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Music History : Vienna

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Essay title: Music History : Vienna

I. In the reading, "Vienna under Joseph II and Leopold II," the major opera theatre was called the Burgtheater. This particular theater sat 1350 audience members. These audience members sat in various locations within this theater. The, "parterre noble," sat right in front of the stage and was reserved for the nobility. The first two tiers of boxes were also reserved for nobility except for those belonging to the imperial family, or reserved for foreign ambassadors. Behind the, "Parterre noble," the second parterre, parts of the third tier boxes and the upper gallery were open to anyone who could cough up the money for the seats. These were mainly for the wealthier members of the Vienna's middle class, along with foreign visitors. As with any show there are nosebleed cheap seats. The price of the cheap seats in the most upper parts of the theater, which were called the, "Paradies," had a reduced price from twenty kreuzer to seven. Seven seems like a reasonable price but this price was still out of reach for many Viennese. The central income for the theater was the rental of boxes from the nobility and they had to clean out their wallets. The annual fee for a box ran from 700 to 1000 guldens and that translates to one gulden is equal to sixty kreuzer.

Most of the audience had attended the theater for a generation or maybe even more than that. They were generally accustomed to the music of high quality that had been performed by Gluck, Traetta, Gassmann and Haydn. Those who had witnessed those performances held high standard and expected the same level of quality from the composers and performers. The music that was played there was influenced by wealthy Viennese aristocracy. They were willing and able to spend large amounts of money on music. As the century progressed, less strict rules for the music allowed the composer to have more influence on the music that was played. Mozart, who argued with the Archbishop of Salzburg, had a most likely conflict between the newer style and of the older style. The orchestra grew increasingly larger throughout the century, but strangely enough the strings remained at the constant 24 members and didn't change. There were many types of music played within the theater walls form various composers. Vienna at the time was attractive to bohemian musicians. These are musicians that disregard conventional standards of behavior in writing their music. These musicians included Antonio Salieri, Mozart, Haydn, and Glucks among other composers as well too. The nobility, around 1776, wanted more of opera comique and opera buffa, since they financially had a great input on the theater, there demands carried great importance of the music styles in the theater. The emperor brought all aspects of theater management under the direct supervision of the court. He ordered that the opera buffa and ballet troupes be written off. Later on, some plays had endings that were suitable though that had a resemblance to an opera buffa ending, and some performances were influenced by the opera seria type of play format. In 1776, he re-established that Opera buffa troupe in the Burgtheater. During Lent, Such operas or any operas for that matter could be played in the Burgtheater.

The movie, Amadeus, depicted several aspects of the theater, its audience and the works performed there. The theater was generally accurate with the description in article and the seating capacity and arrangements were also accurate. There was one play where Mozart's fiancee's mother was very close to the stage and this would not be the case since she was not a wealthy patron, unless she had saved up bundles of money to get decent seats. The works performed there would have probably been regulated slightly more than just letting the composer have his way, but most of his music did go through screenings by people higher than Mozart. The movie was mostly accurate and it was also accurate in making people look like doofus's with their wigs on.

Another musical venue is set within the home. There was a demand from the upper middle class to have music that could be performed within the home. They not only wanted this but they stipulated it. Since the upper middle classes and upper classes were well trained in music, written music could be given to them for them to play for a reasonable cost. Music publishing began around the time that in home music was begun. Home performances could be done with a quartet set up with four well-educated and well-trained musicians. Almost all the musicians had their music published, some were reluctant to do so, but this allowed others to attempt their musical composition. Most people could not afford to have the artist who wrote the music come in and play so they bought the published copies of the music to be played. Many played piano sonatas, both solo and accompanied with a violin or by a violin

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