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CLASSICAL  July 2001

CLASSICAL July 2001

Subject:

Re: Baroque Compositions in B Major

From:

Jill Peters <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 9 Jul 2001 10:50:44 EDT

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I realise that this won't answer your question exactly, but having just
completed a semester in Baroque History I found the following quite
interesting...  and thought you may as well.

   Johann Mattheson, from Das neu-eroffnete Orchestre (Hamburg, 1713)

   C major...  has a rather rude and bold charactre, but would not be
   unsuited to rejoicing and other situations where one otherwise gives
   full scope to joy.  Notwithstanding, a qualified composer can reshape
   it into something quite charming, especially when he chooses well
   the accompanying instruments, making it suitable also for application
   to tender situations.

   C minor...  is an extreamly sweet as well as also sad key:  however,
   because the first quality will prevail far too much and since one
   can become easily tired of this sweetness, therefore, nothing is lost
   when one gives the same a little more animation through a somewhat
   merry equal-bearing tempo.  Otherwise, some may easily become drowsy
   through its mildness.  Should it, however, be a piece thatis supposed
   to promote sleep, then one can omit this comment and soon arrive at
   this goal in a natural way.

   D major is by its nature somewhat sharp and headstrong; most suitable
   for alarms, for merry and warlike things, and those giving animation.
   Yet, no one will deny that this harsh key can also give pleasing and
   unusual introduction to delicate works when a flute replaces the
   clarino, a voilin replaces the timpani.

   D minor.  When one...  carefully examines this key, one will discover
   that it contains somethign devout, tranquil, together also with
   something grand and satisfyling.  Therefore, it is capable of promoting
   devotion in church music, but peace of mind in communi vita, although
   this does not hinder one from setting also something amusing with
   this key, though not particularly dancelike, but rather flowing.

   E flat major includes much pathos, and will have nothing volunatily
   to do with other than serious and at the same time sad works.  Also
   it is as if it were bittrely hostile to all sensuality.

   E major expresses incomparably well a despairing or wholly fatal
   sadness; it is most suited to the helpless or hopeless conditions
   of extreme love, and it has in certain circumstances something so
   piercing, separating, painfuly, and penetrating that it may be compared
   to nothing short of a total severing of the body from the soul.

   E minor...  can only with difficulity be joined to something merry,
   no matter how one employs it, because it usually is very pensive,
   profound, grieved, and sad, indeed, so much so that one even hopes
   at the same time for consolation.  Somethign quick may be composed
   with it, but that is not the same as something merry.

   F major...  is capable of expressing the most beautiful sentiments
   in the world, be they generosity, constancy, love, or something else
   contained high on the scale of virtues, and can do this with a most
   natural manner and incomparable facility so that absolutely no force
   is necessary.  Indeed, the niceness and suitability of this key cannot
   be better described than by comparing it to a handsome person who,
   in everything he does, no matter how unimportant, behaves perfectly
   ahd who, as the French say, has 'bonne grace'.

   F minor...  appears to represent tenderness and calm, as well as
   a profundity and weightiness not far from despair, a fatal mental
   anxiety; and it is exceedingly moving.  It expresses a black, helpless
   melancholy beautifully and at times will provoke the listener to
   horror or a shudder.

   F# minor, though it also leads to great sorrow is, however, more
   languishing and amorous than lethal; this key in other respects has
   something in it that is unrestrained, strange, and misanthropic.

   G major...  contains much that is suggestive and rhetorical; it shines
   not a little in this regard and is suitble to serious as well as gay
   things.

   G minor is almost the most beautiful key, because it not only mixes,
   in its relationship to the previous key, the rather serious with a
   lively sweetness, but introduces an extraordinary gracefulness and
   agreeableness, through which, being so thoroughly flexible, it is
   suited for the tender as well as the refreshing, for yearning as well
   as the diverting; in short, both for the moderate complaints and
   tempered joyfulness.

   A major...  is very affecting, even though at the same time brilliant,
   and is more inclined to complaining and sad passions rather than to
   divertissements.  It is especially suitable for violin music.

   The nature of A minor is somewhat plaintive, decorours, and resigned,
   inviting sleep, but by no means unplesant thereby.  Otherwise, it is
   especially suited to keyboard and instrumental music.

   B flat major is very diverting and magnificent; it retains also
   readily something modest, and it can at the same time pass for
   magnificent and dainty.

   B major seems...  to have in itself an offensive, harsh, and unpleasant
   as well as somewhat desperate character.

   B minor is bizarre, morose, and melancholic; for these reasons it
   seldom makes an appearance.

Jill Peters
[log in to unmask]

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