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MUSIC OF THE ROMANTIC PERIOD (1820-1910)

3rd Grading Lecture notes

BACKGROUND
- It is described to be as a cultural movement that stressed emotion, imagination, individualism, and freedom of expression.
- Romanticism is a movement that emphasizes on imagination and emotion over reason and logic.
- Some of the historical events that happened during this time are (1) proclamation of Napoleon Bonaparte as emperor, (2)
first working steam engine, and (3) the French Revolution.

CHARACTERISTICS
- Nationalism was incorporated in the music of the period. Example is Polonaise by Frederic Chopin
- Ludwig Van Beethoven’s music bridged the classical era and the romantic era through his expression of passion and
emotions in music. Therefore influencing other composers to use music to express their individualism.
- The changes in musical form expanded the orchestra as composers explored various instrumentations.
- Piano music is in free form such as fantasy, rhapsody, ballade, and nocturne. Examples are compositions by Frederic Chopin
- Program music was expressed in tone poems. Example is Symphony Fantastique by Hector Berlioz
- Most of the musical compositions of the era portray literature, history, emotions, and nature.

MUSIC GENRES

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC – Violin and Strings

NICCOLO PAGANINI
- An Italian composer/musician considered to be the most famous violin virtuoso in the world. He also plays guitar.
- He started playing Mandolin at age 5 with his father as teacher and then shifted to violin at age 7. He learned so fast, he
needed to change teachers often which led him to adopt all their playing styles.
- It was rumored that he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his amazing violin skills.
- He was an inspiration to succeeding famous musicians like Franz Liszt, Frederic Chopin, and Robert Schumann among
others.

WORKS:
- “La Campanella”, 24 Caprices for Solo Violin Opus 1, Concerto No. 1 in E flat, Opus 6, 15 Quartets for Guitar and Strings Trio,
The Carnival of Venice.

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC – Piano


- Full of innovations that requires a high level of virtuosity on the part of the musicians.
- Some of the compositions were reinventions of sonatas of the Classical Period.
- Some of the piano compositions during the Romantic Period were adapted into songs in modern time. Example is Frederic
Chopin’s “Etude in E major Opus 10 no. 3” also known as “No Other Love” sung by Jo Stafford.

FREDERIC CHOPIN
- A Polish pianist known as the “POET OF THE PIANO”
- He began to play the piano at the age of 4 and composed “Polonaise” at the age of 7
- After his formal education, he performed concerts all over Europe and eventually met other legendary composers.
- He composed music almost exclusively for piano and utilized the piano pedal in most of his compositions.
- Some of his music is characterized by its beautiful tone, rhythmic flexibility, grace, and elegance.
- Mazurkas and Polonaise express his love for Poland.

WORKS:
- Fantasie in F minor Opus 49, Revolutionary Etude Opus 10 No. 12, and Preludes Opus 28.
- His famous works are in the following genres:
 BALLADE – a verse form or narrative that is set to music
 ETUDE – a piece composed for the development of a specific technique
 MAZURKA – a Polish dance in triple time
 NOCTURNE – an instrumental composition of a pensive or dreamy mood for piano
 POLONAISE – a slow Polish dance in triple time that consists of a march or procession
 PRELUDE – a short piece of music that can be used as a preface and introduction to another work or
may stand on its own
 WALTZ – a German dance in triple meter
 IMPROMPTU – a short free-free form musical composition usually for a solo instrument
 SCHERZO – a musical movement of playful character, typically in ABA form
 SONATA – composition for one or more solo instruments usually consisting of three or four
independent movements carrying in key, mood, and tempo

FRANZ LISZT
- A Hungarian virtuoso pianist. The epitome of a true virtuoso when it comes to piano. The greatest pianist in history.
- He is considered the busiest musician studying and playing in Vienna and Paris while doing concerts all over Europe.
- He displayed remarkable talent in music at an early age. He can do sight reading.
- He started studying at the age of 6 with his father as teacher.
- Turning point of his career was when he heard Niccolo Paganini play the violin. He then dedicated himself to the piano.
- He was well-known for SYMPHONIC POEMS – translation of great literary works into musical compositions.
- He made piano transcriptions of operas and famous symphonies
- He was humanitarian in the sense that he teaches music for free and gives back his earnings to orphans and disaster
victims.
WORKS:
- “La Campanella”, Liebestraume No. 3, Hungarian Rhapsody (Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 the most popular - basis for the Tom
& Jerry cartoon Cat Concerto), Un Sospiro, Sonata in B Minor, Arrangements of 9 Beethoven Symphonies, and
Transcriptions of Lieder by Schubert

ROBERT SCHUMANN
- A German composer and critic considered as one of the greatest during the Romantic Era
- A composer who beautifully combined music and words
- He was a pianist who eventually developed a problem with his hands therefore ending his dreams as pianist.
- After his career ending misfortune, he concentrated on editing musical compositions and writing musical criticisms. One of
which is a performance of Frederic Chopin in Paris.
- He wrote under the two pseudonyms – EUSEBIUS (his sensitive and lyrical side) and FLORESTAN (his fiery and stormy side)

WORKS:
On Piano
- Abegg Variations Opus 1 (1830) - Davidbundlerstanze Opus 6 (Dances of the Band of David) (1837)
- Carnaval Opus 9 (1835) - Phantasiestucke Opus 12 – a series of mood pieces
- Kreisleriana Opus 16 (1838) - Kinderszenen Opus 15 – a poetic series of evocations of a child’s world

On Art Songs - a vocal music composition, usually written for one voice with piano accompaniment, and usually in the classical
tradition
- Fraunliebe und Liebe (A Woman’s Love and Life) and Dichterliebe (A Poet’s Love)

On Orchestral Music
- Piano Concerto in A Minor Opus 54 - Overture, Scherzo
- Finale Opus 52 - Konzertstuck in F major for Four Horns and Orchestra Opus 86

Additional Information for reference: (need not to be discussed just in case the students need to differentiate Art Songs )
Vocal Chamber Music – songs with instruments besides the piano and/or other voices
Orchestral Music – songs written for an orchestra and voice
Folk Songs – combination of traditional music and the genre that went with it
Song Cycle – a collection of art songs that is sung in groups to convey a narrative or a story

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC – Program Music


- An instrumental composition that conveys images or scenes to tell a short story without text or lyrics. It entices the
imagination of the listener. Example is music used as background in movies.

HECTOR BERLIOZ
- A French composer famous for his work “Symphonie Fantastique” which used tone color as the basic component of the
composition.

TONE COLOR – also called TIMBRE is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound
production.

SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE or FANTASTIC SYMPHONY


- Berlioz’s Fantastic Symphony is about a young musician who went into deep depression and attempted to take his own life
due to discouraged love. He took a large dose of opium thinking it will end his life but was unsuccessful. Instead he went
into a deep sleep full of nightmares and his emotions and memories were translated into hallucinations. The object of his
love became the melody that keeps on repeating over and over again.
- These was the inspiration of the composition which was divided into five movements.

MOVEMENT TITLE
1. FIRST MOVEMENT – Reveries / Passion
2. SECOND MOVEMENT – A Ball
3. THIRD MOVEMENT – Scene in the Country
4. FOURTH MOVEMENT – March to the Scaffold
5. FIFTH MOVEMENT – Dream of a Witch’s Sabbath

PETER ILYCH TCHAIKOVSKY (Ptyor Ilych Chaykowsky)


- He is a Russian composer very famous for his ballet music.
- Studied Law and continued to music
- He is a big fan of Mozart and studied with Anton Rubinstein
- He continued his career in New York until he composed the musical poem “Fatum” and “Romeo and Juliet”
- His trademarks in music are the characteristic of having a haunting melody and using a great deal of folk music.

WORKS:
- Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, 1812 Overture, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Symphony No 6 “Pathetique”, Symphony
No 2, and Piano Concerto No. 1 among others

CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS
- A very talented French composer and organist. He was considered one of the best pianist and organist of his time.
- He started studying piano at an early age of 2 and began composing at the age of 3.
- He is known to create elegant, neat, clean, and polished music. His music was never excessive.

WORKS:
- Carnival of the Animals, Danse Macabre and his Symphony No 3, The Swan, and over 300 works in all genres which includes
 3 Operas “Samson and Delilah”
 5 Symphonies “The Organ Symphony No. 3”
 3 Concertos for violin and orchestra
 5 Concertos for piano and orchestra
 2 Concertos for cello and orchestra
 Organ music
 Numerous pieces for piano
 More or less 100 songs
 Chamber music
 Sacred music including Requiem

VOCAL MUSIC – Romantic Opera (to be discussed during the 4th grading period)