What usually causes a new style to emerge? Developments (Baroque) Rejection of old style (Classical) Invention of something new (Modern) Why did the Romantic style emerge? Romantic composers copied the great Classical composers and followed the standard rules. However, they expanded them…
Classical era had strict laws of balance and restraint – Romantic composers allowed for artistic freedom, experimentation, and creativity. The music was very expressive and the melody was the dominant feature. Nationalism became a driving force in the late Romantic period. Composers used folk music as the subjects of their melodies to express their cultural identity. The Moldau by the Czech composer Bed ř ich Smetana from a set of six symphonic poems called Má vlast or My Country Each poem depicts some aspect of the countryside, history, or legends of Bohemia.
Composers began to experiment with: length of compositions new harmonies tonal relationships There was the increased use of dissonance and extended use of chromaticism. Another important feature of Romantic music was the use of color, with new instruments as well as new or different sounds out of the instruments already in use.
Woodwinds The woodwind section grew to include two or more bassoons, oboes, flutes, and clarinets. Additional color instruments such as the contrabassoon, the bass clarinet, the piccolo, and the English horn were added. Brass The brass section began to utilize instruments with valves, which gave this section a wider range and versatility. This section included trumpets, horns, trombones, and tubas. Percussion In addition to the use of timpani, there was now the use of percussion instruments such as bass and side drums, xylophones, celestas, gongs, cymbals, castanets, harps, bells, triangles, and chimes. Strings While no additional string instruments were invented during this era, the number of string instruments used in an orchestra increased in size to balance out the addition of the larger brass and woodwind sections. They experimented with, created, and used mutes, tremelo, harmonics, pizzicato, and double stops.
Celesta: It’s similar to that of an upright piano. The keys are connected to hammers which strike a graduated set of metal plates suspended over wooden resonators. On four or five octave models one pedal is usually available to sustain or dampen the sound. The three-octave instruments do not have a pedal, due to their small "table-top" design. One of the best-known works that makes use of the celesta is Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy" from The Nutcracker. Castanets: The instrument consists of a pair of concave shells joined on one edge by string. These are held in the hand and used to produce clicks for rhythmic accents. They are traditionally made of hardwood, although fiberglass is becoming increasingly popular. Contrabassoon: also known as the double bassoon is a larger version of the bassoon, sounding an octave lower. Its technique is similar to its smaller cousin, with a few notable differences.
English Horn: or cor anglais, Is a double- reed woodwind instrument in the oboe family. It is a transposing instrument pitched in F, a perfect fifth lower than the oboe (a C instrument), and is consequently approximately one and a half times the length of the oboe. The fingering and playing technique used for the English Horn are essentially the same as those of the oboe. Bass Clarinet: is a musical instrument of the clarinet family. Like the more common soprano B ♭ clarinet, it is usually pitched in B ♭ (meaning it is a transposing instrument on which a written C sounds as B ♭ ), but it plays notes an octave below the soprano B ♭ clarinet.
The main instrumental musical traits of the Romantic Era were virtuosity, individualism, and nationalism. As chamber music became less and less popular, the orchestra and the piano emerged as the new popular trends of the musical world. As keyboard and symphonic instruments became commonplace, short piano miniatures and symphonic works became the main staple or the era. During the Romantic period, the virtuosity began to be the focus. Exceptionally gifted performers - pianists, violinists, and singers -- became enormously popular. Liszt, the great Hungarian pianist/composer, reportedly played with such passion and intensity that women in the audience would faint. Most composers were also virtuoso performers; it was inevitable that the music they wrote would be extremely challenging to play. Franz Liszt 1811-1886
One of the new forms was Symphonic poem which is a piece of orchestral music in one movement in which the content of a poem, a story or novel, a painting, a landscape or another (non-musical) source is illustrated or evoked. Franz Liszt was the first to use this term. This music is intended to inspire listeners to imagine or consider scenes, images, specific ideas or moods, and not to focus on following traditional patterns of musical form (e.g. sonata form). This intention to inspire listeners was a direct consequence of Romanticism which encouraged literary, pictorial and dramatic associations in music. Musical works which attempt to inspire listeners in this way are often referred to as program music, while music which has no such associations may be called absolute music. Another was the art song, which was a vocal musical work with tremendous emphasis placed on the text or the symbolical meanings of words within the text. Likewise, opera became increasingly popular, as it continued to musically tell a story and to express the issues of the day. Some of the themes that composers wrote about were the escape from political oppression, the fates of national or religious groups, and the events which were taking place in far off settings or exotic climates. This allowed an element of fantasy to be used by composers.
Danse Macabre: Dance of Death by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. Example of a Symphonic poem French text by the poet Henri Cazalis which is based in an old French superstition. According to legend, "Death" appears at midnight every year on Halloween. Death calls forth the dead from their graves to dance their dance of death for him while he plays his fiddle represented by a solo violin with its E- string tuned to an E-flat in an example of scordatura tuning. His skeletons dance for him until the rooster crows at dawn, when they must return to their graves until the next year.
Etudes The etude was a study that showed off the performer’s technical ability using arpeggios, octaves, scales, and chords. Character Pieces The character piece was a short programmatic work that had descriptive titles, such as nocturne, ballade, rhapsody, intermezzo, and songs without words. Variations A variation is a virtuoso piece that states a theme and then modifies it through changes of rhythm, meter, and structure. Stylized Dances Stylized dances were popular dance forms such as the waltz, mazurka, polka, and the gallop. Concerto A concerto was an extravagant showpiece for a virtuoso soloist and orchestra. The violin and piano were the instruments of choice. This form had three movements, which was similar to that of the concerto of the Classical era.
Concert Overture This form was a single movement work and was usually found in sonata-allegro form. It was somewhat programmatic and usually had a descriptive title. It was not an orchestral introduction to an opera. A few examples were Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, Mendelssohn’s Fingal’s Cave Overture, and Brahms Academic Festival Overture. Symphonic Variations Very few orchestral works were written in variation form. A few examples of this form are Brahm’s Variations on the Theme of Haydn, Franck’s Symphonic Variations for piano solo and orchestra, and Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Symphonic Suite These are programmatic works in several movements which do not follow the symphonic form. Examples of this were Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Rimsky-Korsikov’s Scheherazade, and Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite. Dances Orchestral music written in dance forms in pieces composed by Johann Strauss Waltzes, for example.
Mendelssohn’s Fingal’s Cave Overture Fingal's Cave is a sea cave on the uninhabited island of Staffa, in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, part of a National Nature Reserve owned by the National Trust for Scotland Felix Mendelssohn visited in 1829 and wrote Die Hebriden (in English, Hebrides Overture Opus 26, commonly known as Fingal's Cave overture) because he was inspired by the weird echoes in the cave.
Symphonies were composed by a number of Romantic composers. These symphonies were very different from the ones written during the Classical era. These differences included: Freer form of the internal structure of the movement Variation on the number of movements The symphony evolved from a formal design to a creative means of expression The inner movements had more contrasting keys within them Solo voices and choral sounds were added to the symphony.
Beethoven was responsible for bridging the gap between the Classical and the Romantic eras. In his music, he tried to achieve a balance between the more structured, clear and strict Classical form and the newer exotic, innovative, and passionate music of the Romantic style. Other composers of this era followed suit, trying to maintain the balance that Beethoven’s music displayed. Beethoven’s 9 th Symphony: This symphony was the first example of a major composer using voices in a symphony. The words are sung during the final movement by four vocal soloists and a chorus. They were taken from the "Ode to Joy", a poem written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785 and revised in 1803, with additions made by the composer.
Johannes Brahms was born in 1833 of German heritage. He began his musical career by playing the piano. He met the important musicians Clara Schumann and her husband Robert Schumann when he was on a tour of Europe. Robert Schumann and Beethoven were strong influences on Johannes Brahms. His first published work, a piano sonata in C major, combined Schumann's tender lyricism with Beethoven's overwhelming energy. So inspired was he by Beethoven's symphonies that it took Brahms more than 10 years to write his first. It was instantly hailed as "Beethoven's Tenth." Stylistically, as more time passed, Brahms music became more refined and distinctly stylized from other composers. He often achieved a balance between the Romantic exaggeration and experimentation of the era with the structural clarity of the Classical era. He was a composer of numerous waltzes : No.1, No.2, No.3, No.4, No.5. Another famous Brahms composition is Intermezzo Op. 117 No. 1 in Eb Major, and No. 2 in Bb Major. The most dramatic of Brahms' works was the Cantata Rinaldo. After this, he never attempted to compose another opera. His later works are characterized by their warmth and color. Hungarian Dance No. 5
Felix Bartholdy Mendelssohn was a famous German composer. Born in 1809, and like other virtuoso composers, he was a child genius when it came to music. At age nine he gave his first piano concert, composed productively from the age of ten, and was ready to conduct the Sunday morning musicales that were the joy of his youth, by age thirteen. At age seventeen, he composed one of his well known works, The Midsummer Night's Dream. One part of this work was the "Nocturne." Inspired by the music of J.S. Bach, Mendelssohn arranged for a performance of Bach's Passion According to St. Matthew, which had not been performed in the eighty years since Bach's death. Along with his friend Devrient, Mendelssohn raised money, engaged the soloists, sold tickets, trained the chorus, and played the organ for what were three sold out shows. Mendelssohn continually promoted J.S. Bach throughout his lifetime and is partly responsible for the formation of the Bach Society. Mendehlssohn went on to complete the Scotch and Italian Symphonies, and a new piano concerto called the Reformation Symphony. One of his most famous works is Elijah, an oratorio that he composed and conducted. Mendelssohn also composed two other well known pieces, Fingals Cave Overture and the Wedding March. Later in life he became the director of the first German Conservatory of Music in Leipzig, where he also taught. Mendelhssohn's music is marked by a delicacy, sparkle, seamless flow, and clarity. Sinfonia IX in C minor
Franz Schubert was a very musically talented child. Of Austrian descent, he was taught to play the violin by his father and the piano by his brother. The choirmaster at his church trained his voice. At age eleven, he was sent to a private music school in Vienna. There he sang soprano in the choir and played second violin in the school orchestra. He grew to appreciate the music of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven. When his voice changed, he left school and became a teacher in his father's school. After doing this for three years and feeling unfulfilled, he quit and focused on composing full time. Always living on the brink of starvation, yet always composing, Franz Schubert would spend the rest of his life in Vienna. Schubert was eighteen when he wrote the masterpiece song Der Erlkonig. It wasn't accepted right away, as the public was critical of the dissonance in the accompaniment and its strange sound. However, today it is considered one of the greatest songs ever composed. Some other very well known works of Franz Schubert are Die Forelle, and Ave Maria. He composed over six hundred songs; in 1815 alone, he wrote one hundred and forty-four songs. He has been quoted as saying "I complete one song only to begin another." His last work was his Unfinished Symphony which is comprised of only the first and second movements. Schubert died at the young age of thirty-one. On his tombstone it reads, "Music hath here entombed a rich treasure but a still fairer hope."
Russian born, Tchaikovsky is regarded today as one of the greatest and most popular symphonists, second only to Beethoven. As a person, he was extremely fragile, sensitive, and charming. His first symphony was not well received which made him extremely upset, as he had labored so hard over the completion of this work. A similar thing happened to another work of his, the B Flat Minor Piano Concerto. His teacher of the time, Nikolai Rubinstein, criticized the piece. This outraged Tchaikovsky, and he grew so angry that he took back the dedication to his teacher on the piece, and moved out of Rubenstein's house. Some of Tchaikovsky's most famous works are The Romeo and Juliet Overture, the opera Eugen Onegin, and his Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35. Tchaikovsky also composed the score to the well- known ballet, The Nutcracker. This piece is a multi-movement work and is typically performed around Christmas time. "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies," "Trepak," "Arabian Dance," "Chinese Dance," "Dance of the Reed Flutes," "Waltz of the Flowers" are parts of this work. He is regarded today as one of the most expressive Romantic composers to come from Russia.
The Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi had a life full of trials and tribulations. At age twenty-eight, he was a happy man as he had just written his first opera, Oberto, and was living in Milan with his wife and his two small children. Unfortunately this happiness was soon interrupted, as his two children and his wife died within months of each other. Due to his extreme loss, he became depressed and did not work for many months. His first work after this tragedy, a comic opera entitled King for a Day, was not received well by the public. Giuseppe Verdi vowed never to write again. Eventually, Verdi came into contact with a play that inspired him to write a musical score. This became one of his masterpiece operas Nabuco. The public instantly proclaimed it a success, and they gave it thunderous applause the first time it was performed. Verdi wrote additional operas entitled: Attila, Macbeth, I Lombardi, and Ernani. Other famous operas which he composed were Rigoletto, La Traviata, Don Carlos, La Forza del Destino, I Vespri Siciliani, Il Trovatore, Simone Boccanegra, and Un Ballo in Maschera. Another famous opera of Verdi's was Aida. This opera was written for the opening of the Suez Canal and was performed in Cairo in 1871 for the first time. It was received with tremendous applause, and is one of the most emotional, lyrical, expressive, and skillful operas ever written. The last opera he wrote was Falstaff, a comedic opera that showed wit an charm (a surprising feat considering he wrote it when he was eighty years old). He is one of the greatest masters of opera.
Giacomo Puccini was a master of the Romantic Italian opera. He studied Opera at the Conservatory of Milan. He was able to go there due to a grant given to him by the Queen of Italy. He is well known for his opera La Boheme, which depicts the Bohemian lifestyle. He won 1000 Italian lire in a contest for his composition Capriccio Sinfonico. His other well-known operas are Tosca, Madame Butterfly, La Rondine, and Il Triptyh.
Music Notes – Music History http://library.thinkquest.org/15413/hi story/music-history.htm http://library.thinkquest.org/15413/hi story/music-history.htm Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romant ic_music http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romant ic_music New World Encyclopedia http://www.newworldencyclopedia.or g/entry/Romantic_music http://www.newworldencyclopedia.or g/entry/Romantic_music