INTRODUCTION TO 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 Franz Schubert’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.
• 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”.
• 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.