The Famous Classical Music Composers

Classical music first appeared in around 1750 and lasted until 1830. This musical era lies between the Romantic and Baroque periods, and it was the first time that the piano was used as the main keyboard instrument.

Domenico Scarlatti

The music coincided with an era of new architecture, literature and the arts in Europe which is known as “classicism”. This new music was more structured and audible, and from this period, the new generation of composers started producing music that is still listened to today. One of the first composers to make the transition from Baroque to Classical was the Italian Domenico Scarlatti. He created over 500 keyboard sonatas. He composed his best work while in the service of the Spanish Royal family and he even married a Spaniard.

This was a time when much of the music was being composed in Spain. Antonio Soler was a Spanish Composer who also composed keyboard sonatas, although his work was composed of more movements than Scarlatti’s.

From this period, musical centres started to flourish in Paris Vienna and other major cities in Europe. CPE Bach was one of the first composers to emerge and he was known as the “Berlin Bach” as a result of his residence in the city.

Many of the concertos that Bach prepared were structured around the piano, but he also included other instruments. His main problem was knowing when to introduce them into the concert. However, his skill in writing for string instruments was shown with his production of E minor symphony Wq 178, and he was also skilled in introducing wind instruments into the performances. The man who introduced style unto classical music was Joseph Haydn. Whereas the earlier composers concentrated on the piano, Haydn worked with the orchestra as a whole. He produced many musical pieces for wind and string, and he liked performances from the orchestra as a whole and not just one or two sections.

Joseph Haydn tutored both Mozart and Beethoven

Haydn had great influence working on his music in Vienna. His reputation meant that many new composers would seek his guidance and would be trained by him. Many of the great composers that emerged were, at one time, being guided by Haydn. The two composers that this era is most well know is Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig Van Beethoven. Mozart first appeared as a young composer in Vienna during the period when Haydn was seen as the maestro.

The young Mozart created the operas and the large orchestras. He never shunned the limelight and liked writing grand masterpieces. He did, however, respect Haydn and the two men learned a great deal from each other, with Mozart introducing Italian style through complex melodies.

Another compose to study under Haydn was Beethoven who moved from his home city of Bonn in Germany to take advantage of learning under the guidance of the master. He first gained notoriety as a virtuoso pianist but as time evolved, he began writing music for orchestras. He has written 9 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, 1 violin concerto, 32 piano concertos, 16 string quartets and 1 opera. Much of his writing was done as a result of his ability to play many instruments. As well as being influenced by Haydn, he was also taught by Mozart and this Vienna base did so much to introduce the world to classical music.

It was from this learning centre that much of the great classical music productions were written and first heard.


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