Romantic Era 1825-1900

Romantic Era
• 1828-1900 A.D.
• “Romantic” – subjectivity, the expression of
personal feelings, sentimentality, the
occupation with nature, the interest in magic
or fairy tale, intrigue into the supernatural,
and a desire for freedom from limitations of
conventional formal patterns and harmonic
• The Romantic period is basically characterized
by its disregard of limitations and expansion of
the Classical time period and forms
Romantic Era
• Duality – something having two parts
• Romantic Dualities – the ability to have
opposites in a song
– Words and Music
Equal partnership of words and music
Composers as the authors
Inclusion of vocal music in instrumental works
Program music
– Composer and Audience
• Composed for specific performer(s) both commissioned
and uncommissioned
Romantic Era
• Composed for performances before a circle of friends
• Composed for unknown performers, unknown future
• Composed for personal expression without regard for
– Individual and Crowd
• Virtuoso composer-performer with or without
orchestra, accompaniment
• Single performer in a solo recital
• Conductor directing with baton, and standing between
audience and performers
• Composers not recognized as performers
Romantic Era
– Professional and Amateur
• Composer showing concern for amateur music making
in the home, community, in addition to writing works
for own use
– Sacred and Secular
• Inclusion of religious texts in secular works
• Settings of religious texts not suitable for church service
– Urban and Rural
• Composers living in urban centers, writing for urban
audiences, preoccupied with nature, composing
program music of landscapes, seascapes, etc.
Romantic Era
– National and International
• Inclusion of folk songs and folk dance elements of own
country and that of other countries
• Expressions of patriotism, national senitment
• Interest in Eastern exoticism
• Time Line
– 1860: Unification of Italy
– 1861-1865: American Civil War
– 1861: Russia abolishes serfdom
– 1870’s: Russo-Turkish War – weakens Ottoman
empire and Russia expands into Central Asia
Romantic Era
– 1870: Franco-Prussian War – unification of Prussia
(Germany) under Kaiser Wilhelm I and Otto von
• Rise of nationalism – patriotism to one’s
• Rise of imperialism – the expansion and
conquest of major powers to colonize the
Americas, Africa, and Far East
• Rise of socialism - the state controls economy
for the needs of society
Romantic Era
Romantic Era
• Technology
– 1877: Thomas Edison invents the phonograph
– 1887: Gramophone invented
– 1895: The first radio transmissions by the Marconi
Romantic Era
• Johannes Brahms
– 1833-1897
– German composer, pianist
– Composed music for piano, chamber music,
symphonies, overtures, concertos, choral works
– Moved to Vienna, composed music and
concertized it to make a living
– Most famous piece: Lullaby
Romantic Era
• Richard Wagner
– 1813-1883
– German composer
– Mainly composed operas and dramas; also
composed orchestral pieces, chamber music, and
choral songs
– Built his own ideal theater, meaning that he
designed and built a theater to fit the needs of his
– Designed his own instrument for this songs, called
the Wagner Tuba
Romantic Era
Romantic Era
• Guiseppe Verdi
– 1813-1901
– Italian composer
– Composed operas, choral works, instrumental
– Meticulous composer, he would check word for
word in any libretto that he would set music to
and then change if he felt it was necessary
Romantic Era
• Franz Liszt
– 1811-1886
– Hungarian composer
– Virtuoso pianist, composer, conductor, author, and
– Liszt began playing piano a very young age, and
traveled while performing
– He became tired of performing and wanted to be a
priest, but when his father died, he decided to stay
with music
– Liszt traveled around Germany, to Paris, London, and
parts of Italy performing and composing
Romantic Era 1825-1900
– When Liszt married, his wife convinced him to
stop performing and to focus on composing
– Liszt met Berlioz Wagner, and Chopin, who
influenced his composing by introducing more
Romantic elements into his songs
– Liszt divorced, took kids and travelled – ended up
in Rome to work on religious studies, to teacher,
and some conducting
– Died of pneumonia
Romantic Era 1825-1900
• Modest Musorsky
– 1839-1881
– Russian composer, singer, and pianist
– One of the big five Russian composers, the most
talented and most nationalistic
– Known for his nationalistic compositions
Romantic Era 1825-1900
• Antonin Dvorak
– 1841-1904
– Czechoslovakian composer, pianist, violinist,
– Well known for spreading the music of bohemian
composers to other countries
– Known for the “New World” symphony
Romantic Era
• Pyotr Tchaikovsky
– 1840-1893
– Russian composer, pianist, and writer
– Composed 10 operas, 3 ballets, 6 symphonies,
overtures, string quartets, piano trios, vocal
works, and piano solos
– Known for: “The Nutcracker” and the “1812
Romantic Era
• Sergev Rakhmaninov
– 1873-1943
– Russian composer, pianist, and conductor
– Known for “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini”
• Hugo Wolf
– 1860-1903
– German composer, pianist, and violinist
– Known for composing some of the best German
songs set to poetry
Romantic Era
• Gustav Mahler
– 1860-1911
– Austrian composer, conductor, and pianist
– Conductor of the NY Metropolitan Opera, and NY
– Composed nine symphonies and many German
Romantic Era
• Richard Strauss
– 1864-1949
– German composer, pianist, conductor
• Camille Saint-Saens
– 1835-1921
– French composer, pianist, conductor
• Gabriel Faure
– 1845-1924
– French composer, pianist, conductor
Romantic Era
• Claude Debussy
– 1862-1918
– Leading French composer, pianist, conductor
• Maurice Ravel
– 1875-1937
– Leading French composer after Debussy’s death
• James Paine
– 1839-1906
– American composer
Romantic Era
• Edward Macdowell
– 1860-1908
– American composer
• Amy Cheney Beach
– 1867-1944
– American pianist, composer
– First female American composer to be recognized
• Charles Ives
– 1874-1954
– American composer

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