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Music: Classical  
 
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In passing, Thomas also mentions the great likelihood that composer Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) was at least a Cardinal's kept boy in Rome. Other Baroque composers believed to be involved in homosexual liaisons include Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) and Johann Rosenmüller (ca 1619-1684).

Francesca Caccini (1587-1641), a professional singer and composer of both sacred and secular music, and often credited as the first woman opera composer, apparently lived a woman-centered life. Her work, including the Florentine court opera La liberazione di Ruggiero dall' isola d'Alcina (1625), has been interpreted as strongly gynocentric. This opera, for example, uses the normative master plot reinforcing patriarchal monarchy to show how the female co-regents of Florence might win by playing within the rules rather than lose by being perceived as too ambitious.

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Sometimes individual pieces by composers seem to be and thus subversive in nature. Or, conversely, composers sometimes alter their sources to disguise the homoeroticism that may have inspired their work. For example, Lydia Hamessley, in Queering the Pitch, argues that Henry Lawes deliberately misreads an erotic poem of attraction between women by Katherine Philips in his 1655 musical setting of the work to weaken the meaning of the text and reinforce the heterosexual norm. Playing against expected types in opera is also a means of exploring non-heterosexual ways of being.

The Classical and Romantic Period

The period of Mozart, Haydn, and most of Beethoven is characterized by a slowing of harmonic rhythm (or how fast the chords change), an emphasis on gracefulness, balance, and a move toward more instrumental compositions.

If the scholarly disagreements over Handel's alleged homosexuality are heated, even more contentious is the controversy over the strong likelihood that Franz Schubert (1797-1828) was also homosexual. Schubert is a transitional figure who bridges the end of the Classical period and the beginning of the Romantic period.

The Romantic compositional style is characterized by a loosening of the harmonic and melodic rules and an increased emphasis on new harmonies or harmonic relationships and dissonance (harmonic clashes) and on heightened emotional expressiveness and the rise of the piano as a favored compositional medium.

Schubert chose to compose along a deliberately different path from that outlined by the aggressive and hypermasculine Beethoven, who was held up as the model and measure for composers until at least World War I.

Music historians have remarked on a studied, carefully planned and executed deviance in Schubert's choice of materials and, especially, harmonies (cadences and moves to keys related by third rather than the more conventional dominant tonic or fifth-related motions) in relation to the creation of formal musical structures of sonata-allegro form: the traditional form of a first movement in the Classical and Romantic periods, beginning with an opening section, the exposition, repeated once, with two contrasting themes and a modulation or change of key center to the dominant or fifth; a middle section, the development, that explores the themes from the first section; and a closing section, the recapitulation, that restates the opening section, but now altered to end in the tonic.

As a result of these procedures and tendencies, Schubert has often been dismissed as a feminine or weak composer and this perceived "femininity" is sometimes related to his alleged homosexuality.

Much of the evidence for Schubert's homosexual orientation is circumstantial but nevertheless strong. It includes Schubert's own journal entries, accounts of him by his friends, and existing letters between Schubert and his friends. Schubert certainly moved in homophilic, if not actually homosexual, circles and some of his close friends were jailed on morals charges; but the case for Schubert's own homosexuality, while very suggestive, is not yet considered conclusive among scholars.

Although Robert Schumann once contrasted the "masculine" Beethoven to the "feminine" Schubert, Beethoven's intense preoccupation with his adopted nephew has invited speculation from some twentieth-century writers and filmmakers about his sexual orientation.

Similarly, the complicated, but apparently unconsummated, relationship of Schumann and Johannes Brahms has also been the subject of speculation.

More certain is the bisexuality of Frédéric Chopin.

At the end of the Romantic period are two more composers who were likely to have been homosexual: Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) and the lesser known Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921).

Tchaikovsky, well-known for his ballets such as Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty, his symphonies (especially the sixth, Pathétique), and the ever-popular 1812 Overture, was alleged to have committed suicide because, so the story goes, his sexual involvement with a minor noble of the Russian Imperial Court was about to be revealed, creating a scandal that would have ruined him. However, the composer's death from cholera is reliably documented.

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