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Programmatic Music: Romantic Period

a composition which reflects a story, event, or events within its music


designed according to some preconceived narrative, or is designed to evoke
a specific idea and atmosphere
different from traditional absolute music from Baroque and Classical
periods, where piece has no narrative idea and is made only for music
Musical forms such as:
Symphonic Poem
Ballade
Suite
Overture
genre has a particular influence on film music
single movements of orchestral pieces can be called symphonic poems
Symphonie fantastique, Hector Belioz
From his program notes in 1845:
A young vibrant musician falls in love with a woman who unites all
charms of the ideal person he has been imagining.
Whenever he images this image it is always associated with a musical
idea, which becomes the theme, or idee fixe that recurs in each mvt.
Specifically showing second movement, called Un Bal
Two harps lead the waltz, music portrays two things: watching the
dancers and the Artist trying to gain the attention of his beloved
Artist finds himself in the tumult of a festive party, yet the beloved image
keeps haunting him and throws his spirit into confusion
Two harps provide glamour and richness of ball
Pictures at an Exhibition, Mussorgsky
Piano suite, with each movement capturing a different work of art
Specifically showing Number 10, The Bogatyr Gates (in Capital Kiev)
sketch by Hartmann for his design of the city gates (never was built)
was made to commemorate Tsar Alexander II's narrow escape from
assassination in 1866
The Great Gate of Kiev or The Heroes' Gate at Kiev
grand main theme, then secondary solemn theme based on baptismal
hymn from Russian Orthodox chant
Also sprach Zarathustra or Thus Spoke Zarathrustra, Richard Strauss
tone poem inspired by a philosophical novel by the same name
initial fanfare (Sunrise in composer's program notes) very well-known
used in 2001: A Space Odyssey
the brass fanfare of the Introduction introduces the dawn motif

The Sorcerer's Apprentice


poem written by Goethe in 1797
An old sorcerer leaves his workshop, leaving his apprentice with chores to
perform. Tired of fetching water by pail, the apprentice enchants a broom
to do the work for him, but because he's not trained, the floor is soon
awash with water and the apprentice realizes he doesn't know how to stop
the broom. The old sorcerer finally returns and breaks the spell.
Popularized in 1940 Disney film Fantasia, Mickey Mouse
(skip to 2:17)
Mendelssohn A Midsummer Night's Dream, Wedding March
commonly used as wedding march as recessional
Movie Stuff:
Indiana Jones Theme Song
Titanic Southampton
Dark Knight Rises - The return of the dark knight