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Jan Larue

revised by Eugene K. Wolf

In 

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Mark Evan Bonds

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Jan Larue, Eugene K. Wolf, Mark Evan Bonds, Stephen Walsh and Charles Wilson

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Nicholas Temperley

(Fr. ouverture Ouvertüre sinfonia)

A piece of music of moderate length, either introducing a dramatic work or intended for concert performance. See also French overture.

The word ‘overture’ derives from the French ouverture, which denoted the piece in two or more sections that formed a solemn introduction to a ballet, opera or oratorio in the 17th century. (It was sometimes applied, notably by Bach, to a suite comprising a French overture and a group of dance movements.) In 18th-century usage it was extended to works of the symphony type, whether or not they were preludes to dramatic works; the terms were often used interchangeably. Thus in the 1790s Haydn’s London symphonies were sometimes billed as ‘overtures’.

In modern usage the word denotes, first, a substantial piece of orchestral music designed to precede a full-length dramatic work (it would thus include an Italian overture which might actually be called ‘sinfonia’). It may be in one or more sections, and may or may not come to a full close before the drama begins (Mozart’s overture to ...

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Nicholas Temperley

(b Dec 1738, bap. London, Jan 1, 1739; d Boston, early Dec 1798). English organist and composer. He was organist of All Hallows Bread Street (1756–73), joint organist of St Sepulchre’s, Holborn (1760–73), and organist to the Magdalen Hospital (1766–9). He contributed nine effective psalm and hymn settings to A Second Collection of Psalms and Hymns Use’d at the Magdalen Chapel (London, c1770), and may have compiled the collection. He also published five songs and an organ voluntary while in London; his hunting song The Chace of the Hare (‘Do you hear, brother sportsman, the sound of the horn?’) was reprinted many times. He was admitted to the Society of Musicians in 1762 and made a freeman of the Company of Musicians in 1766. He played the organ for the annual meeting of London Charity Children in 1767, and probably in other years....

Article

James Webster

The most important principle of musical form, or formal type, from the Classical period well into the 20th century. This form is that of a single movement, not a ‘sonata’ as a whole; such a movement is most often part of a multi-movement instrumental cycle such as a sonata, piano trio or quartet, string quartet or quintet, symphony etc., or an independent movement like an overture or tone poem. Sonata form as such is less common in fantasies and the like, small movements, concertos and vocal music, but its principles may influence other features of form in such works. Though most characteristic of first movements in fast tempo, it often appears in middle movements and finales, and in moderate and slow tempo; hence the synonyms ‘sonata-allegro form’ and ‘first-movement form’ are best avoided.

A typical sonata-form movement consists of three main sections, embedded in a two-part tonal structure. The first part of the structure coincides with the first section and is called the ‘exposition’. The second part of the structure comprises the remaining two sections, the ‘development’ and the ‘recapitulation’. The exposition divides into a ‘first group’ in the tonic and a ‘second group’ in another key, most often the dominant. Both first and second group may include numerous different ideas; the first or most prominent theme may be called the ‘main theme’, ‘first subject’, ‘primary material’ etc., while the most prominent theme in the second group is often called the ‘second theme’ (or ‘subject’), whether or not it actually is the second important musical idea. The development (the misleading term ‘free fantasia’ is now obsolete) usually develops material from the exposition, as it modulates among one or more new keys. The last part of the development prepares the recapitulation. The recapitulation (or ‘reprise’; but see §3 (iii)) begins with a simultaneous ‘double return’, to the main theme and to the tonic. It then restates most or all of the significant material from the exposition, whereby the second group is transposed to the tonic. The movement concludes either with a cadence in the tonic paralleling the end of the exposition, or with a coda following the recapitulation....

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Jan Larue, Eugene K. Wolf, Mark Evan Bonds, Stephen Walsh and Charles Wilson

(Fr. simphonie, symphonie; Ger. Sinfonie, Symphonie; It. sinfonia)

A term now normally taken to signify an extended work for orchestra. The symphony became the chief vehicle of orchestral music in the late 18th century, and from the time of Beethoven came to be regarded as its highest and most exalted form. The adjective ‘symphonic’ applied to a work implies that it is extended and thoroughly developed.

The word ‘symphony’ derives from the Greek syn (‘together’) and phōnē (‘sounding’), through the Latin Symphonia, a term used during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It is essentially in this derivation that the term was used by Giovanni Gabrieli (Sacrae symphoniae, 1597), Heinrich Schütz (Symphoniae sacrae, 1629) and others for concerted motets, usually for voices and instruments. In the 17th century the term ‘symphony’ or (more commonly) ‘sinfonia’ was applied to introductory movements to operas, oratorios and cantatas (see Overture), to the instrumental introductions and ritornellos of arias and ensembles (...

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