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date: 20 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The topical label of Sturm und Drang, which draws on parallels between certain movements of Haydn’s middle-period symphonies and the trend in German Romantic literature (Wyzewa 1909) was deemed misguided and no longer fit for purpose in the discipline of topic theory. In this chapter it is replaced by tempesta. This termacknowledges the origins of the topic not in Haydn’s symphonies, but in early opera, since the musical language clearly derives from depictions of storms and other devastations in the theater. Tempesta is to be regarded as the counterpart of ombra, the menacing style of music associated with the supernatural. Both styles are often juxtaposed in infernal scenes, where the creeping terror of ombra is contrasted with the fast frenzy of tempesta. The aesthetic framework for these topics is Burke’s “sublime of terror” (1758) rather than the German literary Sturm und Drang.

Keywords: ombra, tempesta, Sturm und Drang, sublime, fear, terror, awe, supernatural

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