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history:h_musrom1

History of the Romantic Era of Music

Introduction:

  • although the romantic era of literature only spanned 2 decades 1830-50, when applied to music, it is generally considered to include 1830-1900, when music was more emotional, with more picturesque expression being more important than formal or structural considerations as in the classical era.
  •  romantic era literature included works of Byron, Scott, Wordsworth, Goethe, Hugo, Gautier & Balzac.
  • there is blurring of the boundaries, with nationalism, impressionism & post-romanticism all impinging upon romanticism music
  • new instruments:
    • arpeggione - (guitare d'amour) invented 1823, guitar-shaped 6 string cello with fretted fingerboard, played with a bow
    • guitar, whilst an ancient instrument, became popular during 19thC
    • accordion - invented 1829 by Damian of Vienna
    • bass tuba - invented 1835
    • trumpet fitted with 3 valves - mid 19thC
    • saxophone - invented 1846 by Sax, a Belgium instrument maker, but not popularised till mid-20thC by jazz/blues
  • music styles:
    • csardas:
      • Hungarian dance in 2 parts (slow introductory lassu followed by excited main section in duple time, friss) which has a wild gypsy flavour, but its origin is probably from aristocrats in the 1830's & popularised at fashionable balls.
    • nocturnes
    • polonaises
    • mazurkas
    • cotillon:
      • elaborate ballroom dance popular in 19thC as final dance of the evening
      • music was simply that of various waltzes, mazurkas, etc.
      • in earlier centuries was akin to quadrille
    • Vienna waltzes
      • eg. Strauss dynasty
    • american military march:
      • eg. Sousa
    •  

Composers:

  • Weber, Carl (1786-1826):
    • German composer, pianist, conductor
    • liberated German music from Italian influences & showed how to shape folk songs into operatic and other forms
    • was a significant influence on the Romantic composers that succeeded him such as Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Wagner
  • Berlioz (1803-69):
    • French composer & conductor
    • music composed:
      • orchestral:
        • Symphony Fantastique (1830)
      • opera:
        • Les Troyens (1856-8)
      • vocal:
        • Grand' messe des morts (requiem) (1837)
        • Les nuits d'ete (1840-56)
  • Chopin, Frederic (1810-49):
    • Polish composer, pianist
    • taking the name 'nocturne' from John Field, he transformed the form, as he did everything, by harmonic imagination & melodic distinction
    • there are bold, prophetic passages in his musical ornamentation derived from his admiration for Italian opera
    • his Polish works such as his mazurkas & polonaises, a raw passion elemental in its strength
    • music compositions:
      • piano:
        • nocturnes
        • polonaises
        • mazurkas
        • Fantasie Impromptu (1835)
  • Schumann, Robert (1810-56):
    • German composer, pianist, conductor
  • Liszt, Franz (1811-86):
    • Hungarian composer & pianist - perhaps the greatest pianist of all time
    • a friend of Berlioz & Chopin & influenced Wagner, R. Strauss
    • his piano works are in a category of their own, the symphonic poems developed a new art form, being compelling & imaginative, the religious works moving & visionary
    • he remains a romantic enigma of music, a genius with a touch of charlatan, a virtuoso with the flair of an actor-manager, a man generous to colleagues and to the young
    • his championship of Wagner in the Weimar years, with its subsequent effect on Brahms & Schumann, thereby causing the great schism in 19thC music, had incalculable results on the art
    • music compositions:
      • symphonic poems:
        • Orpheus (1854)
      • sacred choral:
      • secular choral
      • piano:
        • Liebestraume (1850)
        • Berceuse (1854)
        • Hungarian rhapsodies (1846-85)
  • Wagner, Richard (1813-83):
    • German composer, conductor & writer
    • one of a handful of composers who changed the course of music
    • expounded his theory of music drama, unifying music & drama, superseding all other considerations
    • his music was richly expressive, intensely illustrative, and on the grandest scale, dominated the 19th C & split the music world into opposing factions
    • the chromaticism of Tristan, he took tonality to its limits & opened the way for the Schoenbergian revolution
    • his operas required a new technique of singing & a new breed of singers with the intelligence to convey the subtleties of his art.
    • music compositions:
      • opera:
        • Tannhauser (1845)
        • Lohengrin (1848)
        • Der ring des Nibelungen:
          • Das Rheingold (1854)
          • Die Walkure (1856)
          • Siegfried (1857)
          • Gotterdammerung (1874)
        • Tristan und Isolde (1859)
      • orchestral:
        • Rule, Brittania (1837)
        • Faust (1840)
  • Smetana, Bedrich (1824-84):
    • Bohemian composer, pianist & conductor
    • regarded as founder of Czech music
    • music compositions:
      • opera:
        • The Bartered Bride (1866)
  • Strauss, Johann I (1804-49):
    • Austrian composer, conductor & violinist
    • founder of 'Strauss Waltz Dynasty', father of Johann II
    • main surviving musical work: Radetzky March (1848)
  • Strauss, Johann II  (1825-99):
    • Austrian composer, conductor & violinist
    • eldest son of Johann I, friend & admirer of Wagner
    • deservedly known as the 'Waltz King', composing nearly 400 waltzes which have come to epitomise Viennese gaiety & sentiment, best known are:
      • Blue Danube (1867)
      • Roses from the South (1880)
      • Emperor Waltz (1888)
      • Tales from the Vienna Woods (1868)
  • Saint Saens, Camille (1835-1921):
    • French virtuoso pianist, organist & composer who excelled in Mozart & praised for his purity & grace of his playing
    • revived interest in older music esp. Bach, Handel & Rameau & later, influenced Faure & Ravel
    • operas - Samson & Delilah (1877)
    • witty frolic - Le carnaval des animaux (1886)
    • symphony #3 “organ”
    • Danse macabre
history/h_musrom1.txt · Last modified: 2019/01/15 20:05 by gary1