Romantic Era 1810 - 1900s
Johannes Brahms 1833 - 1897 Vienna, Austria (German) Piano player, efficient choral and orchestral conductor Never married – he was very attached to Schumann and his wife Fell ill of liver/pancreatic cancer Favoured variations, classical forms like the sonata, symphony and concerto Wrote 260 songs German Requiem inspired by his mother’s death Was influenced by folk music and the development of the piano Was an extreme perfectionist (severely self-critical) – many of his early works were destroyed… Brahms avoided technical displays Modeled his pieces after Beethoven and Schumann
Robert Schumann 1810 - 1856 German composer and pianist Originally was going to study law… Began to study piano but in his attempt to accelerate the process he permanantly injured his hand. (Devoted himself to composition because of this…) Married Clara Wieck, another composer Until 1840 his compositions were primarily for piano – then he wrote 168 songs. He tended to write for one form at a time 1844 – Bipolar disorder ~ imagined an “A” playing in his ear constantly. Eventually he recovered in 1846. In 1854, his symptoms returned – he thought he heard themes... Suffered from syphillis
Franz Schubert 1797 - 1828
Austrian composer Died at 31 Wrote approximately 600 lieder and 9 symphonies Studied piano, violin, organ, and singing It was assumed that he would become a teacher like his father, he was eventually forced to teach at his father’s school. He often had his friends in for evenings of music – they called them “Schubertiads”. Schubert’s fame is often limited to that of a song-writer but much of his output was not published or performed until the late 19th century. He established the German leider as a new form in the 19th century. Schubert uses harmony to represent emotional change and the accompaniment figuration used to illustrate poetic images (ie. moving water, shimmering stars, a church bell)
Hector Berlioz 1803 - 1869 A French composer Sent to study medicine at the age of 18 – was absolutely horrified by dissection so he left to study music. Experienced deep emotions – apparent in his compositions. More famous as a conductor than a composer. Influential in the development of the symphonic form, instrumentation and programmatic ideas. Inspired by literary works, Beethoven and Chopin. Prolific writer as well, wrote musical criticism.
Frédérich Chopin 1810 - 1849 Polish pianist and composer One of the most famous, influential and admired composers for piano works Known for poetry and expressive depth as well as technical displays for piano Forms: piano sonata, waltz, nocturne, etude, prélude, ballade, and polanaise. He was the first to write ballades and scherzi as individual pieces. Gained a reputation for being a “second Mozart” Extremely influential on other composers of the time. Died of tuberculosis at the age of 39
Franz Liszt 1811 - 1886 Hungarian virtuoso pianist and composer Known for his showmanship and great skill. Liszt practiced approximately 10 hours a day… concerts were in high demand – became a rock star! (“Lisztomania”) Invented the modern piano recital – by playing recitals from memory and turning the piano so the audience could see the players hands.
Wrote music for beginner to advanced… which is among the most challenging piano works in keyboard repertoire. Liszt also composed leider and choral music, symphonic poems and orchestral works. He is known for thematic transformation (a method of development) and his development of the symphonic tone poem – a single movement orchestral work.
Peter Illyick Tchaikovsky 1840 - 1893 Russian composer Began a career as a civil servant before deciding to study music seriously. Eventually, taught music, but found it difficult and suffered a breakdown. His compositions were distinctly Russian in character, rich harmonies and stirring melodies; he used international elements in addition to national folk melodies. Tchaikovsky is well known for his ballets – Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, the Nutcracker, etc. Completed 10 operas His symphonies are generally of nationalistic character 1812 Overture – Russian victory over Napoleonic Wars. Included 16 cannon shots and church bells
Cèsar Franck 1822 - 1890 Belgian origin Composer, organist and music teacher
Known for composing with in a “cyclic form” achieving unity through several movements in which all of the principal themes are generated from one motif.
Much of his music is deeply serious, often joyful, passionate/mysterious and rarely light-hearted/humorous.
His fame rests on a small number of compositions written later in his career: D minor symphony (1886-88) for example
Franck was in a serious traffic accident – he wrote 3 chorals for organ and died of complications shortly after finishing the chorals.
Jean Sibelius 1865 - 1957 Finnish composer
Originally studied law, once he began to study music in Berlin and then Vienna. He settled outside of Helsinki and lived there for the rest of his life with his wife and 6 daughters Sibelius suffered from stage fright and had sound-to-colour synesthesia. He wrote a set of seven symphonies as a way to support the Finnish national identity. Best known for his compositions called: Finlandia Valse Triste and his violin concerto
Soon after completing his 7th symphony he went into a 30 year period of silence (until his death).
Listening: Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem (German Requiem) Selig sind da Leid tragen
Trio for Piano, clarinet and cello, Op. 114: Allegro
Schumann: Fantasiestücke – clarinet and piano (3rd mvt.) Phantasiestücke: Grillen and In der Nacht Fairy Tales, Op. 132 ~ trio for clarinet, viola & piano (1st mvt.)
Schubert: Lied: Gretchen am Spinnrade Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major, D. 485, mvt. 1 – Allegro
Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique – mtv. 4
Chopin: Nocturne in E-flat Major, Op. 9, No. 2
Liszt: Nuages Gris Lovedream No. 3 in A-flat Major
Tchaikovsky: Waltz of the Flowers (Nutcracker) Symphony No. 6 in B minor (“the Pathetique”)
Franck: Symphony in D minor - Finale
The 19th century –
Industrial Revolution Leveled off society Larger wealthier middle class Smaller, less important aristocracy
No more patronage • Composers wrote for the musically uneducated middle class • Had to sell their music
Not to be played by amateurs of aristocracy but to be listened to and enjoyed by the middle class • Had to be exciting to listen to • Used more virtuosic playing • Music critics became increasing popular
Became a business – music critics, printing press and publications and finding people to listen to their music Because they have to impress the public, their main purpose is to express and invoke emotions – composers are in conflict as to whom they are writing their music for.
Historical Background cont’d French Revolution brought… Liberty and individualism
Which brought a parallel revolution in music Individualism – no patience with rules – people want to be different – experimentation Liberty – express beliefs, interpretation of events which allow the individual to form personal points of view
These ideas brought forth the main drive of romantic music which was to express personal emotions and convictions and evoke them in others.
The Romantic “Arts” Movement 1810 – 1900s Arts reflect the ideas and events of the time. Nationalism Use of folk songs/dances and ethnic flavours Folk legends subject for opera and songs
Freedom to Create broke away from patronage system Broke away from previous restrictions on style, form, etc. Amateurs were writing
Individualism Expressed deepest emotions, dreams and fears Expressed as an individual and others can relate All so different – love the new! Virtuosity
“Arts” Movement cont’d… “Music as the best art” Music suited the Romantic expression because expression of emotion is not limited to words or pictures
Combinations of art forms in opera very popular Symphonies with choirs; music based on themes, art, poetry
Discussion among artists regarding value of arts and criticizes the role of arts.
New Instruments: (developments) The Piano The instrument was made heavier and sturdier Capable of a sustained, singing tone and wide dynamics
The expressive nature of this instrument was tests and exploited… It quickly became the favourite
In homes… a large amount of music was written with the amateur in mind. It also was the standard accompaniment instrument It set the mood with its range of colour and dynamics
New Musical Developments the Virtuoso Performer Displays of unheard of technical ability appealed to the worshipping audiences
Pioneers: Niccolo Paganni – a violinist who was suspected of being in cohorts with the devil due to his astounding technical agility. Franz Liszt – the composer/pianist who turned the piano sideways so the audience could see his hands.
As you can guess, this performer needed a new style of music to “amaze and thrill” the audiences. Music was written for technical display and not the musical value. Many performers wrote their own.
The virtuosi toured Europe throughout the 19th c. and into the “New World”
Romanticism… Expression of feeling became more intense and personal as the 1800s progressed. Form and tonal relationships were experimented with; Imagination was explored and used to “recapture a cherished past or to reach a wonderful future.” Music, especially instrumental, was free from the burden of words and could perfectly communicate pure emotion. Important genres: Instrumental music Orchestral Piano Chamber
Art Song (or Lieder) Program Music
Romantic Forms… Form – the shape or structure of a piece of music. Set forms – have a specific structure with defined styles and sections.
Free forms – do not have set sections and are through composed. Composite forms – are forms of pieces made up of 2 or more movements.
Single-movement forms – pertain to individual movements of a larger piece or a piece that is only one movement.
Lied (plural - Lieder) German for Song Definition: A German poem usually lyric and strophic, also a song having such a poem for its text; most commonly, a song for solo voice and piano accompaniment in German-speaking countries during the Classical and Romantic periods. In Germany, any song is called a lied - whether it be a folk, work, children’s or political. But when discussing lied in English and more specifically referring to the Classical and Romantic eras, lied refers to “art song” (Kunstlied) of the 19th and late 18th centuries.
Lied continued… Initially, these songs were composed as a social pastime for amateurs, but later became more musically significant and a strong part of the concert repertoire of the professional singer. Franz Schubert composed over 600 lieder and through his compositions he was able to establish this genre, or style, into a more serious artistic level. Schubert performed lieder at private social gatherings with amateur and professional singers, and very few were performed in public concerts or published during his lifetime. Many other composers wrote several hundred lieder, drawing from both major poets and lesser known ones.
Programmatic Music Definition: Program music is a form of art music intended to evoke extra-musical ideas, images in the mind of the listener by musically representing a scene, image or mood. Romantic composers were especially fond of associating music with literature, landscape, or the visual arts. Programmatic music was also used as a means to gain respect for instrumental music.
Programmatic music continued… Also, this type of music was a way for the “uneducated” listeners to understand a piece of music by reading the program and letting their imaginations roam. Not every piece of music came with a program, but many would have interesting titles assigned to them. The symphony orchestra was an excellent medium for this style of music, because of its rich variety of instrumental colours and colour combinations that aid in characterizing and distinguishing between states of mind, events, or even individual characters.
Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique (1830) A five movement piece, representing the various images of the musician’s fevered brain… Mvt. 1: The Musician is unhappy and melancholy before he one day meets his beloved and the volcanic love she inspires in him. Mvt. 2: At the scene of a ball, during which he meets his new love again…
Mvt. 3: A pastoral scene of great tranquility, however, he becomes agitated as he worries about losing her. Mvt. 4: A march to the scaffold; the Musician dreams he has killed his beloved and is being marched to the guillotine. Mvt. 5: The “Dream of the Witches Sabbath”, the Musician’s version of a hellish punishment after his death. The beloved and a troop of grotesque spirits torture and mock him.
Symphonie Fantastique… All of the great Romantic themes are encased in this one piece – Love, Melancholy and Horror The melody representing the beloved is found in all movements, but is changed radically. This piece has brilliant orchestration and requires a HUGE orchestra.
Assignment: Romantic Composition… Hector Berlioz and many other composers from the Romantic Era wrote pieces of instrumental music based on a “program” or a story. The audience would be given the background story so that they understood what was going on. Also at that time, composers were writing leitmotifs for each of the main characters. Those leitmotifs were the musical ideas to be associated with a character or scene throughout the piece (think Darth Vader). Your assignment is to choose (minimum) three characters and write a short story about them (no shorter than a page). Then, write music – a motif – for each character. Each motif should be no shorter than 8 bars. They don’t have to be fancy, but they should portray the character well. Due: Monday, May 25th