The Expansion of the Dramatic Music

  April 18, 2022   Read time 1 min
The Expansion of the Dramatic Music
As the century went on, attention to the oratorio continued in Italy to a considerable extent, but the early types persisted without special improvement, though the use of Biblical subjects increased.

As compared with the genius for oratoriowriting that presently developed in Germany, the Italian composers in this form from the first displayed but moderate zeal and power, and the public interest in it was slight. Yet the total number of works produced was not small.

Although the riseof the Italian opera under Monteverdi, Cavalli, Carissimi and Cesti has unique historic importance, the story of the early opera was by no means confined to Italy. Italian musicians visited other countries or migrated to them, carrying with them the styles to which they were wonted. The Italian opera thus came into contact with native styles of drama that were on the verge of a definite musical development and that needed only a slight impulse to advance to national types. The Italian dramma per musica, with its accent on grandiose recitative, was but one of several forms that were capable either of independent evolution or of varied combination.

Prominent among these were the French ballet, the German singspiel and the English masque - all secular derivatives in some way of the mediaeval Mysteries and MiraclePlays, but with differences of traditional treatment. With these the Italian opera either competed or coalesced, and out of their varied interactions were gradually shaped the types of opera found in the r Sth century. The age was eager to adopt or create the musical drama in any available form.

The strong influence upon musical progress of the later opera is clearly due to the intricate blending of several tendencies that first attracted attention in the 17th century. While the works produced were presently overshadowed by later ones, the interest of the lines of experiment then initiated is unquestionable.

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