THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

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THE CLASSICAL PERIOD (1775-1825)
The Baroque period culminated in the masterpieces of J.S. Bach and G.F. Handel. In the middle of the eighteenth century, contemporaneous with the mature years of Bach and Handel, a new musical style developed that is known as Rococo or preclassical style. This style is most evident in keyboard and orchestral music, but it is mentioned here because it represented a transition from the Baroque to the Classical era, occurring between 1725 and 1770.
In the world of painting, Rococo style is characterized by delicate colors, many decorative details, and a graceful and intimate mood. Similarly, music in the Rococo style is homophonic and light in texture, melodic, and elaborately ornamented. In France, the term for this was style galant (gallant or elegant style) and in Germany empfindsamer stil (sensitive style). François Couperin (1668-1733), in France, and two of the sons of J. S. Bach, C. P. E. Bach (1714-1788) and Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782), in Germany, were important composers of music in the Rococo style.
In the second half of the eighteenth century, a reaction against Rococo style occurred. There were objections to its lack of depth and to the use of decoration and ornamentation for their own sake. This led to the development of Classical style.
The Classical period itself lasted from approximately 1775 to 1825. The name classical is applied to the period because in art and literature, there was keen interest in, admiration for, and emulation of the classical artistic and literary heritage of Greece and Rome.
Intellectually, this era has also been labeled the Age of Enlightenment. Philosophers such as Rousseau, Voltaire, and Montesquieu wrote of the value of the common person and the power of human reasoning in overcoming the problems of the world. This revolution in thinking inevitably led to conflict between the old order and new ideas. The French and American revolutions in the last quarter of the eighteenth century

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