Romantic music
Overview
 
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period
Era
An era is a commonly used word for long period of time. When used in science, for example geology, eras denote clearly defined periods of time of arbitrary but well defined length, such as for example the Mesozoic era from 252 Ma–66 Ma, delimited by a start event and an end event. When used in...

, theory
Music theory
Music theory is the study of how music works. It examines the language and notation of music. It seeks to identify patterns and structures in composers' techniques across or within genres, styles, or historical periods...

, compositional
Musical composition
Musical composition can refer to an original piece of music, the structure of a musical piece, or the process of creating a new piece of music. People who practice composition are called composers.- Musical compositions :...

 practice, and canon
Western canon
The term Western canon denotes a canon of books and, more broadly, music and art that have been the most important and influential in shaping Western culture. As such, it includes the "greatest works of artistic merit." Such a canon is important to the theory of educational perennialism and the...

 in Western music history
Music history
Music history, sometimes called historical musicology, is the highly diverse subfield of the broader discipline of musicology that studies the composition, performance, reception, and criticism of music over time...

, from 1810 to 1900.

Romantic music as a movement evolved from the formats, genres and musical ideas established in earlier periods, such as the classical period, and went further in the name of expression and syncretism of different art-forms with music.
Encyclopedia
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period
Era
An era is a commonly used word for long period of time. When used in science, for example geology, eras denote clearly defined periods of time of arbitrary but well defined length, such as for example the Mesozoic era from 252 Ma–66 Ma, delimited by a start event and an end event. When used in...

, theory
Music theory
Music theory is the study of how music works. It examines the language and notation of music. It seeks to identify patterns and structures in composers' techniques across or within genres, styles, or historical periods...

, compositional
Musical composition
Musical composition can refer to an original piece of music, the structure of a musical piece, or the process of creating a new piece of music. People who practice composition are called composers.- Musical compositions :...

 practice, and canon
Western canon
The term Western canon denotes a canon of books and, more broadly, music and art that have been the most important and influential in shaping Western culture. As such, it includes the "greatest works of artistic merit." Such a canon is important to the theory of educational perennialism and the...

 in Western music history
Music history
Music history, sometimes called historical musicology, is the highly diverse subfield of the broader discipline of musicology that studies the composition, performance, reception, and criticism of music over time...

, from 1810 to 1900.

Romantic music as a movement evolved from the formats, genres and musical ideas established in earlier periods, such as the classical period, and went further in the name of expression and syncretism of different art-forms with music. Romanticism does not necessarily refer to romantic love, though that theme was prevalent in many works composed during this time period, both in literature, painting or music. Romanticism followed a path that led to the expansion of formal structures for a composition set down or at least created in their general outlines in earlier periods, and the end-result is that the pieces are 'understood' to be more passionate and expressive, both by 19th century and today's audiences. Because of the expansion of form (those elements pertaining to form, key, instrumentation and the like) within a typical composition, and the growing idiosyncrasies and expressivity of the new composers from the new century, it thus became easier to identify an artist based on his work or style.

Romantic music attempted to increase emotional expression and power to describe deeper truths or human feelings, while preserving but in many cases extending the formal structures from the classical period, in others, creating new forms that were deemed better suited to the new subject matter. The subject matter in the new music was now not only purely abstract, but also frequently drawn from other art-form sources such as literature, or history (historical figures) or nature itself.

Musical language

The term Romanticism, when applied to music, can be viewed as an artistic response to social, cultural, economic and political influences that had their beginning in the late eighteenth century and lasted through the nineteenth century. German music critic E.T.A. Hoffmanns 1810 review of Beethoven is considered the first use of Romantic as a musicological term.

Composers of the Romantic period sought to fuse the large structural harmonic planning demonstrated by earlier masters such as Haydn
Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn , known as Joseph Haydn , was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms...

 and Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

  with further chromatic innovations, in order to achieve greater fluidity and contrast, and to meet the needs of longer works or serve the expression that struggled to emerge. Chromaticism
Chromatic scale
The chromatic scale is a musical scale with twelve pitches, each a semitone apart. On a modern piano or other equal-tempered instrument, all the half steps are the same size...

 grew more varied, as did dissonances
Consonance and dissonance
In music, a consonance is a harmony, chord, or interval considered stable, as opposed to a dissonance , which is considered to be unstable...

 and their resolution. Composers modulated
Modulation (music)
In music, modulation is most commonly the act or process of changing from one key to another. This may or may not be accompanied by a change in key signature. Modulations articulate or create the structure or form of many pieces, as well as add interest...

 to increasingly remote keys, and their music often prepared the listener less for these modulations than the music of the classical era. The properties of the diminished 7th and related chords
Chord (music)
A chord in music is any harmonic set of two–three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. These need not actually be played together: arpeggios and broken chords may for many practical and theoretical purposes be understood as chords...

, which facilitate modulation to many keys, were also extensively exploited. Composers such as Beethoven, and later Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

, expanded the harmonic language with previously-unused chords, or innovative chord progressions.

The greater harmonic elusiveness and fluidity, the longer melodies, poesis as the basis of expression, and the use of literary inspirations were all present prior to this period. However, some composers of the Romantic period adopted them as the central pursuit of music itself. Composers were also influenced by technological advances, including an increase in the range and power of the piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

 and the improved chromatic abilities and greater projection of the instruments of the symphony orchestra
Orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

.

Non-musical influences

During the 1830s, Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

's Symphonie Fantastique
Symphonie Fantastique
Symphonie Fantastique: Épisode de la vie d'un Artiste...en cinq parties , Op. 14, is a program symphony written by the French composer Hector Berlioz in 1830. It is one of the most important and representative pieces of the early Romantic period, and is still very popular with concert audiences...

, which was presented with an extensive program text, caused many critics and academics to rise against the new music, in fact against Romanticism that had been a rising wave of artistic expression since the beginning of the century.

Examples of music inspired by literary / artistic sources include Liszt's Faust Symphony
Faust Symphony
A Faust Symphony in three character pictures , S.108, or simply the "Faust Symphony", was written by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt and was inspired by Johann von Goethe's drama, Faust...

, Dante Symphony
Dante Symphony
A Symphony to Dante's Divine Comedy, S.109, or simply the "Dante Symphony", is a program symphony composed by Franz Liszt. Written in the high romantic style, it is based on Dante Alighieri's journey through Hell and Purgatory, as depicted in The Divine Comedy...

, his symphonic poems and his Annees de Pelerinage
Années de Pèlerinage
Années de pèlerinage is a set of three suites by Franz Liszt for solo piano. Liszt's complete musical style is evident in this masterwork, which ranges from virtuosic fireworks to sincerely moving emotional statements. His musical maturity can be seen evolving through his experience and travel...

, Tchaikovsky's
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

 Manfred Symphony
Manfred Symphony
The Manfred Symphony in B minor, Op. 58, is a programmatic symphony composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky between May and September 1885. It is based on the poem "Manfred" written by Lord Byron in 1817...

, Mahler's
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

 First Symphony
Symphony No. 1 (Mahler)
The Symphony No. 1 in D major by Gustav Mahler was mainly composed between late 1887 and March 1888, though it incorporates music Mahler had composed for previous works. It was composed while Mahler was second conductor at the Leipzig Opera, Germany...

, the piano cycles of Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era....

 and the tone poems of Richard Strauss
Richard Strauss
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; and his tone poems and orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till...

. Schubert
Franz Schubert
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer.Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies , liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music...

 included material from his lieder in some of his extended works, and others, such as Liszt, transcribed opera arias and songs for solo instrumental performance.

Events and changes that happen in society such as ideas, attitudes, discoveries, inventions, and historical events always affect music. For example, the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 was in full effect by the late 18th century and early 19th century. This event had a very profound effect on music: there were major improvements in the mechanical valves, and keys that most woodwinds and brass instruments depend on. The new and innovative instruments could be played with more ease and they were more reliable (Schmidt-Jones & Jones 2004, 3). The new instruments often had a bigger, fuller, better-tuned sound. Orchestras grew larger from the days of Beethoven onwards, and were on their way to professionalization .

Another development that had an effect on music was the rise of the middle class. Composers before this period lived on the patronage of the aristocracy (Schmidt-Jones 3). Many times their audience was small, composed mostly of the upper class and individuals who were knowledgeable about music (Schmidt-Jones & Jones 2004, 3). The Romantic composers, on the other hand, often wrote for public concerts and festivals, with large audiences of paying customers, who had not necessarily had any music lessons (Schmidt-Jones & Jones 2004, 3). Composers of the Romantic Era, like Elgar, showed the world that there should be "no segregation of musical tastes" (Young 1967, 525) and that the "purpose was to write music that was to be heard" (Young 1967, 527).

19th-century opera

In opera, the forms for individual numbers that had been established in classical and baroque opera were more loosely used. By the time Wagner's
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

 operas were performed, aria
Aria
An aria in music was originally any expressive melody, usually, but not always, performed by a singer. The term is now used almost exclusively to describe a self-contained piece for one voice usually with orchestral accompaniment...

s, chorus
Choir
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

es, recitative
Recitative
Recitative , also known by its Italian name "recitativo" , is a style of delivery in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms of ordinary speech...

s and ensemble pieces often cannot easily be distinguished from each other in the continuous, through-composed music.

Towards the end of the Romantic period, verismo
Verismo
Verismo was an Italian literary movement which peaked between approximately 1875 and the early 1900s....

 opera became popular, particularly in Italy. It depicted realistic, rather than historical or mythological, subjects.

Nationalism

The increasing importance of nationalism as a political and cultural force in the 19th century was mirrored in music and the other arts. Many composers expressed their nationalism by incorporating elements unique to their native cultures, such as folk song, dances, and legendary histories. In addition to these exterior elements, there was an increasing diversification of musical language, as composers used elements of rhythm, melody, and modality characteristic of their respective nations.

Many composers wrote nationalist music, especially towards the middle and end of the 19th century. Mikhail Glinka
Mikhail Glinka
Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka , was the first Russian composer to gain wide recognition within his own country, and is often regarded as the father of Russian classical music...

's opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

s, for example, are on specifically Russian subjects, while Bedřich Smetana
Bedrich Smetana
Bedřich Smetana was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style which became closely identified with his country's aspirations to independent statehood. He is thus widely regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music...

 and Antonín Dvořák
Antonín Dvorák
Antonín Leopold Dvořák was a Czech composer of late Romantic music, who employed the idioms of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia. Dvořák’s own style is sometimes called "romantic-classicist synthesis". His works include symphonic, choral and chamber music, concerti, operas and many...

 both used rhythms and themes from Czech
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 folk dances and songs. Late in the 19th century, Jean Sibelius
Jean Sibelius
Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer of the later Romantic period whose music played an important role in the formation of the Finnish national identity. His mastery of the orchestra has been described as "prodigious."...

 wrote music based on the Finnish epic, the Kalevala
Kalevala
The Kalevala is a 19th century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Finnish and Karelian oral folklore and mythology.It is regarded as the national epic of Finland and is one of the most significant works of Finnish literature...

, and his piece 'Finlandia' became a symbol of Finnish nationalism. Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric François Chopin was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist. He is considered one of the great masters of Romantic music and has been called "the poet of the piano"....

 wrote in forms such as the polonaise and mazurka which were derived from Polish folk music. Many Russian composers, for example Balakirev
Mily Balakirev
Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev ,Russia was still using old style dates in the 19th century, and information sources used in the article sometimes report dates as old style rather than new style. Dates in the article are taken verbatim from the source and therefore are in the same style as the source...

, Cui
César Cui
César Antonovich Cui was a Russian of French and Lithuanian descent. His profession was as an army officer and a teacher of fortifications; his avocational life has particular significance in the history of music, in that he was a composer and music critic; in this sideline he is known as a...

, Borodin
Alexander Borodin
Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin was a Russian Romantic composer and chemist of Georgian–Russian parentage. He was a member of the group of composers called The Five , who were dedicated to producing a specifically Russian kind of art music...

, Mussorgsky
Modest Mussorgsky
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky was a Russian composer, one of the group known as 'The Five'. He was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period...

, Rimsky-Korsakov, and later Nikolai Medtner
Nikolai Medtner
Nikolai Karlovich Medtner was a Russian composer and pianist.A younger contemporary of Sergei Rachmaninoff and Alexander Scriabin, he wrote a substantial number of compositions, all of which include the piano...

 shared the common dream to write music that was inspired by Russian folk music.

The main characteristics of Romantic music

  • A freedom in form and design; a more intense personal expression of emotion in which fantasy, imagination and a quest for adventure play an important part.
  • Emphasis on lyrical, songlike melodies; adventurous modulation
    Modulation (music)
    In music, modulation is most commonly the act or process of changing from one key to another. This may or may not be accompanied by a change in key signature. Modulations articulate or create the structure or form of many pieces, as well as add interest...

    ; richer harmonies, often chromatic, with striking use of discords.
  • Greater sense of ambiguity: especially in tonality
    Tonality
    Tonality is a system of music in which specific hierarchical pitch relationships are based on a key "center", or tonic. The term tonalité originated with Alexandre-Étienne Choron and was borrowed by François-Joseph Fétis in 1840...

     or harmonic function, but also in rhythm
    Rhythm
    Rhythm may be generally defined as a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions." This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time may be applied to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or...

     or meter.
  • Denser, weightier textures with bold dramatic contrasts, exploring a wider range of pitch
    Pitch (music)
    Pitch is an auditory perceptual property that allows the ordering of sounds on a frequency-related scale.Pitches are compared as "higher" and "lower" in the sense associated with musical melodies,...

    , dynamics and tone-colours.
  • Expansion of the orchestra, sometimes to gigantic proportions; the invention of the valve system leads to development of the brass section whose weight and power often dominate the texture.
  • Rich variety of types of piece, ranging from songs and fairly short piano pieces to huge musical canvasses with lengthy time-span structures with spectacular, dramatic, and dynamic climaxes.
  • Closer links with other arts lead to a keener interest in programme music (programme symphony, symphonic poem
    Symphonic poem
    A symphonic poem or tone poem is a piece of orchestral music in a single continuous section in which the content of a poem, a story or novel, a painting, a landscape or another source is illustrated or evoked. The term was first applied by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt to his 13 works in this vein...

    , concert overture).
  • Shape and unity brought to lengthy works by use of recurring themes (sometimes transformed/developed): idée fixe (Berlioz), thematic transformations (Liszt
    Liszt
    Liszt is a Hungarian surname. Notable persons with that surname include:* Franz Liszt , Hungarian composer and pianist* Adam Liszt , father of Franz Liszt* Anna Liszt , mother of Franz Liszt...

    ), Leitmotif
    Leitmotif
    A leitmotif , sometimes written leit-motif, is a musical term , referring to a recurring theme, associated with a particular person, place, or idea. It is closely related to the musical idea of idée fixe...

     (Wagner), motto theme.
  • Greater technical virtuosity – especially from pianists, violinists and flautists.
  • The idea of instrumental music composed without reference to anything other than itself.
  • The elevation of the performer as genius as demonstrated through the virtuosity of Paganini and Liszt.

Early Romantic (1800–1850)



Beethoven's First Symphony and especially his fourth piano sonata, all published in the early 19th century marked a definite beginning of the new wave of music that would continue for at least a century. Beethoven's impact influenced and inspired composers in the following generations such as his fellow Vienna citizens Schubert, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Liszt and Wagner.

By the second decade of the 19th century, the shift towards new sources of musical inspiration, along with an increasing chromaticism in melody and more expressive harmony, became a palpable stylistic shift. A new generation of composers emerged in post-Napoleonic Europe, among whom were Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

, Ludwig Spohr, E.T.A. Hoffmann
E.T.A. Hoffmann
Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann , better known by his pen name E.T.A. Hoffmann , was a German Romantic author of fantasy and horror, a jurist, composer, music critic, draftsman and caricaturist...

, Carl Maria von Weber
Carl Maria von Weber
Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber was a German composer, conductor, pianist, guitarist and critic, one of the first significant composers of the Romantic school....

 and Franz Schubert
Franz Schubert
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer.Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies , liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music...

.

These composers grew up amidst the dramatic expansion of public concert life during the late 18th century and early 19th century, which partly shaped their subsequent styles and expectations.

Works of this group of early Romantics include the song cycles and later symphonies of Franz Schubert, and the operas of Weber, particularly Oberon
Oberon (opera)
Oberon, or The Elf King's Oath is a 3-act romantic opera in English with spoken dialogue and music by Carl Maria von Weber. The libretto by James Robinson Planche was based on a German poem, Oberon, by Christoph Martin Wieland, which itself was based on the epic romance Huon de Bordeaux, a French...

, Der Freischütz
Der Freischütz
Der Freischütz is an opera in three acts by Carl Maria von Weber with a libretto by Friedrich Kind. It premiered on 18 June 1821 at the Schauspielhaus Berlin...

and Euryanthe
Euryanthe
Euryanthe is a German "grand, heroic, romantic" opera by Carl Maria von Weber, first performed at the Theater am Kärntnertor, Vienna on 25 October 1823...

. Schubert's work found limited contemporary audiences, and only gradually had a wider impact.

Early Romantic composers of a slightly later generation included Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...

, Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

, Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric François Chopin was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist. He is considered one of the great masters of Romantic music and has been called "the poet of the piano"....

, and Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

. All were born in the 19th century, and produced works of lasting value early in their careers. Mendelssohn was particularly precocious, and wrote two string quartets, a string octet, and orchestral music before even leaving his teens. Chopin was similarly precocious, his famous Op. 10 Études being written while still a teen, although he focused on compositions for the piano. Berlioz broke new ground in his orchestration, and with his programatic symphonies Symphonie Fantastique and Harold in Italy, the latter based on Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage is a lengthy narrative poem in four parts written by Lord Byron. It was published between 1812 and 1818 and is dedicated to "Ianthe". The poem describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks...

.

What is now labelled "Romantic Opera" became established at around this time, with a strong connection between Paris and northern Italy. The work of Bellini
Vincenzo Bellini
Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini was an Italian opera composer. His greatest works are I Capuleti ed i Montecchi , La sonnambula , Norma , Beatrice di Tenda , and I puritani...

 and Donizetti
Gaetano Donizetti
Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti was an Italian composer from Bergamo, Lombardy. His best-known works are the operas L'elisir d'amore , Lucia di Lammermoor , and Don Pasquale , all in Italian, and the French operas La favorite and La fille du régiment...

 was immensely popular at this time.

Virtuoso concerts remained as popular as a century earlier and became more 'democratic'. The virtuoso piano recital became particularly popular, and often included improvisations on popular themes, and the performance of shorter compositions as well as longer works such as the sonatas of Beethoven and Mozart. One of the most prominent exponents of Beethoven was Clara Wieck
Clara Schumann
Clara Schumann was a German musician and composer, considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era...

, who later married Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era....

. The increase in travel, facilitated by rail and later by steamship, created international audiences for touring virtuosi such as Paganini, Liszt, Chopin and Thalberg
Sigismond Thalberg
Sigismond Thalberg was a composer and one of the most distinguished virtuoso pianists of the 19th century.- Descent and family background :...

. Concerts and recitals were promoted as significant events. Such was also the case with instruments other than the violin or the piano, such as the harp.

The music of Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era....

, Giacomo Meyerbeer
Giacomo Meyerbeer
Giacomo Meyerbeer was a noted German opera composer, and the first great exponent of "grand opera." At his peak in the 1830s and 1840s, he was the most famous and successful composer of opera in Europe, yet he is rarely performed today.-Early years:He was born to a Jewish family in Tasdorf , near...

 and the young Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera. He was one of the most influential composers of the 19th century...

 continued the trends. "Romanticism" was not, however, the only, or even the dominant, style of music making at the time. A post-classical style, as well as court music, still dominated concert programs. This began to change with the rise of performing institutions, along the lines of the Philharmonic Society of London
Royal Philharmonic Society
The Royal Philharmonic Society is a British music society, formed in 1813. It was originally formed in London to promote performances of instrumental music there. Many distinguished composers and performers have taken part in its concerts...

 founded in 1813. Such institutions often promoted regular concert seasons, a trend promoted by Felix Mendelssohn among others. Listening to music came to be accepted as a life-enhancing, almost religious, experience.

Also in the 1830s and 1840s Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

 produced his first successful operas. A man who described himself as a revolutionary, and who was in constant trouble with creditors and the authorities, he began gathering around him a body of like-minded musicians, including Franz Liszt, who dedicated themselves to making the "Music of the Future."

Literary Romanticism and the first stage of Romanticism in music ended in 1848, with the revolutions of that year
Revolutions of 1848
The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, Springtime of the Peoples or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It was the first Europe-wide collapse of traditional authority, but within a year reactionary...

 marking a turning point in the mood of Europe and its artists.

Late Romantic Era (1850–1900)

As the 19th century moved into its second half, many social, political and economic changes set in motion in the post-Napoleonic period became entrenched. Railways and the electric telegraph bound the European world ever closer together. The nationalism that had been an important strain of early 19th century Romantic music became formalized by political and linguistic means.

The dramatic increase in musical education brought a still wider sophisticated audience, and many composers took advantage of the greater regularity of concert life, and the greater financial and technical resources available. These changes brought an expansion in the sheer number of symphonies, concertos and "tone poems" which were composed, and the number of performances in the opera seasons in Paris, London and Italy.

During this period, some composers created styles and forms associated with their national folk cultures. The notion that there were "German" and "Italian" styles had long been established in writing on music, but the late 19th century saw the rise of a nationalist Russian style (Glinka
Mikhail Glinka
Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka , was the first Russian composer to gain wide recognition within his own country, and is often regarded as the father of Russian classical music...

, Mussorgsky
Modest Mussorgsky
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky was a Russian composer, one of the group known as 'The Five'. He was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period...

, Rimsky-Korsakov
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov was a Russian composer, and a member of the group of composers known as The Five.The Five, also known as The Mighty Handful or The Mighty Coterie, refers to a circle of composers who met in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in the years 1856–1870: Mily Balakirev , César...

, Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

 and Borodin
Alexander Borodin
Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin was a Russian Romantic composer and chemist of Georgian–Russian parentage. He was a member of the group of composers called The Five , who were dedicated to producing a specifically Russian kind of art music...

), and also Czech, Finnish and French nationalist styles of composition. Some composers were expressly nationalistic in their objectives, seeking to rediscover their country's national identity in the face of occupation or oppression, as did for example the Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

ns Bedřich Smetana
Bedrich Smetana
Bedřich Smetana was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style which became closely identified with his country's aspirations to independent statehood. He is thus widely regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music...

 and Antonín Dvořák
Antonín Dvorák
Antonín Leopold Dvořák was a Czech composer of late Romantic music, who employed the idioms of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia. Dvořák’s own style is sometimes called "romantic-classicist synthesis". His works include symphonic, choral and chamber music, concerti, operas and many...

, and the Finn
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 Jean Sibelius
Jean Sibelius
Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer of the later Romantic period whose music played an important role in the formation of the Finnish national identity. His mastery of the orchestra has been described as "prodigious."...

. Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

 used an advanced form of Beethoven's motivic development that accommodated not only the formal frameworks of the Baroque era, but a rich and expressive vocabulary that focused on arpeggiation, rhythmic obfuscation, and advanced harmonies rivaled only by Wagner.

Further reading

  • Cavalletti, Carlo. 2000. Chopin and Romantic Music, translated by Anna Maria Salmeri Pherson. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series. (Hardcover) ISBN 0-7641-5136-3 ; ISBN 978-0-7641-5136-1
  • Dahlhaus, Carl. 1979. "Neo-Romanticism". 19th-Century Music 3, no. 2 (November): 97–105.
  • Plantinga, Leon. 1984. Romantic Music: A History of Musical Style in Nineteenth-Century Europe. A Norton Introduction to Music History. New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-95196-0 ; ISBN 978-0-393-95196-7
  • Samson, Jim. 2001. "Romanticism". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie
    Stanley Sadie
    Stanley Sadie CBE was a leading British musicologist, music critic, and editor. He was editor of the sixth edition of the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians , which was published as the first edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.Sadie was educated at St Paul's School,...

     and John Tyrrell
    John Tyrrell (professor of music)
    John Tyrrell was born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia in 1942. He studied at the universities of Cape Town, Oxford and Brno. In 2000 he was appointed Research Professor at Cardiff University....

    . London: Macmillan Publishers.

External links

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