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Day No. 13: Early Romanticism

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Whitney George

on 26 June 2012

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Transcript of Day No. 13: Early Romanticism

Baroque was a term that was only applied after the movement finished, but the Romantic movement was coined by the people involved in the movement itself
mostly due to Beethoven, music was considered on-par with the other arts

the age of great poetry- Keats, Wordsworth, Hoffman, etc...

The Cult of Individual Feeling
constant striving for better individual being
Industrial Revolution (well on its way)
need for escapism against this looming, industrial landscape became necessary
American Revolution (1776)
Industrial Revolution
French Revolution (1789)
Russian Revolution (1917)
Romanticism and Revolution
many musicians associated themselves with libertarian politics
lower and middle classes gained more social mobility
Concert Life in the 19th Century
concert halls and opera houses were still in use
cities and townships erected these buildings as a sign of civic pride
Carnegie Hall was built
spread of Italian opera to *many* places

The Artist and the Public
concert public tended towards conservatism
emergence of a relationship between the public and the composer
some of the music of the later romantics was labeled as hostile and boycotted by audiences
Characteristics of Romantic Music
Rhythm: Rubato
flexibility in rhythmic meter
Romantic Melody
wider range of emotiongreater rhythmic variety
chromaticism- using the chromatic scale (or chromatic motion of 1/2 steps) in tonal music
chromaticism is associated with dissonance
Expansion of Tone Color
advances in instrument technology- could play in more extreme ranges
orchestra configuration now had later string sections, lots of winds, brass, and percussion instruments
Music and the Supernatural
many of the arts were interested in supernatural forces:
Frankenstein- Mary Shelley
Erlking- Franz Schubert
Macbeth- Verdi
Symphony Fantastique- Berlioz
The Flying Dutchman- Wagner

Music and the Other Arts
Wagnerian approach to theater- “total artwork”
people felt that music could express the inner emotions better than the visual and literary art because music wasn’t so strongly tied to images and associations from one person to another were quite different
Form in Romantic Music
program music- music that tells a story
composers broke the molds of forms in the classical era to increase the feeling of spontaneity in their music
miniatures- short pieces used to evoke or represent an emotion
longer symphonic poems- Haydn’s late symphonies- 20 min., VS. Herlioz’s “Romeo and Juliet” 1.5 hours
and even longer in opera- Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” goes on for four nights, has 15 sets, and special instruments designed just for the production
thematic unity
thematic transformations- short themes that are freely varied throughout a piece of movement
leit motif- a short melodic fragment that represents a certain symbol, theme, emotion, etc... in a piece of music
The Early Romantics
Beethoven’s music had a profound effect on early romantic composers, more so for German composers than others
Early romantics were also deeply influenced by the literary movement, and especially poetry
The Lied
lied- a German song of the late 18th and early 19th century
accompaniment is by the piano along poetry is usually romantic
mood is intimate, like a story told directly to you

Schubert, “Erlkonig”
through-composed- like a strophic form, but the repeating stanzas vary in character instead of being directly repeated
text-painting with colorful harmonies
one singer portrays all of the parts
Father (reason)
Son (innocence)
Erlking (witch—supernatural)
The Lied & Art Song
The Song Cycle
Song Cycle- a group of songs all dealing with a common poetic theme, like a set of miniatures

Robert Schumann, “Dichterliebe” (a Poet’s Love)
a song cycle of 16 love poems
“Im wunderschonen Monat Mai” (In the wonderfully lovely month of May)
strophic- stanzas of text are set to the same accompaniment
“Die alten, bosen Lieder” (the hateful songs of time past”)

Clara Schumann, “Der Mond kommt still gegangen” (The moon has risen softly)
modified strophic form- A-A-A’
The Song Cycle
The Character Piece for Piano
Etude- a study for an instrument
Character pieces- a piece that portrays a certain mood or character

Franz Schubert, “Moment Musical No. 2 in A-flat"
A-B-A’-B’-A’’ form

Robert Schumann, “Carnaval”
20 short pieces, each on a character from a Mardi Gras ball”
Schumann’s pen name for his “dream self”
aabab’a’ba form
“Florestan”, a more rambunctious character
“Chiarina”, a musical portrait of Clara, his wife-to-be

Fredric Chopin, “Nocturne in F-sharp, Op. 12 No. 2”
nocturnes- night pieces
The Character Piece for Piano
Early Romantic Program Music
concert overture- a long piece about an epic poem
example, Mendelssohn’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” piece for orchestra
program symphony- a multi-movement form with a programmatic detail (or storyline)

Berlioz, “Fantastic Symphony: Episodes in the Life of an Artist”
at the premiere performance, the audience was given a program with the whole story, movement by movement
first movement has a melody associated with the musician’s beloved called the “idee fixe” (or obsession), which comes back in later movements
Movement No. 1: Reveries, Passions
idee fixe is established
Movement No. 2: A Ball
the dance scene of an opium dream
idee fixe returns in a waltz
Movement No. 3: Scene in the Country
a movement intended to portray nature and distant rumbling of a storm
Movement No. 4: March to the Scaffold
a processional leads the artist to a scaffold to kill him
Movement No. 5: A Witches Sabbath
the nightmare of the opium dream, where there is a orgy with witchesu
ses the famous Gregorian Chant for the Day of Wrath
Early Romantic Program Music
Who rides there so late through the night dark and drear?
The father it is, with his infant so dear;
He holdeth the boy tightly clasp'd in his arm,
He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.

"My son, wherefore seek'st thou thy face thus to hide?"
"Look, father, the Erl-King is close by our side!
Dost see not the Erl-King, with crown and with train?"
"My son, 'tis the mist rising over the plain."

"Oh, come, thou dear infant! oh come thou with me!
For many a game I will play there with thee;
On my strand, lovely flowers their blossoms unfold,
My mother shall grace thee with garments of gold."

"My father, my father, and dost thou not hear
The words that the Erl-King now breathes in mine ear?"
"Be calm, dearest child, 'tis thy fancy deceives;
'Tis the sad wind that sighs through the withering leaves."

"Wilt go, then, dear infant, wilt go with me there?
My daughters shall tend thee with sisterly care;
My daughters by night their glad festival keep,
They'll dance thee, and rock thee, and sing thee to sleep."

"My father, my father, and dost thou not see,
How the Erl-King his daughters has brought here for me?"
"My darling, my darling, I see it aright,
'Tis the aged grey willows deceiving thy sight."

"I love thee, I'm charm'd by thy beauty, dear boy!
And if thou'rt unwilling, then force I'll employ."
"My father, my father, he seizes me fast,
For sorely the Erl-King has hurt me at last."

The father now gallops, with terror half wild,
He grasps in his arms the poor shuddering child;
He reaches his courtyard with toil and with dread, –
The child in his arms finds he motionless, dead.
German Epic Opera
Die Walkure
Siegmund, sieh auf mich! (Voight, Kaufmann)
Siegfried and Sielinde fall in love only to realize that they are brother and sister!
Leitmotifs abound
one represents their love for Valhalla, where they live
there's one for the river Rhein
(and the list continues)
Italian Verismo Opera
La Boheme
Che gelida manina (Rodolpho's Aria)
Si, mi chiamano Mimi (Mimi's Aria)
This is opera that attempts to portray realistic events and emotions
for this reason, it doesn't use traditional recitative form
it does include arias and ensembles with memorable melodies
Opera (of the German and Italian Variety)
Full transcript