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What is a pastoral?

Pastoral – (Latin pastoralis, French pastorale, shepherd, rural) – a genre in literature, painting, music and in the theater, poeticizing a peaceful and simple rural life. Pastoral can be called:

Pastoral music, which can include both large and small works, dedicated to the depiction of nature or rural life. Sizes 6/8, 12/8 are characteristic of the musical pastoral, the smooth calm movement of the melody, often doubled into a third. Examples of pastorals are in the works of A. Vivaldi, D. Scarlatti, F. Couperin, I. S. Bach and other composers. Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony is also known.
A pastoral can also be called a symphonic episode in a musical stage work, painting pictures of nature (for example, a pastoral in the music of J. Bizet to Arlesian A. Dode).

A small opera, pantomime, ballet, written on idealized plots from rural life. The first pastorals that arose in the 14–15 centuries. are the forerunners of classical opera (for example, the French “performance with songs” Tale of Robin and Marion). In the musical theater, the pastoral remained until the 18–19 centuries. (Mozart’s opera King the Shepherd, 1775; ballet Delibes Sylvia, 1876; etc.). Pastoral operas were written by K.V. Gluck, V.A. Mozart, J. B. Lully, J. F. Rameau.

Bucolic (from the Greek “shepherd”) poetry of antiquity, dedicated to depicting the life of shepherds. Synonyms – eclogue and idyll.

Type of European literature, copying bucolic worldview.

The genre of the court theater, which arose in Italy in the 16th century. and gained distribution in the countries of Western Europe. Pastoral was a small play, often introduced into the program of the court festivities. It depicted the rural life of gallant shepherds and shepherdesses, endowed with manners, feelings and vocabulary of the aristocracy.

In fact, the pastoral originates not from true theatrical genres – comedy and tragedy, but from “shepherd’s” poetry (in particular, from Bucolik Virgil). In the popularity of pastorals, we find indirect evidence in favor of the theory of conflict-free theater of the Italian Renaissance. The pastoral painted a special, embellished, idealized world, which has nothing to do with reality. It was the pastoral to the greatest extent consistent with the whole and harmonious renaissance attitude, and actually destroyed the theatrical art, turning the performance into “live pictures”. Nevertheless, the pastoral played a significant role in the history and theory of world theater. In the pastoral, the dramatic canon was finally entrenched, the development of which was begun in the Renaissance Italian tragedy, and later was perfected in the theoretical works of the French classicists: five-act structure, the unity of place, time and action, the strict social separation of characters by genre.

My dear friend, Amiable shepherdess …

So the shepherdess Prilepa sings, waiting for her lover – Milovzor. The rich Zlatogor tries to seduce the young beauty with innumerable treasures, but she rejects his harassment, remaining faithful to Milovzor. On this occasion, all the surrounding shepherds and shepherds are singing and dancing merrily. This is the content of a small episode – the pastoral “Sincerity of the Shepherdess” from the third picture of P. Tchaikovsky’s opera The Queen of Spades.

The name “pastoral” comes from the Latin word “pastoralis” – “shepherd.” The origins of this genre go back to Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, where poets and writers contrasted the city with an idealized life in the lap of nature, distinguished in their presentation of ingenuity of morals, simple-minded sincerity and fidelity in love.

In the XVII — XVIII centuries. the fashion for pastoral subjects in theater, poetry, and fine art has spread widely in the court-aristocratic circles of European countries. Many pastoral stories were included in old operas.
For composers, pastoral themes gave rise to the creation, especially in instrumental instrumental music, of many still deeply impressive images of nature, rural life, folk humor and festive fun. So, a series of pastoral paintings is a program of a cycle of four orchestral concerts “The Seasons” by A. Vivaldi.

L. Beethoven called his 6th symphony “Pastoral”. Here, each part has its own title: “Awakening of joyful feelings upon arrival in the village”, “Scene by the stream”, “Merry gathering of peasants”, “Thunderstorm. Storm “,” Singing of the shepherds. Joyful, grateful feelings after a thunderstorm. ”

At the beginning of the XX century. M. Ravel, using the plot of the pastoral novel of the ancient Greek writer Long, created the ballet “Daphnis and Chloe”, orchestral suites from which are often heard in symphony concerts.

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