The Reformation And Counterreformation Of The Renaissance

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The Reformation and Counterreformation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had a decisive impact not only on the architecture of the time, moving from the harmony and balance of the Renaissance to the painted heavens, extreme ornamentation and disturbance captured in the concave and convex form of the Baroque, but was also replicated in the musical forms of the opera and the art of the castrati singers of the period. In the church building, the basilica form was resurrected, not only bringing public and priests into a shared space, but changing the church service to a more participatory experience, in which music (particularly, the organ) played a significant part. In Germany, profound differences developed between the churches and organs of the Protestant north and Catholic south. In Southern Germany and Austria, organs were seen as decorative elements within the Baroque decoration of the church, to the point that the sound qualities of the instrument were sacrificed in order for the organ to fit into a specific architectural space. Here the organ disappears in the overwhelming Baroque decoration and is considered nothing but a theatrical element in the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ (the total work of art). The most famous organ builders and greatest organs were all in northern Europe – for example, Arp Schnitger, who built the great organ of St. Jacobi in Hamburg in 1693, where Johann Sebastian Bach applied for the position of organist in 1720 (and was rejected), Zacharias

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