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Important Composers
Frédéric Chopin
and the
Johannes Brahms
Franz Liszt
Frederic Chopin and the Nocturne
• Polish, lived in Warsaw
• “Poet of the Piano”
• Prodigy in piano performance and
• Political unrest and “Great Emigration” sent
him to Paris around age 20.
• Preferred intimate, salon performances
• Supported himself independently by selling
compositions and teaching piano.
• Known for innovating the NOCTURNE:
“a musical composition inspired by, or evocative of, the night”
Lyrical melody in the right hand
“broken chords” in the left hand (rhythmic accompaniment and support)
Use of pedal and rubato
Inspiration drawn from Baroque counterpoint and Classical sonata!
• Wrote a collection of 21 Nocturne’s from 1827-1846
• Considered some of the finest nocturne’s in history, still often performed.
Johannes Brahms and the Concerto
• German, born in Hamburg, but spent much of life in
Vienna (Austria)
• Virtuosic pianist and composer, great leader.
• Lasting influence: One of the “Three Bs”
• Bach, Beethoven, Brahms
• Loved history: honored the “purity” of
counterpoint and development, while innovating
them with Romantic style!
• Was a perfectionist, often struggled.
• Took years to complete music, often re-wrote entire
• Wrote 2 concerti for piano (over the span of 22 years!)
• A piece of music to showcase the ability of one instrument
• Often in ritornello form, “tutti – solo – tutti – solo”
• NEW Romantic ideas! Bigger, longer, grander!
Orchestra featured just as importantly as soloist
Piano solo does not enter until after four full minutes!
40-50 minutes long for three movements
Three OR four movements!
Franz Liszt and Nationalism
• Hungarian
• Known for composing, transcribing/arranging,
conducing, and teaching… BUT most famous
for virtuosic piano performance
• Liszt-o-mania or Liszt Fever (coined in 1844)
• “most technically advanced pianist of his age”
• Influential in composition for dramatic
“thematic transformation”
• One of the leaders of musical nationalism
• Writing music with particular characteristics or styles that reflect love
of (or pride in) one’s homeland
• Often inspired by folk music/learning by rote/childhood experiences
• Ex: “Gypsy Scale” (similar to minor tonality, but a “raised fouth”)
Waltz Comparison
Brahms – Waltz in Ab
Liszt – Waltz No. 1