(redirected from Cantates)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to Cantates: cantata, oratorio, IMSLP


(kəntä`tə) [Ital.,=sung], composite musical form similar to a short unacted opera or brief oratoriooratorio
, musical composition employing chorus, orchestra, and soloists and usually, but not necessarily, a setting of a sacred libretto without stage action or scenery.
..... Click the link for more information.
, developed in Italy in the baroque period. The term was first used in 1620 to refer to strophic variations in the voice part over a recurrent melody in the bass accompaniment. Gradually the cantata came to contain contrasting sections of recitative and aria separated by instrumental passages, often in the current operatic style. In the second half of the 17th cent. the secular cantata was standardized by Stradella, Alessandro Scarlatti, and other members of the Neapolitan school into two arias with recitatives. This form was very popular through the 18th cent. as a vehicle for virtuoso singing. In France the cantata was adapted by Rameau to contain three arias with recitatives. In Germany the sacred cantata was more popular than the secular. It incorporated extensive choral and instrumental sections. A particular variety, the chorale cantata, utilized the verses of hymns and frequently the hymn tunes in various parts of the cantata. This type, as written by J. S. Bach, opens with a chorus, which is followed by recitatives and arias for each soloist, and then closes with a harmonized chorale. After Bach the cantata became, in general, a diminutive form of the oratorio.



a large work for voices and instruments, usually soloists, chorus, and orchestra. There are solemn, joyful, lyrical, sorrowful, and narrative cantatas in two basic types: secular and church (sacred). A cantata is usually made up of an orchestral introduction, arias, recitatives, and choruses. It is related to the oratorio but is written on a smaller scale, without dramatic plot development, and primarily in chamber style.

The cantata developed in Italy in the first half of the 17th century. Initially the Italian cantata was monodic; later it grew closer to opera. It flourished in the mid-17th century with the work of such composers as G. Carissimi, A. Stradella, and A. Scarlatti. The Italian cantatas were secular; the church cantata took shape in Germany, giving the chorus added importance in relation to the orchestra and soloists. J. S. Bach’s church and secular cantatas are among the greatest examples of the genre.

The first Russian cantatas were written in the 18th century. In the second half of the 19th century a number of significant cantatas were written by Russian composers of the classical school, including Tchaikovsky (Moscow), Rimsky-Korsakov (From Homer), S. I. Taneev, and S. Rachmaninoff. The Soviet cantata is distinguished by the heightened role of the chorus and the use of intonations from folk and popular songs. The most prominent themes are historical-heroic (Alexander Nevsky by Prokofiev and the symphony-cantata In Kulikovo Field by Iu. A. Shaporin) and patriotic (Cantata About the Motherland by A. G. Arutiunian and the symphony-cantata My Ukraine by A. Ia. Shtogarenko).


Khokhlovkina, A. Sovetskaia oratoriia i kantata. Moscow, 1955.
Shirinian, R. Oratoriia i kantata. Moscow, 1960.
Schmitz, E. Geschichte der Kantate und des geistlichen Konzerts, vol. 1: Geschichte der weltlichen Solokantate, [3rd ed.]. Hildesheim, 1965.



a musical setting of a text, esp a religious text, consisting of arias, duets, and choruses interspersed with recitatives
References in periodicals archive ?
As the title implies, his hybrid Cantates francoises en maniere de divertissements, designed to celebrate the Duchesse du Maine's Nuits de Sceaux of 1714-15,(39) borrow heavily from the divertissement in their form and style.
Garden, |Les amours de Venus et le second livre de cantates de Campra', Revue de musicologie, lxxvii (1991), p.
39) Les Nuits de Sceaux: concerts de chambre ou cantates francoises a plusieurs voix en maniere de divertissements (Paris, 1715).
Barthelemy, |Les cantates de Jean-Baptiste Stuck', Recherches sur la musique francaise classique, ii (1961)-2, pp.
La celebre Cantate quando ridi, ou un amant se meurt pour une belle bouche?
Volume 3 of this edition contains her two books of Cantates francoises, sur des sujets tirez de l'Ecriture published in Paris by Christophe Ballard in 1708 and 1711.
They comprise various preludes and interludes, and twice the number of movements found in the typical cantate francaise.
At exactly this time too, a newe form, the cantate francoise captured the hearts of Parisian society and remained tres a la mode for about 30 years.
At the climax of the cantate, when the nymph Syrinx is rescued from Pan's clutches in the nick of time by being transformed into a reed, Monteclair's instructions to the performers are most precise: words such as mesure, lent, silence and coule are marked into the score.
Cinq Recueils de Cantates & Airs Italiens, rel.
1711, Destouches]; Recueil d'Airs a boire [1714] de Cocherot [= Jacques Cochereau]; et l'Etrenne d'Itis [1736], Cantate par [Charles] Noblet
At the climax of the cantate, when the nymph Syrinx is rescued from Pan's clutches in the nick of time by being transformed into a reed, Monteclair's instruction to the performers are most precise: words such as mesure, lent, silence and coule are marked into the score.