A History of the Oratorio: Vol. 3: the Oratorio in the Classical Era
The Oratorio in the classical Era is the third volume of Howard Smither's monumental History of the Oratorio, continuing his synthesis and critical appraisal of the oratorio. His comprehensive study surpasses in scope and treatment all previous works on the subject. A fourth and final volume, on the oratorio in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, is forthcoming.
In this volume Smither discusses the Italian oratorio from the 1720s to the early nineteenth century and oratorios from other parts of Europe from the 1750s to the nineteenth century. Drawing on works that represent various types, languages, and geographical areas, Smither treats the general characteristics of oratorio libretto and music and analyzes twenty-two oratorios from Italy, England, Germany, France, and Russia. He synthesizes the results of specialized studies and contributes new material based on firsthand study of eighteenth-century music manuscripts and printed librettos.
Emphasizing the large number of social contexts within which oratorios were heard, Smither discussed examples in Italy such as the Congregation of the Oratory, lay contrafraternities, and educational institutions. He examines oratorio performances in German courts, London theaters and English provincial festivals, and the Parisian Concert spirituel. Though the volume concentrates primarily on eighteenth-century oratorio from the early to the late Classical styles, Smither includes such transitional works as the oratorios of Jean-Francios le Seur in Paris and Stepan Anikievich Degtiarev in Moscow.
A History of the Oratorio is the first full-length history of the genre since Arnold Schering's 1911 study. In addition to synthesizing current thought about the oratorio, this volume contributes new information on relationships between oratorio librettos and contemporary literary and religious thought, and on the musical differences among oratorios from different geographical-cultural regions.
Originally published in 1987.
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PART II The English Oratorio after Handel
PART III The German Oratorio
PART IV The Oratorio in French and Other Languages
Summary and Prospect
Some Title Pages of Italian and Latin Printed Librettos Mentioned in the Text
Allegro Antonio Auferstehung Bach Beethoven beginning Bologna C. P. E. Bach cantarsi cantatas capo aria century choral church Componimento composed Concert spirituel continued da capo aria dal segno Debora Degtiarev dramatic Dresden duet E-flat eighteenth ensembles ExA M P L E Example festivals final chorus Florence genre German oratorios Gesù Giovanni Giuseppe Graun Grove Handel Hasse Haydn Ibid includes instrumental Isacco Israelites Italian oratorio Jesus Johann Jommelli Judas Maccabaeus Judith Lazarus Lent librettist London lyric manuscript Maria melodic Messiah Metastasio Minin Naples obbligato opera orato Oratorians oratorio librettos oratorio performances orchestral Passion oratorio passione personages Pietro Pietro Metastasio Pozharskii printed libretto recitative ritornello Rome Ruth Ruth et sacred scene segno signor sing Sisara Smither ſº solo sonata form stanzas Structural Outline Sueur sung Telemann theaters Tobia tonal transformed da capo Venice Vergine Vienna violins