The essay should be organized around a central thesis that is clearly stated in the introduction. The essay should integrate the following issues and material into the development of this thesis:
1. Identify a cultural theme or value exemplified by the work you have chosen, and link this theme or value to the sociopolitical context in which the work was produced. Why is this theme or value of relevance to the production of this work?
2. Who composed the work? Describe at least three important aspects of this composer’s social and cultural environment that shaped his or her professional life.
3. To what period in music history does this work belong? Define at least three important aspects of the musical style of this period. In broad terms, how does this work reflect the cultural, aesthetic, and/or political values of this period?
4. What is the genre of the work (i.e. opera, cantata, program symphony, etc.)? What are the basic characteristics and historical background of this genre? What kinds of expectations might audience members have had when encountering a new work in this genre?
5. Select at least one movement or extended section of the work and describe its distinctive stylistic, dramatic, and/or formal aspects as they relate to the cultural and aesthetic values of the period.

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