sonata No. 7 in B major, Op. 83. Piano Sonata No. 8 in B major, Op. 84. Betrothal in a Monastery, Op. 86, opera. Cinderella, Op. 87, ballet in three acts. War and Peace, Op. 91, opera in thirteen scenes. String Quartet No. 2 in F major, Op. 92. Flute Sonata in D, Op. 94 (later arranged as Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 94a). Symphony No. 5 in B major, Op. 100. Piano Sonata No. 9 in C major, Op. 103. Symphony No. 6 in E minor, Op. 111. Ivan the Terrible, Op. 116, music for Eisenstein's film.

Carlos Chávez

ChávezChávez, CarlosCarlos Chavez
Although this early period saw the creation of the Sonatina for violin and piano (1924), it was only in the 1930s that Chávez returned to another of the main musical interests of his maturity, prefigured in the juvenilia: the traditional genres of the sonata, quartet, symphony, and concerto. He composed six numbered symphonies. The first, titled Sinfonía de Antígona (1933), was reworked from incidental music for Jean Cocteau's Antigone, an adaptation of Sophocles' tragedy. In it, Chávez sought to create an archaic ambiance through the use of modal polyphony, harmonies built on fourths and fifths, and a predominant use of wind instruments.

Igor Stravinsky

StravinskyStravinsky, IgorStravinskian
He first experimented with non-twelve-tone serial techniques in small-scale vocal and chamber works such as the Cantata (1952), the Septet (1953) and Three Songs from Shakespeare (1953). The first of his compositions fully based on such techniques was In Memoriam Dylan Thomas (1954). Agon (1954–57) was the first of his works to include a twelve-tone series and Canticum Sacrum (1955) was the first piece to contain a movement entirely based on a tone row.

Sonata form

sonata-allegro formsonata-allegrosonata
As the title for a single-movement piece of instrumental music—the past participle of suonare, "to sound", as opposed to cantata, the past participle of cantare, "to sing"—"sonata" covers many pieces from the Baroque and mid-18th century that are not "in sonata form". Conversely, in the late 18th century or "Classical" period, the title "sonata" is typically given to a work composed of three or four movements. Nonetheless, this multi-movement sequence is not what is meant by sonata form, which refers to the structure of an individual movement. The definition of sonata form in terms of musical elements sits uneasily between two historical eras.

Baroque music

BaroqueBaroque eraBaroque period
Sonata. Sonata da camera. Sonata da chiesa. Trio sonata. Partita. Canzona. Sinfonia. Fantasia. Ricercar. Toccata. Prelude. Chaconne. Passacaglia. Chorale prelude. Stylus fantasticus. Christensen, Thomas Street, and Peter Dejans. Towards Tonality Aspects of Baroque Music Theory. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2007. ISBN: 978-90-5867-587-3. Cyr, Mary. Essays on the Performance of Baroque Music Opera and Chamber Music in France and England. Variorum collected studies series, 899. Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-7546-5926-6. Foreman, Edward. A Bel Canto Method, or, How to Sing Italian Baroque Music Correctly Based on the Primary Sources.

Henry Purcell

PurcellPurcell, HenryPurcellian
Besides the operas and semi-operas already mentioned, Purcell wrote the music and songs for Thomas d'Urfey's The Comical History of Don Quixote, Bonduca, The Indian Queen and others, a vast quantity of sacred music, and numerous odes, cantatas, and other miscellaneous pieces. The quantity of his instrumental chamber music is minimal after his early career, and his keyboard music consists of an even more minimal number of harpsichord suites and organ pieces. In 1693, Purcell composed music for two comedies: The Old Bachelor, and The Double Dealer. Purcell also composed for five other plays within the same year.

Christoph Graupner

Graupner: Ein Weihnachtsoratorium, 9 Christmas Cantatas (2 CD, Ricercar 307, 2010), Florian Heyerick, Ex Tempore, Mannheimer Hofkapelle. Graupner: Ouvertures and cantata. Das kleine Konzert. Hermann Max conductor. (CPO 999592). Graupner: Christmas cantatas. Das Kleine Konzert, Hermann Max CPO. Graupner: Passion cantatas. "Wo gehet Jesus hin" Anton-Webern-Chor Freiburg, Ensemble Concerto grosso, Hans Michael Beuerle. Carus Verlag. Graupner: Chalumeax - Concertos, Ouvertures & Sonatas. Ars Antiqua Austria, Gunar Letzbor; Performed on historically reproduced instruments. (Challenge Classics CC72539).

Pietro Domenico Paradies

Domenico ParadiesDomenico ParadisiPARADIES, DOMENICO
Especially celebrated above all were his twelve sonatas for clavicembalo (London, 1754). The Toccata in A that is still played often today is an Allegro movement from his sonata VI in A major, which has established for itself a considerable discography, although there has been a revival of more of his music recently, at least regarding the keyboard sonatas. He was also the author of concertos for organ and for harpsichord, individual pieces for harpsichord, arias and cantatas.

Joseph Ryelandt

He played me a sonata of his. I was stupified. He already is someone, but he has never studied. This fellow has written sonatas, trios, variations, duos …” His mother relented, and from 1891 to 1895 Joseph studied with Tinel. After his study with Tinel, he was able to devote himself exclusively to composing, being of independent financial means. The years between 1895 and 1924 were his most productive. World War I badly affected his financial situation, and he had a family to take care of, for in 1899 he had married Marguerite Carton de Wiart (1872–1939), and the children had come thick and fast, eight in all.


fugalfugatodouble fugue
There are fugal sections in Beethoven's early piano sonatas, and fugal writing is to be found in the second and fourth movements of the Eroica Symphony (1805). Beethoven incorporated fugues in his sonatas, and reshaped the episode's purpose and compositional technique for later generations of composers. Nevertheless, fugues did not take on a truly central role in Beethoven's work until his late period. The finale of Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata contains a fugue, which was practically unperformed until the late 19th century, due to its tremendous technical difficulty and length.

Ludwig van Beethoven

BeethovenBeethoven’sBeethoven, Ludwig van
Today his best-known works from before 1790 are three piano quartets and three piano sonatas, the quartets being closely modelled on Mozart's sonatas for piano and violin. From 1790–1802, his best music can be found in a cantata and a number of concert arias, and in some variations for solo piano, while his instrumental music (including movements of symphonies and a violin concerto, as well as various fragmentary chamber works) is conservative and uninspired. The conventional "first period" begins after Beethoven's arrival in Vienna in 1792. In the first few years he seems to have composed less than he did at Bonn, and his Piano Trios, op.1 were not published until 1795.

Felix Mendelssohn

MendelssohnFelixFelix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
His primary organ works are the Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 37 (1837), and the Six Sonatas, Op. 65 (1845), of which Eric Werner wrote "next to Bach's works, Mendelssohn's Organ Sonatas belong to the required repertory of all organists". Mendelssohn wrote some Singspiele for family performance in his youth. His opera Die beiden Neffen (The Two Nephews) was rehearsed for him on his 15th birthday. 1829 saw Die Heimkehr aus der Fremde (Son and Stranger or Return of the Roamer), a comedy of mistaken identity written in honour of his parents' silver anniversary and unpublished during his lifetime.

Figured bass

basso continuocontinuothoroughbass
Figured bass, or thoroughbass, is a kind of musical notation in which numerals and symbols (often accidentals) indicate intervals, chords, and non-chord tones that a musician playing piano, harpsichord, organ, lute (or other instruments capable of playing chords) play in relation to the bass note that these numbers and symbols appear above or below. Figured bass is closely associated with basso continuo, a historically improvised accompaniment used in almost all genres of music in the Baroque period of Classical music (c. undefined1600–1750), though rarely in modern music.

Robert Schumann

SchumannRobertR. Schumann
Most of Schumann's late works, particularly the Violin Concerto, the Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra and the Violin Sonata No. 3, all from 1853, have entered the repertoire. Schumann had considerable influence in the nineteenth century and beyond, despite his adoption of more conservative modes of composition after his marriage. He left an array of acclaimed music in virtually all the forms then known. Partly through his protégé Brahms, Schumann's ideals and musical vocabulary became widely disseminated. Composer Sir Edward Elgar called Schumann "my ideal."

Johannes Brahms

BrahmsBrahms, JohannesJ. Brahms
While in Düsseldorf, Brahms participated with Schumann and Schumann's pupil Albert Dietrich in writing a movement each of a violin sonata for Joachim, the "F-A-E Sonata", the letters representing the initials of Joachim's personal motto Frei aber einsam ("Free but alone"). Schumann's accolade led to the first publication of Brahms's works under his own name. Brahms went to Leipzig where Breitkopf & Härtel published his Opp. 1–4 (the Piano Sonatas nos. 1 and 2, the Six Songs Op. 3, and the Scherzo Op. 4), whilst Bartholf Senff published the Third Piano Sonata Op. 5 and the Six Songs Op. 6.

Arnold Schoenberg

SchoenbergArnold SchönbergSchönberg
Arnold Schoenberg or Schönberg (, US also ; ; 13 September 1874 – 13 July 1951) was an Austrian-American composer, music theorist, teacher, writer, and painter. He was associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School. With the rise of the Nazi Party, Schoenberg's works were labeled degenerate music, because they were modernist and atonal. He immigrated to the United States in 1934.

Béla Bartók

BartókBartokBartók, Béla
Among his masterworks are all the six string quartets (1908, 1917, 1927, 1928, 1934, and 1939), the Cantata Profana (1930, Bartók declared that this was the work he felt and professed to be his most personal "credo", the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (1936), the Concerto for Orchestra (1943) and the Third Piano Concerto (1945). Bartók also made a lasting contribution to the literature for younger students: for his son Péter's music lessons, he composed Mikrokosmos, a six-volume collection of graded piano pieces.

Benjamin Britten

BrittenBritten, BenjaminEdward Benjamin Britten
Other works for voices and orchestra include the Missa Brevis and the Cantata academica (both 1959) on religious themes, and the late cantata Phaedra (1975), a story of fated love and death modelled on Handel's Italian cantatas. Smaller-scale works for accompanied voice include the five Canticles, composed between 1947 and 1974. They are written for a variety of voices (tenor in all five; counter-tenor or alto in II and IV and baritone in IV) and accompaniments (piano in I to IV, horn in III and harp in V). The first is a setting of Francis Quarles's 17th century poem "A Divine Rapture", and according to Britten was modelled on Purcell's Divine Hymns.

Hans Werner Henze

HenzeHenze, Hans Werner Hans Werner Henze
The textures for the cantata Kammermusik (1958, rev. 1963) are far harsher; Henze returned to atonalism in Antifone, and later the other styles mentioned above again became important in his music. * Interview with Hans Werner Henze by Bruce Duffie, November 27, 1981 (mostly about his operas) Ernst von Siemens Music Prize (1990). Praemium Imperiale (2000). Deutscher Tanzpreis (2001). Bokina, John. 1997. Opera and Politics: From Monteverdi to Henze. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN: 0-300-06935-9. Henze, Hans Werner. 1984. Musik und Politik. Schriften und Gespräche [Music and Politics: Collected Writings] Ed. by Jens Brockmeier.

Alberto Ginastera

GinasteraGinastera, Alberto
Piano Concerto No. 1 and Piano Sonata No. 1, Hilde Somer, piano; Ernst Märzendorfer, conductor; Vienna Philharmonia Orchestra; Desto (D-402/DS-6402).

Heitor Villa-Lobos

Villa-LobosVilla-Lobos, HeitorVilla Lobos
It was perceived as an incongruity that his Brazilian impressionism should be expressed in the form of quartets and sonatas. He developed new forms to free his imagination from the constraints of conventional musical development such as that required in sonata form. The multi-sectional poema form may be seen in the Suite for Voice and Violin, which is somewhat like a triptych, and the Poema da criança e sua mamã for voice, flute, clarinet, and cello (1923). The extended Rudepoêma for piano, written for Rubinstein, is a multi-layered work, often requiring notation on several staves, and is both experimental and demanding.