Bach Italian Influences and Italian Style Works

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When one considers the concerto form, ritornello, sonata, oratorio, opera, cantata, recitative, aria, arioso, the violin (and viol) family of string instruments, basso continuo practice, indeed the very monodic idiom, the very foundation of baroque music, is wholly Italian in origin, rather than French. Indeed Bach himself placed in proper historical perspective, whose musical language is essentially a mix of Italian monodic forms with Netherlanders polyphony, chorale hymns and some pompous French overtures and dances, lived in a time when Lutheran church music and organ playing was in decline ( that the German countryside, a playground for French imperialism, had been robbed of its former populations by wars, plunder, famine and disease,). The new Italian style of music, resisted for decades by the absolutist French regime who fought to prevent its spread to the German-speaking lands, flooded north like a veritable fresh-water river of inspiration for German composers like Bach. It is worthwhile to consider that without the Italians, eighteenth-century European music as we would know it would perhaps only consist, aside from courtly love songs, church and a vast array of folk music, of various forms of polyphony for marching wind bands, and Bach himself would probably be known only to music historians as an obscure figure confined to the organ lofts of various 18th century German towns, robbed even of his own beloved Bach fugue, whose structure is in Vivaldi style, as well as the very structure and form of his church cantatas. When it became clear in the mid-nineteenth century that Bach scholars were in danger of losing their indigenous hero composer away from the cause of nineteenth-century nationalist sentiment, the academics, in a desperate shift of tactics (birthing a mythology which continues to flourish on-line), played down these foreign influences in

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