February 2012

The Marriage Contract

Rossini's one-act hilarity.

I went to see Gioachino Rossini's one-act comedic opera La cambiale di matrimonio (The Marriage Contract) yesterday. Premiered in 1810, the hilarious opera still feels surprisingly current with themes of strained European-North American relations and forbidden love. The opera premiered in Venice at the Teatro San Moisé.

Music under the Nazis

Innovation was frowned upon.

It isn’t surprising that the Nazi regime looked towards the past to promote their musical hegemony. Hitler’s favorite composer was Richard Wagner, a German who died in 1883, and had Wagner’s music played at many party functions and rallies. He also employed only German musicians, who believed that the German masters should only be played by German, anti-Semitic musicians.

This obsession in looking into the past meant that new musical compositions—particularly music that could be perceived as subversive or anti-Hitler—were discouraged or forbidden. The regime focused more on performance than on composition because composers continued to be influenced by the banned works of Hindemith, Weill, Schoenberg, and Stravinsky and because of this “no coherent Nazi style of new music emerged.” In other words, composers were still interested in anti-regime composers—subconsciously or not—so it was impossible to compose forgoing their influence.

Forms of Classical Music: The Sonata

One of the other known forms of classical music is the sonata. Other than the symphony, this type of music in its basic form is enjoyed by many classical music lovers. However, not many people are able to identify what is a sonata when they are quizzed. The first sonata was written and performed as early as the 1800s. It is the least dramatic or theatrical form of classical music, because it consists entirely of music being played as opposed to the opera that contains a singer.