The Romantic Era

Ashley S. Carlos M.

The Romantic Era
Period 4th/8th

Burbank Middle School

The purpose of this experiment is to create a reminder to the people of the great composers of the Romantic era. Also, to represent a few background information of the great composers.

The Romantic era was a period of great change and emancipation. While the Classical era had strict laws of balance and restraint, the Romantic era moved away from that allowing artistic freedom, experimentation, and creativity. The music of this time period was very expressive, and melody became the dominant feature. Composers even used this expressive means to display nationalism. This became a driving force in the late Romantic period, as composers used elements of folk music to express their cultural identity.

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The Romantic Era Composers
The Romantic Era or period is also known as Romanticism. It began in 1750 and lasted to about 1870, but it mostly depended on the country. After Beethoven, composers turned their attention to the expression of intense feelings in their music. This expression of emotion was the focus of all the arts of the self-described "Romantic" movement. For inspiration, many Romantic composers turned to the visual arts, to poetry, drama and literature, and to nature itself. Using the classical forms of sonata and symphony as a starting point, composers began focusing more on new melodic styles, richer harmonies, and ever more dissonance, in the pursuit of moving their audiences, rather than concerning themselves with the structural discipline of Classical form. Later composers of the nineteenth century would further build on the forms and ideas developed by the Romantic composers. One of the composers of the Romantic era was Gioacchino Rossini. He was born in Pesaro, February 29, 1792 and died in Paris, November 13, 1868. Producing his first opera at the age of eighteen, Rossini composed dozens, many of which are still in the repertoire today, while others are being once again explored. Rossini excelled in the opera buffa, or comic opera of the day. The music he wrote for these comic works has been described as "the perfect distillation of comedy into music." Whether in comic or serious opera, his vocal style reflected the highly embellished, virtuosic melodic line again in favor at the time. The overtures to Rossini's operas are extremely popular concert pieces and some, such as the William Tell Overture, have been put to various commercial uses in recent years. This opera, Rossini's last, was written in 1829, and although he lived for almost another forty years, Rossini never composed another opera. Another composer of Romanticism was Gaetano Donizetti. He was born in Bergamo, November 29, 1797 and died in Bergamo, April 8, 1848. Inheriting the bel canto tradition from Rossini, Donizetti's operas are today mostly admired for their many attractive melodies and fine ensembles. Although he composed over seventy operas, only a handful have remained in the general repertory, but those are generally regarded as outstanding examples of the Italian Bel Canto period.

Donizetti's most famous opera is surely Lucia di Lammermoor, based on a novel by Sir Walter Scott. Carl Maria von Weber, another composer of the Romantic era was born in Eutin, Oldenburg, and November 18, 1786 and died in London, June 5, 1826. Weber was a figure in the Romantic era as the composer who broke the Italian tradition by establishing a very successful German opera. The overtures to Weber's operas are dramatic renderings through music of the stories that unfold, as in the overture to his most famous opera, Der Freischütz. The opera is about a hunter who, in order to marry the girl he loves, becomes a pawn in a bargain with the devil so that he may win a marksman's shooting contest. Felix Mendelssohn, my favorite composer of the Romantic era, was born in Hamburg, February 3, 1809 and died in Leipzig, November 4, 1847. Since he showed exceptional music talent at a young age, he was encouraged by his family to study music and pursue it as his career. At the age of seventeen, he composed an overture based on Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" which was so successful that some years later he composed more music on the subject, resulting in a suite of pieces to be used in the play. Mendelssohn responded to nature as did most composers of the period. One of the results of nature's influence was the Fingal's Cave Overture, also known as The Hebrides, which depicts the rocky, wind-swept coast and ancient caverns of Scotland. Mendelssohn's many travels also influenced two of his five symphonies, the third in A minor, known as the "Scotch" Symphony, and his popular Symphony no. 4 in A major, known as the "Italian" symphony, which incorporates melodies and dances that Mendelssohn heard while traveling in that country. Robert Schumann, a composer of the Romantic era, was born in Zwickaus, June 8, 1810 and died in Endenich, July 29, 1856. He is a master of different musical compositions. Robert’s music on the piano was examples of the Romantic style in the half of the nineteenth century. Besides the piano, most of his work was short, poetic pieces. Schumann was able to marry Clara Wiek in 1840. Throughout his life, he felt divided in two different natures which were, gentle and poetic. A summary of Robert’s life would be, he was a unique person in music history because he made musical genre at the time. Franz Liszt, my second favorite composer of the Romantic era, was born in Raiding, Odenburg, October 22, 1811 and died in Bayreuth, July 31, 1886. Hungarian composer Franz Liszt began his career as the outstanding concert pianist of the century, who, along with the prodigious violinist Niccolo Paganini. To show off his phenomenal and unprecedented technique, Liszt composed a

great deal of music designed specifically for resulting in a vast amount of piano literature laden with dazzling scales, trills, arpeggios, leaps, and other technical marvels. Liszt composed a series of virtuosic rhapsodies on Hungarian gypsy melodies, the best-known being the all too familiar Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2. Liszt is often credited with the creation of the symphonic. Such a work is Les Preludes, based on a poem in which life is expressed as a series of struggles, passions, and mysteries.