Romantic Music : Classical Music Video Excerpts

Festival of Romantic musicImage by drhenkenstein via FlickrRomantic Music

Brief Characteristics of the Romantic Era:
  • Larger Orchestra
  • Program Music
  • Nationalism
  • More complicated texture, rhythm, tone color, form, dynamics

Social status of composer as artist increased from the measly "servant" position of earlier eras. The populace began enjoying music, too, in greater numbers, due largely to the increase of manufacturing of the pianoforte.

Composers of the Romantic Era

Nationalist Composers

Created music which glorified their culture and homeland.

Jean Sibelius (Finland)

Louis Gottschalk, America

The Banjo

Dvorak, Czech

New World Symphony 4th Movement

Frederic Chopin (Poland)
Polonaise in A Flat Major (the Heroic)

The Polonaise was a popular dance of his native Poland. He wrote these works to decry Poland's occupation by the Russians and Prussians.

Brahms Hungarian Dance

Romantic Era Composers

Franz Schubert and the Lied (German word for Song)

Who rides so late through night and wind?
It is the father who's holding his child;
He's tucked the boy secure in his arm,
He holds him tight and keeps him warm.

My son, why hide you your face in fear?"
See you not, father, the Erl King near?
The Erl King in his crown and train?"
My son, 'tis but a foggy strain."

Sweet lovely child, come, go with me!
What wonderful games I'll play with thee;
Flowers, most colorful, yours to behold.
My mother for you has garments of gold."

My father, my father, and can you not hear
What Erl King is promising into my ear?"
Be calm, stay calm, o child of mine;
The wind through dried leaves is rustling so fine."

Wouldst thou, fine lad, go forth with me?
My daughters should royally wait upon thee;
My daughters conduct each night their song fest
To swing and to dance and to sing thee to rest."

My Father, my father, and can you not see
Erl King's daughters, there by the tree?"
My son, my son, I see it clear;
The ancient willows so grey do appear."

I love thee, I'm aroused by thy beautiful form;
And be thou not willing, I'll take thee by storm."
My father, my father, he's clutching my arm!
Erl King has done me a painful harm!"

The father shudders and onward presses;
The gasping child in his arms he caresses;
He reaches the courtyard, and barely inside,
He holds in his arms the child who has died.

The Elkonig (or the Elf Child)

Fanny Mendelssohn
Larghetto from "Song without Words"

Program Music

During the Romantic Era, composer began creating music called "program music". In program music, the music directly related to nonmusical art, literature, places, stories, mythology, etc. This was different than Absolute music, which was essentially "music for music's sake". For example, music of the Baroque era, such as a fugue, did not relate directly to any sort of poem, literature, or painting.

Modest Mussorgsky

Night on Bald Mountain

Pictures at an Exhibition: The Old Castle

Felix Mendelssohn

The Gnome

Midsummer Night's Dream (from Shakespeare)
Wedding March


Hector Berlioz wrote the semi-autobiographical Symphonie Fantastique after being rejected by a young actress whom he adored (and stalked). Unable to gain the young woman's unrequited love, the composer wrote this symphonic poem, fantasizing his adored beloved as a witch, in the end killing her and marching to the scaffold for his own beheading. Quite a morose fantasy, supposedly the story of a drug-crazed "artist", who could only be Berlioz himself.

Symphonie Fantastique

March to the Scaffold

The Love Triangle: Brahms, Clara, and Robert

Composer Robert Schumann fell in love and married the lovely Clara, the daughter of a family friend. They had a family together. The young Brahms visited Robert and Clara, and soon became warm friends with Clara. As time wore on, and Robert Schumann's mental state worsened, eventually landing him in an asylum where he spent his last days, Brahms grew closer to Clara. Eventually, after Robert's death, he came to care for her and her family for several years. Eventually they broke off their close relationship, burned their letters, but remained close friends to the end of their days.

Robert Schumann
Traumeriei, Reverie

Clara Schumann

Piano Concerto in A Minor Allegro Maestoso

Brahms Lullaby



"V for Vendetta" ending with 1812 Overture
Destruction of Parliament

(We will cover opera in the next section)

Giuseppe Verdi

Enhanced by Zemanta


Popular posts from this blog

Top 10 Mistakes When Writing for Percussion

Music Marketing Book Tips - Double-checking your Bands logo & font