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ClassicsOnline is pleased to present these exclusive Guided Tours, prepared by Naxos musicologists and featuring music from the deep archives of the Naxos label.  These initial 4 tours cover the Classical, Romantic, and Baroque periods as well as an exploration of nationalism in the Romantic era.  The web experience features detailed essays on the composers, the compositions and the history that influenced the music.  While you read, feel free to listen to samples from the Guided Tour albums, built from the Naxos catalogue.  The multi-volume (typically 40 - 60 tracks) albums are available for purchase at terrific bargains and each comes with an attractive .pdf booklet so you can take your Guided Tours anywhere.

Featuring 8 specially priced samplers

The Baroque era, generally described as the period from around 1600 to the death of Johann Sebastian Bach in 1750, saw many changes – in musical style, technique, notation and performance practice. A number of highly influential developments took place: Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655–1731) is credited with a number of innovations in keyboard technology that created the prototype of the modern piano; Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683–1764) first theorised and published the foundations of modern Western harmony; and opera was born.

Featuring 3 specially priced samplers

Our understanding of the Classical era is closely bound up with the development of form, and especially sonata form (a particular kind of musical structure, within which one or more themes are developed and the relationship between keys is very important). The genre of the symphony evolved into the well-known form that we recognise today, and became extremely popular.

Featuring 8 specially priced samplers

Underpinning the Romantic era was the way in which music reflected the political upheavals of the period, as societies strived to throw off established autocratic rule. A sense of national identity became more evident in European music, with composers becoming acutely aware of their roots: among others, Schubert, Brahms and Wagner in Germany; Verdi and Bellini in Italy; Chopin, Debussy and Berlioz in France; Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky in Russia; Dvořák and Smetana in Eastern Europe; and Grieg in Norway.

Featuring 16 specially priced samplers

The Romantics were champions of the individual. Beethoven – the brilliant, troubled, fiercely idiosyncratic genius – was seen by his followers as the embodiment of greatness. Composers began to break down the boundaries between different genres and forms, resulting in a musical landscape full of contrasts: from massive symphonies to delicate, lyrical chamber music. The symphonic poem – a new form – took orchestral music into previously uncharted territory by abandoning classical forms and striving to ‘paint’ images, impressions and emotions with sound. Music was perceived not so much as entertainment (as it was during the eighteenth century) but as a unique and deeply personal form of self-expression.


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