- Cultural movement that emphasized emotion, subjectivity and imagination.
- Artists stressed individuality and freedom of expression. Their personalities came through in their works, many were autobiographical.
- Several sources of inspiration for Romantics:
- Fantasy, world of dreams, the supernatural and irrational
- The Middle Ages, there was a “Gothic Revival”
- Folk music from home countries or beyond
- Romantic love
- The Industrial Revolution caused great changes in society, bigger urban areas, larger middle class.
- Paris, France becomes artistic center of Europe.
Characteristics of Romantic Music:
- Individuality of style
- Expressive subjects
- Expressive tone color (importance of specific instruments). Larger orchestra ~100
- Exploited and played with the sounds of instruments, register, dynamics, tempo, etc.
p, pp, pppp, f, ff, ffff
- The piano was the favorite instrument, which had been improved in the 1800’s to be
- More colorful harmony, more dissonances and tension.
- Forms were mostly the same from Classical period (symphonies, concertos, etc) but
either much larger, or “miniatures”: very short works.
NATIONALISM – important political movement that influenced music. Love for one’s own country, its history, legends, folk music, etc. More intently felt within smaller, less dominant nations.
- In U.S., Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869), first American concert pianist to gain recognition, wrote music using African-American, Cuban, Latin influences.
EXOTICISM – fascination with music or culture from foreign lands. (Asia, Africa, etc)
PROGRAM MUSIC – music that has a “program”, it has a title and is associated with a story, poem, scene, idea.
- Inspired by Beethoven as “free artist”.
- Wrote music to fulfill their needs, not as commissions. Most were middle class
people from non-musical families and who wrote music for a middle class audience.
- Had no wealthy patrons, aristocracy could no longer afford orchestras/composers.
- More public concerts, music organizations and conservatories formed. More music students than ever before.
- Virtuoso players and solo recitals appear.
- The piano is very important and very popular, many people had one at home.
- Composers had to teach, perform, conduct or write besides writing music to make ends meet.
- Piece for voice and piano. The piano sets scene.
- Based on poetry.
- Known as “Lied” (the German term for art song with German text)
- Strophic: same music for all stanzas.
- Through-composed: different music for each stanza.
- Song cycle: set of several songs unified by a similar theme, same
FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
- Austrian composer and pianist
- Wrote many works for orchestra, piano and voice for the middle class.
- Spent his time at “Schubertiads”, playing his music.
- Known for his more than 600 art songs like the “Erlking”
FREDERIC CHOPIN (1810-1849)
- Polish composer and virtuoso pianist
- Wrote almost exclusively for the piano, made the piano “sing” with very passionate, lyrical melodies.
- Moved to Paris, gave lessons, performed, wrote music. Lived in luxury.
- Ex. Nocturne Op.9 No. 2
- A nocturne was a light piece intended to be played at night. For piano solo.
FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886)
- Hungarian virtuoso pianist and composer
- Waned to become the “Paganini of the Piano”, practiced a lot to become greatest pianist in Europe.
- Handsome, charismatic showman with incredible ability for piano. Considered a“ living legend”
- Taught piano, wrote books, conducted.
- Wrote many piano works exploiting the piano, created the “symphonic poem” (1 mvt orchestral work based on literature)
- Inspired by death, the devil, the supernatural.
HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
- French composer
- Wrote mainly monumental orchestral and vocal works.
- Wrote a program symphony: “Symphonie Fantastique”, based on an autobiographical story
- 5 mvts
- For huge orchestra
- includes “fixed idea” – recurring melody representing the “beloved”
PIOTR ILYCH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
- Russian composer
- International style mixed with Russian flavor
- Wrote symphonies, concertos, and very famous ballets:
- Swan Lake
- The Nutcracker
- Sleeping Beauty
- Mainly Italian composers such as Verdi and Puccini.
- Bel canto (beautiful singing) opera, some of the most beloved and well-known operas.
RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883)
- German composer
- Wrote mainly orchestral works and operas
- Involved in all aspects of his operas: music, libretto, production, scenery, etc.
- Called his operas “music dramas”
- continuous flow of music (no recitatives, arias, etc)
- Included “leitmotifs”: melodies associated with a character, place, idea, etc
- Dissonant, a lot of tension in music
- “The Ring” – set of 4 operas, well known
- Built his own concert hall to perform his operas in Bayreuth, Germany
- German nationalist, his music was Hitler’s favorite and was used as Nazi propaganda.