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Late Romantic Period 1850-1910
Characteristics of Romantic Period
o Emotion design over intellectual design
o Individual over society
o Music increased in length and changed emotion often in the same piece
Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)
o French composer
o Known for writing for large orchestras, sometimes over 1000 musicians
o An Episode in the Life of an Artist (Symphonie Fantastique)
• Convinced that his love is spurned, the artist poisons himself with
opium. The dose of narcotic, while too weak to cause his death,
plunges him into a heavy sleep accompanied by the strangest of
visions. He dreams that he has killed his beloved, that he is
condemned, led to the scaffold and is witnessing his own
execution. The procession advances to the sound of a march that is
sometimes sombre and wild, and sometimes brilliant and solemn,
in which a dull sound of heavy footsteps follows without transition
the loudest outbursts. At the end of the march, the first four bars of
the idée fixe reappear like a final thought of love interrupted by the
fatal blow.
Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
o German composer and theatre director
o Known for opera – big dramatic works
• Built his own opera house in order to be able to accommodate his
• Subjects drawn from Norse mythology
o Lohengrin – Bridal Chorus
o Die Walkure
Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
o Hungarian composer and virtuoso pianist
o Used gypsy music as basis for compositions
o Created modern piano playing technique
o Invented the form of Symphonic Poem or Tone Poem
Music based on art, literature, or other “nonmusical” idea
One movement with several ‘ideas’ that move freely throughout
the piece
o Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
o German composer and pianist
o Last of the great Romantic composers, but a Classicist at heart
o Inspired by Bach and Beethoven
o Believed in form and structure, disliked rebelliousness of Wagner and
o Grew up poor with little early training, often rude, sloppy, and mean
o Music is mellow and noble
o Hungarian Dance No. 5