The Blog


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
• German poet, writer, and philosopher provided inspiration for generation of artists and musicians
• “ The sorrows of Young Werther”, “Egmont”,”Faust”
Napoleon Bonaparte
• Brilliant strategists and political leader in history
• Led France to become a dominant force in 19th century Europe
• “Napoleonic Code” was established for the foundation for European law
Caspar David Friedrich
• 19th century painter who embodies Romanticism in his landscapes; like “Wanderer Above the Mist”, “ The Abbey in the Oakwood”
Charles Dickens
• Popular English writer, his novels reflects idealism and harsh realities of 19th century life in England
• His classical works “ Oliver Twist”, “A Tale of Two Cities”, “ A Christmas Carol”, ”Great Expectations”

Elements of Romantic Musical Style
• Lyrical and espansive
• Influenced by folk song and dance

• Increased chromaticism
• Exploration for new tonal centers( mediant and submediant)
• Exploration of modal harmony

Formal Structure
• Development and formation of forms” Symphony, opera, song cycles
• Cyclical structure, linking of movements
• Development of miniature forms Lieder- character pieces for piano
Programmatic elements
• Popular in 19th century and instrumental music associated with literary, poetic, visual texts
• Titles that evokes specific images in the listener’s imagination
• Orchestral genres includes concert overture, symphonic poem, program symphony, and incidental music
References “Music History” by J. Lopinski. J.Ringhofer,P.Zarins; “The Enjoyment of Music 10th Edition” by K.Forney, J.Machlis.


• 19th century political and social climate marked by politics fervor , desire for independence, and escape from oppression
• Folk songs: Frederic Chopin’s “Polonauses” and “ Mazurkas”, Antonin Dvorak’s “Slavonic Dances”, and Franz Liszt’s “Rhapsodies”.
• Also local myths, and legends and historical events were characterized. Like, Bedrich Smetana’s “Vltava” ( “The Moldau”)

• Seeking distraction and relief from the pressures of everyday teality
• Flights of fantasy, reveire and imagination. Like literature of personal journal of Thomas de Quincey “Confessions of an English Opium-Easter”
• Example: Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonies Fantastique”
Fascination with the supernatural
• Writers and painters were drawn to mystical, magical and spectral phenomena
• Fairy tales by Brothers Grimm in 1812
• Paintings by John Henry Fuseli “ Titania and Bottom”
• Carl Maria von Weber’s opera “ Der Freischutz”, Adolphe Adam’s music for the ballet “ Giselle “ and Hector Berlioz’s “ Symphonies Fantastique”( 5th movement)
Morbid fascination with death
• Attraction to the finality of death, to the macabre, the sinister
• Franz Liszt’s “Totentanz” (Dance of Death) and the final :love death aria by Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde”(Leibestod)

Art as religion
• Art became a replacement for traditional religion
• The pursuit of the divine spark, the search for sublime beauty
• Richard Wagner referred opera “Parsifal” as festival drama of consecration
Adoration of nature
• Nature viewed allegorically; a mirror of the artist’s soul
• Celebration of the awesome forces of nature, including the violence of ocean storms, untamed wilderness
• Paintings J.M.W . Turner and Caspar David Friedrich; Music Ludwig van Beethoven “Symphony No 6 “ Pastoral”


References “Music History” by J. Lopinski. J.Ringhofer,P.Zarins; “The Enjoyment of Music 10th Edition” by K.Forney, J.Machlis.

19th Century Art and Music!


The French Revolution 1789 marked the dawning of the Romantic era. Aristocratic privilege was not eliminated entirely; the rise of middle class was restricted. The voice of the individual, freely expressing a uniquely subjective view of the world.
Romanticism came before Classicism. There was balance, asymmetry no followed, emotional restraint was replaced by unbridled passion; objective viewpoints had dominated, a deeply personal, subjective perspective now emerged.

• German for “longing”
• Yearning for the unattainable, which found expression in works such as Richard Wagner’s opera “Tristan und Isolde” and FranzSchubert’s song “Gretchen am Spinnrade”

• Artists express their won uniquely personal view of the world
• Jean-Jacques Rousseau in “The Confessions”, who said: if I am not better (than other people), at least I am different.

Heightened emotionalism
• Classical restraint gave way to unbridled expressions of human emotions and passions
• Represented in literary works such as Gustave Flaubet’s “Madame Bovary” and Alexandre Dumas’ “ La Dame aux camellias”
• Evident in music for piano , like Robert Schumann’s “ Fantasy “ and Chopin’s “ Nocturnes” and orchestral Tchaikovsky’s “ Symphony No 6 in B Minor po74 “ Pathetique”

• German for “ world- weariness”
• Pessimism began to permeate the works of writers, artist, and musicians
• Franz Schubert’s “Winterreise” song cycle.

• Fascination with the distant and foreign
• Evoked in music through melody, rhythm inspired by local dances, modal inflections, chromatic harmony and colorful orchestration
• Giuseppe Verdi “ Aida” , Jules Massenet’s “ Thais”, Delibe’s “Lakme”.