In the development of classicism, two historical stages are noted. Growing from the art of the Renaissance, the classicism of the 17th century developed simultaneously with the Baroque, partly in the struggle, partly in its interaction with it, and during this period the greatest development was in France. The late classicism associated with the Enlightenment, approximately from the middle of the 18th to the beginning of the 19th century, is associated primarily with the Viennese classical school.
The complex relationship between classicism and baroque at the beginning of the twentieth century gave rise to a discussion: many musicologists, especially in Germany, view baroque as a single style of European music between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment – until about the middle of the 18th century, before Bach and Handel. In France, in the homeland of classicism, some musicologists, on the contrary, were inclined to overly broad interpretation of this concept, considering the baroque style as one of the particular manifestations of classicism.
The periodization of the epochs is complicated by the fact that in different national cultures musical styles have spread at different times; it is indisputable that in the middle of the 18th century, classicism triumphed almost everywhere. This direction includes, in particular, the reformist operas of Gluck, the early Viennese and Mannheim schools. The highest achievements of classicism in music are associated with the activities of the Viennese classical school – with the works of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven.
Classicism, as an artistic direction, developed in France in the first half of the 17th century: an interest in ancient culture that arose in the Renaissance, which in different types of art imitated ancient models, in absolutist France turned into a normative aesthetics based on Aristotle’s Poetics and supplemented it with the series of special rigid requirements.
The aesthetics of classicism was based on the belief in the reasonableness and harmony of the world order, which manifested itself in the attention to the balance of the parts of the work, the careful refinement of details, the development of the basic canons of musical form. It was during this period that the sonata form was finally formed, based on the development and contrast of the two contrasting themes, the classical composition of the parts of the sonata, and the symphony was determined.
In the development of classicism, two historical stages are noted. Growing from the art of the Renaissance, the classicism of the 17th century developed simultaneously with the Baroque, partly in the struggle, partly in its interaction with it, and during this period the greatest development was in France.