Virtuoso

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Some known Virtuosi. Top row, from left: Franz Liszt, Frédéric Chopin, Niccolò Paganini, Georges Cziffra. Middle row, from left: Sergei Rachmaninoff, Antonio Vivaldi, Yo-Yo Ma, Charles-Valentin Alkan. Bottom row, from left: Krystian Zimerman, Arthur Rubinstein, Jorge Bolet, Valentina Lisitsa.
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(October 2018) Virtuosi Collage.jpg
Some known Virtuosi. Top row, from left: Franz Liszt, Frédéric Chopin, Niccolò Paganini, Georges Cziffra. Middle row, from left: Sergei Rachmaninoff, Antonio Vivaldi, Yo-Yo Ma, Charles-Valentin Alkan. Bottom row, from left: Krystian Zimerman, Arthur Rubinstein, Jorge Bolet, Valentina Lisitsa.

A virtuoso (from Italian virtuoso [virˈtwoːzo] or [virtuˈoːso] , "virtuous", Late Latin virtuosus, Latin virtus, "virtue", "excellence" or "skill") is an individual who possesses outstanding technical ability in a particular art or field such as fine arts, music, singing, playing a musical instrument, or composition. [1] This word also refers to a person who has cultivated appreciation of artistic excellence, either as a connoisseur or collector. The plural form of virtuoso is either virtuosi or the Anglicisation, virtuosos, and the feminine forms are virtuosa and virtuose.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. In spite of not existing any Italian community in their respective national territories and of not being spoken at any level, Italian is included de jure, but not de facto, between the recognized minority languages of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and other regional languages.

Late Latin Written Latin of late antiquity

Late Latin is the scholarly name for the written Latin of late antiquity. English dictionary definitions of Late Latin date this period from the 3rd to the 6th centuries AD, and continuing into the 7th century in the Iberian Peninsula. This somewhat ambiguously defined version of Latin was used between the eras of Classical Latin and Medieval Latin. There is no scholarly consensus about exactly when Classical Latin should end or Medieval Latin should begin. However, Late Latin is characterized by an identifiable style.

Art diverse range of human activities

Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author's imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.

Contents

According to Music in the Western civilization by Piero Weiss and Richard Taruskin: [2]

Piero Weiss was an Italian-American pianist and musicologist. Born in Trieste, his mother was a symphony violinist and the niece of novelist Italo Svevo. In 1938, at the age of 10, he fled Fascist Italy with his family, ending up in New York City in 1940. In New York, he studied piano with Isabella Vengerova and Rudolf Serkin, music theory and composition with Karl Weigl, and chamber music with Adolf Busch. In 1944, at the age of 16, he began his career as a concert pianist. He performed throughout the United States and Europe up into the 1960s, and also performed for radio broadcasts. He recorded works by Debussy. Ravel, Schubert, and Schumann.

Richard Taruskin American writer

Richard Taruskin is an American musicologist, music historian, and critic who has written about the theory of performance, Russian music, 15th-century music, 20th-century music, nationalism, the theory of modernism, and analysis. As a choral conductor he directed the Columbia University Collegium Musicum. He played the viola da gamba with the Aulos Ensemble from the late 1970s to the late 1980s. Taruskin received his B.A. magna cum laude (1965), M.A. (1968) and Ph.D. in historical musicology (1976) from Columbia University.

...a virtuoso was, originally, a highly accomplished musician, but by the nineteenth century the term had become restricted to performers, both vocal and instrumental, whose technical accomplishments were so pronounced as to dazzle the public.

The defining element of virtuosity is the performance ability of the musician in question, who is capable of displaying feats of skill well above the average performer.

Especially in music, both critics and musicians have mixed opinions on virtuosity. While the skill implied is clearly positive, musicians focused on virtuosity have been criticized for overlooking substance and emotion in favor of raw technical prowess. [3]

More commonly applied in the context of the fine arts, the term can also refer to a 'master' or 'ace' who excels technically within any particular field or area of human knowledge—anyone especially or dazzlingly skilled at what they do. [1] For instance, Ken Jennings' initial success on Jeopardy! was described as a "virtuoso performance. [4] "

Jeopardy! is an American television game show created by Merv Griffin. The show features a quiz competition in which contestants are presented with general knowledge clues in the form of answers, and must phrase their responses in the form of questions. The original daytime version debuted on NBC on March 30, 1964, and aired until January 3, 1975. A weekly nighttime syndicated edition aired from September 1974 to September 1975, and a revival, The All-New Jeopardy!, ran on NBC from October 1978 to March 1979. The current version, a daily syndicated show produced by Sony Pictures Television, premiered on September 10, 1984.

History

The meaning of virtuoso has its roots in the Italian usage of the 16th and 17th centuries, signifying an honorific term reserved for a person distinguished in any intellectual or artistic field. The term evolved with time, simultaneously broadening and narrowing in scope as interpretations went in and out of fashion and debates unraveled. Originally a musician was considered a virtuoso by being an accomplished composer, theorist, or maestro, rather than a skilled performer. [5]

Maestro title of extreme respect given to a master musician

Maestro is an honorific title of respect. The term is most commonly used in the context of Western classical music and opera, in line with the ubiquitous use of Italian musical terms.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the word shifted in meaning, and many musicians applied it without considering merit, sometimes to themselves. Sébastien de Brossard in his Dictionnaire de Musique (Paris, 1703) [6] [7] approached the word virtuoso by its Latin root virtu emphasizing exceptional training, especially in theory. This position was also defended in Johann Gottfried Walther's Musicalisches Lexicon (1732) favoring the theorist over the performer. Johann Mattheson's Der brauchbare Virtuoso [8] (1720) maintained the respect for the traditional "theoretische Virtuosen" (theoretical virtuoso) but also paid tribute to the "virtuosi prattici" (performer virtuoso).

Sébastien de Brossard French composer and music theorist

Sébastien de Brossard, pronounced [se.bɑs.tjẽ də brɔ.saːr], was a French music theorist, composer and collector.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

Johann Gottfried Walther German musician and composer

Johann Gottfried Walther was a German music theorist, organist, composer, and lexicographer of the Baroque era.

Johann Kuhnau in his The Musical Charlatan (Der musikalische Quack-Salber, 1700) defined the "true virtuoso" once again emphasizing theory ("der wahre Virtuose") describing the "highly gifted musician" ("der glückselige Musicus") or "performer virtuoso" as having nothing more than practical facility.

In the late 18th century, people began to use the term to describe an instrumentalist or vocalist who pursued a career as a soloist. The tension about the merit of practical virtuosity started to grow at the same time and intensified in the 19th century, only to remain an open debate since then. Franz Liszt, considered one of the greatest of all virtuosos, declared that "virtuosity is not an outgrowth, but an indispensable element of music" (Gesammelte Schriften, iv, 1855–9). Richard Wagner opposed the triviality and exhibitionist talents of the performer voicing his opinion strongly:

The real dignity of the virtuoso rests solely on the dignity he is able to preserve for creative art; if he trifles and toys with this, he casts his honour away. He is the intermediary of the artistic idea [9]

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Coloratura

The word coloratura is originally from Italian, literally meaning "coloring", and derives from the Latin word colorare. When used in English, the term specifically refers to elaborate melody, particularly in vocal music and especially in operatic singing of the 18th and 19th centuries, with runs, trills, wide leaps, or similar virtuoso-like material. Its instrumental equivalent is ornamentation. It is also now widely used to refer to passages of such music, operatic roles in which such music plays a prominent part, and singers of these roles.

Henri Bertini French composer

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Music criticism

The Oxford Companion to Music defines music criticism as 'the intellectual activity of formulating judgements on the value and degree of excellence of individual works of music, or whole groups or genres'. In this sense, it is a branch of musical aesthetics. With the concurrent expansion of interest in music and information media over the past century, the term has come to acquire the conventional meaning of journalistic reporting on musical performances.

Musique mesurée à l'antique was a style of vocal musical composition in France in the late 16th century. In musique mesurée, longer syllables in the French language were set to longer note values, and shorter syllables to shorter, in a homophonic texture but in a situation of metric fluidity, in an attempt to imitate contemporary understanding of Ancient Greek music. Although this compositional method did not attain popularity at first, it attracted some of the most famous composers of the time. Its basis in a desire to re-create the artistic ethos of Ancient Greece, especially in respect to text declamation, had a strong similarity to contemporary movements in Italy, such as the work of the Florentine Camerata which engendered the first operas, and brought about the beginning of the Baroque era in music.

Spiccato[spikˈkaːto] is a bowing technique for string instruments in which the bow appears to bounce lightly upon the string. The term comes from the past participle of the Italian verb spiccare, meaning "to separate". The terms martelé, saltando, and sautillé describe similar techniques.

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Antoine de Cousu [Du Cousu] was a French cleric, Kapellmeister, composer and theorist, active in Picardy in the first half of the 17th century.

References

  1. 1 2 "Merriam-Webster Online, Official Definition" . Retrieved 2009-09-21.
  2. Weiss, Piero; Taruskin, Richard (1984). Music in the Western World: A History in Documents. Schirmer. p. 430. ISBN   0-02-872900-5.
  3. Bose, Sudip. "On Virtuosity." The American Scholar. http://theamericanscholar.org/on-virtuosity/
  4. http://www.computerhistory.org/atchm/ibms-watson-jeopardy-computer-comes-to-chm/
  5. "Grove Music Online". Grove Music Online. Retrieved 2006-03-14.
  6. Sebastien, de Brossard (1703). Dictionnaire de Musique (2nd ed.). Paris: Christophe Ballard.
  7. Morton, Joëlle. "Brossard". Joëlle Morton. Retrieved 2006-08-24.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2006-08-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. Gesammelte Schriften; English translation, vii, 1894–9, p. 112