La naissance de l’orchestre "moderne" (XVIIIe s.)

The birth of the modern orchestra (18th c.)

With the development of the concerto grosso followed by the concerto for one or more solo instruments, the 18th century saw the emergence of an instrumental ensemble no longer confined to the role of accompanist for singers but which instead comes to the fore on its own. In what today we see as a natural flow of events, this moment in fact marks the birth of the orchestra! It will continue to grow and add new colours (woodwinds... brass... timpani...) throughout the 18th century and will give rise to a genre that, like the instrumental sonata, is at first unassuming: the symphony. Tracing this fascinating trajectory, a century in the making, also reveals a musical language specific to the Enlightenment and developing in tandem with the emergence of the 'modern' orchestra—a seldom remarked process, to the point of passing unnoticed.

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