Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/768

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756

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��Spiita, in his Life of Bach (i. 681), mentions the same contrast as popular in Germany a little later, and refers to the publication of thirty Paduans and Gaillards by Johann Ghro of Dres- den in 1604. In such a manner originated the idea of joining different dance-tunes together to make an artistic balance and contrast, and in this lies the germ of the Suite ; in which, by selecting dances of various nationalities, and dis- posing them in the order which displayed their relative bearings on one another to the best ad- vantage, composers established the first secular instrumental cyclic art-form.

It is not possible, for want of materials, to trace fully the process of selection. The Pavans and Galliards dropped out of fashion very early, and Allemandes and Courantes came in, and soon became a sort of established nucleus, to which was sometimes appended a Sarabande, or even several other dance movements, and a Pre- lude. Indeed, when the principle of grouping movements together was once accepted, the specu- lations of composers in that line seem to have been only limited by their knowledge of dance- forms. It was in fact by experimenting with various methods of grouping that the most satisfactory succession was arrived at ; and thus many of the earlier suites contain a greater pro- fusion and variety than is found in those of the maturer period. In Purcell's suites, for instance, which date from the last 10 or 20 years of the 1 7th century, besides the Allemande and Cou- rante, which occupy just the very position in which they are found in the Suites of Bach and Handel ; in one case the group also comprises a Sarabande, Cebell, Minuet, Riggadoon, Intrade, and March ; while another contains a Trumpet tune and a Chacone, and another a Hornpipe. One of the most curious features in them is the absence of the Jig, which in the mature suite- form was the only one admitted of English origin. The opening with a Prelude is almost invariable ; and this is not astonishing, since this kind of movement (which can hardly be described as a 'form') was as familiar as the dances, from having been so often attempted by the early instrumental composers, such as Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, Bull, and Blow among Englishmen. The order of four movements which served as the nucleus in the large proportion of suites of the mature period is also occasionally, by accident, found very early; as for instance in one of the Suites of Froberger, which Nottebohm says was written in 1649 ; and another by Lully, which was probably written early in the second half of the same century.

These groups had however as yet no uniform distinctive title. In England, in common with other combinations of divisions or movements, they were generally called Lessons, or Suites of Lessons, and continued to be so called till after Handel's time. In Italy similar groups were called Sonate da Camera ; in Germany they were called Parties or Partitas, as in the Clavier- iibung of Kuhnau published in 1689, an( ^ the set of six by Johann Krieger published in 1697; and

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in France they were as yet commonly known as Ordres. Thus the fact evidently existed uni- versally for some time before the name by which it is now known came into general use.

The composers of different countries illustrated in different degrees the tendency towards con- solidation which is inevitable in an art-form. The steps taken by the Italians appear to be particularly important as illustrating the distinct tendencies of the Suite and the Sonata. Corelli's earlier Sonate da Camera are scarcely distinguish- able from the suite type, as they consist of a string of dance-tunes preceded by a prelude. The later sonatas or solos of his Opera Quinta, however, represent different types. Some still consist of dance tunes, but many also show a fair proportion of movements of more abstract nature ; and in several the dance element is, in name at least, quite absent. These are indeed a sort of combination of the church and chamber sonata into a secular form, adding a canzona or free fugal movement in the place of the alle- mande, and transmuting the other dance types into movements with general qualities analogous to the earlier sonatas. Where this abstract character prevailed, the type approached more distinctly to that of the modern sonata, and where the uniformity of a dance rhythm pre- vailed throughout, it approached more nearly to the suite type. In these cases the arrange- ment had already ceased to be a mere crude experiment in antithesis, such as the early balance of galliard and pavan, and attained to the dignity of a complete art-form. With the Italians the remarkable distinction of their l violin school led to the greater cultivation of the Violin Sonata, which though retaining a few dance-forms, differed markedly in their distribu- tion, and even in the structure of the movements. In both France and Germany, more attention seems to have been paid to the clavier, and with it to the suite form. The former country very early showed many proofs of appreciation of its principles; as an instance, the suite by Lulli in E minor, mentioned above, has the complete series of allemande, sarabande, courante, minuet, and gigue. But a little later, theatrical influences seem to have come into play, and Rameau and Couperin, though in many cases adopting the same nucleus to start with, added to it a pro- fusion of rondeaus and other short movements called by various eccentric names. In one of Couperin's Ordres the number of little pieces- amounts to no less than twenty-three; and in such a case it is clear that a sense of form or complete balance in the whole can hardly have been even aimed at. The movements are strung together in the same key, according to the re- cognised rule, as a series of agreeable ballet pieces, and the titles point to their belonging to quite a different order of art from that illustrated by the suite in its maturity. In fact their kin- ship must be attributed mainly to the order of programme music. Thus in the tenth Ordre of Couperin, the first number is called 'La Triom- i See SONATA, yol. ill. p. 559.

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