FOURTH PERIOD (18TH CENTURY) CONTINUED: MUSIC TO PLAYS, PROGRAMMATIC MATTER IN ALL KINDS OF VOCAL AND INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC AND MELODRAMA--SCHEIBE, AGRICOLA, ETC., GLUCK, C. PH. E. BACH, HAYDN, AND MOZART, ROUSSEAU, BENDA, ETC.
Programme music of a more serious kind than that discussed at the end of the preceding chapter we have in the music to plays--overtures and entr'actes--that began to be written in the second quarter of the 18th century. J. A. SCHEIBE ( 1708-1776) is said to have been the first to cultivate this field, writing in 1738 music to Corneille Polyeucte and Racine Mithridate. He tells us in the Kritischer Musikus (No. 67, p. 617) that the opening symphony must refer to the first act; the symphonies between the acts partly to the close of the preceding and partly to the beginning of the following act; and the concluding symphony to the last act. This double relation of the entr'actes has, however, not been generally adopted by composers. For instance, the later J. F. Agricola ( 1720-1774), in his music to Voltaire Semiramis, connects the entr'actes with the preceding act. Lessing discusses Agricola's music and the whole subject of music to plays in his Hamburgische Dramaturgie of July 28, 1767. He condemns entr'actes related to the following act because they anticipate and thereby weaken the effects of the play. Lessing's view was that in plays the orchestra takes the place of the antique chorus. This author also informs us that connoisseurs had long