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MUL 2010
Cristina Verdesoto – Broward College
Romanticism 1820-1900

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:
o
fantasy, world of dreams, the supernatural and irrational
o NATURE
o The Middle Ages, there was a “Gothic Revival”
o Folk music from home countries or beyond
o Literature
o 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 musicians.
- 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
expressive.
- 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.
Romantic Composers:

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.
ART SONG:

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 poet, etc.
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 “Erlkonig” (or Erlking)
Ex. The Erlking
-
Art song (piano and voice)
-
A poem set to music
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
o 5 mvts
o For huge orchestra
o 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:
o Swan Lake
o The Nutcracker
o Sleeping Beauty
Romantic Opera

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"
o continuous flow of music (no recitatives, arias, etc)
o Included "leitmotifs": melodies associated with a character, place, idea, etc
o Dissonant, a lot of tension in music
o "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