Romantic Music Essay

1991 Words Mar 31st, 2014 8 Pages

Franz Schubert

Der Erlkönig

The Romantic Era

The romantic period in music extended from about 1820 to 1900. Among the most significant musicians were Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Clara Wieck Schumann, Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn, Hector Berlioz, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonin Dvorak, Johannes Brahms, Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, Richard Wagner and Gustav Mahler. The length of this list – and some important composers have been omitted from it – testifies to the richness and variety of romantic music and to its continuing impact on today’s concert and operatic repertoire.

Composers of
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Works can be very brief (e.g. Chopin’s Minute Waltz) or long an monumental (e.g. Wagner’s four-evening opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen).

Genre: Art Song

One of the most distinctive forms in romantic music is the art song, a composition for solo voice and piano. Here, the accompaniment is an integral part of the composer’s concept and it serves as an interpretive partner to the voice. Although they are now performed in concert halls, romantic songs were written to be sung and enjoyed at home.

Poetry and music are intimately fused in the art song. It is no accident that the form flowered with an emergence of a rich body of romantic poetry in the early nineteenth century. Many of the finest art song composers – Schubert, Schumann and Brahms, for example – were German or Austrian and set poems in their native language.

Yearning – inspired by a lost love, nature, a legend, or other times and places – haunted the imagination of romantic poets. Thus art songs are filled with despair of unrequited love; the beauty of flowers, trees and brooks; and the supernatural happenings of folktales. There are also songs of joy, wit and humour; but by large, romantic song was a reaching out of the soul.

Some composers would interpret a poem. Translating its mood, atmosphere and imagery into music. They created a vocal melody that was musically satisfying and perfectly moulded to the text. Important words
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