As of the end of the Rebirth, the Italian music influenced the foreign composers by the beauty of its melodies and the quality of its expression, but it is essential especially on the XVIII E and XIX E centuries through the opera.
Antiquity with the Rebirth
It us remains little of testimonies on art sound of Rome ancient, of which bases theoretical remain close to those to Greece, but which one knows that the place in the daily life was considerable, within the armies as in the banquets.
With the Middle Ages at the time Christian woman, the Roman hymn (old Roman and ambrosien, then Gregorian) there takes its rise quickly and, as of XIIIe century, the lauda, religious melody of popular nature, knows a great vogue in the peninsula, where the Franciscan movement gives place to a revival of spirituality. The songs of troubadours seem there on the other hand less appraisals that in France. As for the polyphony (madrigals and ballate of Francesco Landino representing Ars nova of XIVe century), it is characterized by a real softness, characteristic of Italian esthetics, and a style rich in ornaments.
To the XV E century, many composers free-Flemish (such Adriaan Willaert and Cyprien de Rore) are attracted by these areas and establish their solid contrapuntic tradition to with it. This enrichment led to the apogee of the mass and the motet (to four, five or six votes), whose Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594) remains most famous representing.
Fruit of a polemical reaction to the polyphony and a progressive maturation of the tonal harmony, the style monodic appears in Italy at the dawn of the XVIIe century, illustrated by Jacopo Peri (1561-1633) and Giulio Caccini (1545-1618). If there remains associated with the first operas, the kind is dominated soon by the genius as well musical as dramatic of Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), who contributes to transform the old polyphonic madrigal into a dramatic form mixing recitative, monodie and concertato (It combattimento di Tancredi E Clorinda, 1624).
In the crowned field, the oratorio is born in the wake from the opera, which is not without influencing it; “perfect spiritual melodrama”, it is represented by composers like Carissimi (1605-1674), Stradella (1644-1682), Scarlatti (1660-1725). But it is especially through the instrumental music that the forms of the modern harmony are fixed.
During the XVII E century, the large violin makers of Casement bolt (Matted, Guarneri, Stradivarius) carry the violin to its perfection. First musician to sit his reputation on a purely instrumental work, Corelli (1653-1713) develops a melody style and a technique of bow which will influence the composers of the next century: Vivaldi, Albinoni and Tartini.
The instrument more with the mode at that time is the lute (Dalza, Spinaccino and Francesco da Milano), to which some of the first music publishings are devoted.
XVIIe and XVIIIe centuries
The old polyphony was to succeed, as of the end of the Rebirth, a new technique: that of the accompanied melody, which allowed the birth of the cantata, the opera and the oratorio. It is in the coteries florentins that was born the melodramma (opera), whose Euridice of Jacopo Peri represents, in 1600, an achieved example, followed by Orfeo de Monteverdi (1607). The kind is fixed little by little in Rome (Luigi Rossi) and Venice (Pier Francesco Cavalli), where in 1637 the first public theater opens, then in Naples (Alessandro Scarlatti).
As for the beginnings of the oratorio, they are located at Rome, in the oratory of Santa Maria in Vallicella, rested by saint Philippe Neri, where in 1600 Rappresentazione di is created animated E di corpo of Cavalieri, first crowned history of this type.
The compositions for the organ (toccata and capriccio at Frescobaldi) and the harpsichord (Pasquini) also develop.
The importance of virtuosity and the profusion of the decorative curves are characteristic of the language, as well in the opera as in the instrumental music. Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) conceives nearly 50 operas, approximately 500 concertos (including famous Four Seasons, 1724) and more than 70 sonatas. On the lyric scenes the castrati (Farinelli, 1705-1782) reign. A new kind is essential, the opera, mainly dominated by the Neapolitan school (Pergolese, Paisiello, Cimarosa).
In the instrumental music, many are the forms which know the favor of the public: sonata with three, generally written for two violins and low; then sonata of soloist of room or church (Corelli); concerto grosso (Torelli), where a small whole of instruments concerts with the orchestra; finally concerto of soloist. The repertory of Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) is vast: 550 sonatas for keyboard. Albinoni and Sammartini contribute to the birth of the modern symphony, which was to influence the Germanic composers (Haydn, Mozart).
XIXe and XXe centuries
If an extraordinary violonist (Niccolo Paganini, 1782-1840) represents the instrumental virtuosity of this time, it is especially through the lyric art that the Italian music extends its influence: Rossini (Otello, the Barber of Seville), Bellini (Normalized), Donizetti (Lucia di Lammermoor, the Favorite one) announce already the pathetic one Made green (1813-1901). With Traviata, the Trouvere, Helped, Otello, this last still exacerbates the taste of the Italians for the opera, thanks to the power of her art, carried by the rise of nationalism at the time of Risorgimento.
From 1890, the verist ones (Mascagni, Cavalleria rusticana; Leoncavallo, I pagliacci), basing their esthetics on the realism of excessive passions, still reinforce the expressive effects. Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), in the Bohemian one, Tosca or Mrs. Butterfly, already combines the beauty of the song to the instrumental lucky finds in a musical language more worked out, characteristic of the beginning of the XX E century. In reaction to the power of the opera take shape a new interest for the instrumental music (Ottorino Respighi, Pines of Rome), a return to the modal old music (Gianfranco Malipiero) and a neo-classic revival (Ferruccio Busoni, Alfredo Casella). The serial music is represented by Luigi Dallapiccola (1904-1975), as of the opera It prigionero (1948), and Luigi Nono (1924-1990), son-in-law of Schönberg.
The beginning of the XX E century marks an renewed interest for the instrumental music; in 1917, Casella founds the Italian Company of modern music, which is used as springboard to composers like Pizzetti, Respighi, Malipiero. In the years 1930, as of the creation of the Festival of modern music of Venice and musical May Florentin, two major personalities, Petrassi and Dallapiccola appear. In the post-war period, the radical avant-garde (Nono, Maderna) adopts the dodecaphony following Dallapiccola, to break with the esthetics of the fascistic period. In 1955, inspired by the musical experiments of Cologne and Darmstadt, Berio and Maderna found the Studio of fonologia musical, attached to the SPOKE of Milan (radio Italian). Luciano Berio is characterized by innovations successful in the treatment from the voices, development well by that which was his wife and her favorite interpreter, Cathy Berberian: recourse to varied styles (folk, rock’n'roll), or to languages (Omaggio has Joyce, 1958) and to texts (Laborinthus II, 1965), like with new modes of expression in this kind of repertory (cries, murmurs, onomatopoeias, breaths).
Another composer representative of the avant-garde of the years 1960, Sylvano Bussotti, whose complexity of the language harms the refinement of the vocal writing by no means (Lorenzaccio, 1972): it incarnates one of the strongest characteristics and most durable of the Italian music.