Role That Patronage (Royal, Ecclesiastical, Private) Played Case Study

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¶ … role that patronage (royal, ecclesiastical, private) played in the lives of musicians and the repertoire that was composed / performed. At least three different types of case studies should be examined in terms of their most significant musicians-in-residence, its socio-cultural environment, opportunities for performance and composition, and locally preferred musical styles. One case study should be taken from each of the following categories: a) Royal or aristocratic court. b) Religious institutions including church, cathedral, chapel royal. c) Civic institutions including town council, university or school

Musicians throughout times have been able to create in accordance to the demands of those who had sponsored them. Similar to things nowadays, there had to be a demand on the market for the creations to be absorbed, otherwise the artist could not live off the music he composed. This is why in many periods of musical history, we are facing a very close relationship between the repertoire composed by the artists and the desires and tastes of their patrons. Musicians such as Monteverdi, under religious patronage, might have had a musical portfolio that reflected closer these religious requirements. On the other hand, composers like Lully were there to praise the miracles and fascination of the French absolute monarchy and its king, Louis XIV.

This paper will aim to show and analyze some of the obvious relationships between the type of patronage and the repertoire that the musicians enjoyed, as well as to discuss this state of fact for various musicians during the Baroque period.

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Royal patronage

When referring to the Baroque period as a historical period, the monarchy of Louis XIV and his period of absolutism in France is perhaps the best example of monarchy encouraging arts and cultural expansion as an instrument of political propaganda. With a reign that covered over 50 years, Louis XIV covers a third of the period we are analyzing and is perhaps the period where one country, not necessarily politically, but also through its arts, culture, musical and literal expansion, comes to dominate Europe.

Case Study on Role That Patronage (Royal, Ecclesiastical, Private) Played Assignment

As mentioned, the arts and culture come in part as an excellent means of propaganda, a way by which these artists can acclaim the many realizations of Louis's reign in France. Lully, as the foremost composer in France during this period, can be well included in this category of artists who live under the French king's patronage and who, at the same time, repay partly their debt by praising the illustrious figure of the Sun King. Despite this, scholars have ranges their perspective of music in the times of Louis XIV, going from a purely political perspective to an entirely art-related role for the music in that time. The answer most likely lies somewhere in between.

Robert Isherwood is one of the scholars who sees music (as well as other arts) as conceived and supported solely so as to be in the service not necessarily of France and not only of Louis XIV, but in the service of the French absolute monarchy (Isherwood, 1973). In his essay "The Centralization of Music in the Reign of Louis XIV" (Isherwood, 1969), Isherwood traces the relationship between royal patronage in France and the repertoire composed even before the reign of Louis XIV, to a time when the French kings had created the Academie de musique et de poesie (French Academy of Music and Poetry), as a direct instrument of expressing the French artistic brilliance throughout Europe.

The first obvious example of the relationship between royal patronage, the needs of the absolute state and Lully's creations were expressed by the fact that Lully adopted French as the language of his opera compositions. Up to that time, Italian was the obvious choice for operas, but there were several reasons why this would not have worked in France. The first and most obvious was that the operas needed to reflect French nationalism and the glory of the French absolute monarchy and, in this sense, they needed to be in French. On the other hand, Lully also adopted other elements better fit for the French taste, such as a quicker story development.

Maybe the best way by which one can support the idea that there was an intrinsic relationship between Lully's royal patronage and his repertoire is the common denominator that both the monarchy and Lully's repertoire shared: just as the French monarchy, Lully pensoit en grand, that is, he "thought on a large scale" (Proctor, 2006, citing Lois Rosow). This could only be in line with the propositions of the French absolute monarchy: ample, grandiose actions, the capacity to dominate through force the entire Europe united against it and the entire political and cultural century.

Lully's musical creations, as well as his dances encouraged this grandiose perspective on things, as preferred by the royal patronage. Even when the operas were actually performed, magnificence was the key idea and the staging included machineries that could produce special effects such as angels that could fly around the stage. The entire opera style promoted by Lully was one of richness and majestic grace to reflect the grandeur of times.

Religious patronage

One of the most important Baroque musicians, composer and violinist Arcangelo Corelli, played for a period of his life (generally this period is acknowledged to be between 1690 and 1713) under the religious patronage of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni. Cardinal Ottoboni served as vice chancellor of the church in Papal Rome and his sponsorship and patronage included other arts, such as painting and academic sciences. Following the death of artists such as Bernini, Rome at the end of the 17th century was still living off the impressive century that was the 17th century. Cardinal Ottoboni provided the patronage that allowed the artists to subsequently dwell on the remains of the century and continue their work. Corelli was such an example.

Perhaps a good example of the influence of religious patronage on his work is the fact that the best known work by Corelli is a religious work referred to as the Christmas Concerto, commissioned by the Cardinal. It was composed especially for Christmas night and was played for the patron somewhere around 1690.

The connection between patronage and artistic composition is reflected in this work. Indeed, Corelli composed a piece that would reflect the most important Christian celebration in all its glory, under the Catholic influence of his patron. Many of Corelli's works have not been passed on, but the fact that this work has shows the subsequent importance that was also attributed to it by the Cardinal himself, as well as the Roman society during that time. A song such as this could fully reflect the glory of the Catholic Church, but also of the patron himself, as an individual in society. This is certainly quite similar to the role of Lully's work, with the difference that the propaganda for state and absolute monarchy is here replaced with propaganda for church and cardinal.

Civic patronage

Johann Sebastian Bach is perhaps one of the greatest composers of all times, but, at the same time, his portfolio of compositions was also closely related to the requirements of his employment. The best example in this sense is reflected in his last period of creation, from his appointment as Cantor of Thomasschule in Leipzig to his death in 1750. As a cantor in Leipzig, his main duties involved both teaching at the school, as well as playing on a weekly basis for the two most important churches in Leipzig, St. Thomas's and St. Nicholas's (he generally performed on Sundays and church festivals). In this quality, Bach composed many of his cantatas, which he could later perform in these churches. We should note here that this was not a religious patronage, but a civic one, since he was the employee of the school and, additionally, he also held the position of Civic Director of Music and Bach's position implied that he was also in charge with the music life in the whole of Leipzig, as it was coordinated by the town council (http://www.carolinaclassical.com/bach/leipzig.html).His duties thus encouraged him to compose cantatas.

The cantata was an important part of the Lutheran liturgy during this time, generally being played after the reading of the Gospel and representing the principal musical element. In fact, the cantata didn't last for more than half an hour in general, out of the three hours of liturgical service. The orchestra was composed of 16 singers and 18 instrumentalists, although, on different occasions and for more complete and complicated cantatas, Bach used double this number (http://www.carolinaclassical.com/bach/leipzig.html).

His portfolio of cantatas composed in this period is certainly impressive. There are a number of five cycles of cantatas, with an average of 60 cantatas in each cycle, all first four cantatas being composed up to 1729 (the last one probably was finished in the 1740s).

Bach's presence in Leipzig allowed him, in fact, to fulfill his dream of a "regulated church music" (http://www.baroque-music-club.com/cantatas.html).In this sense, the fact that he needed to perform every Sunday implied that… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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