Music history during the Romantic period

First, in the Czech Republic, Germany, and then in other countries of Eastern and Northern Europe, choral societies appeared – small but numerous associations performing a simple choral repertoire. From these “grassroots” societies, such a phenomenon as national music and, in general, musical romanticism, with its interest in national traditions and small forms – piano pieces and songs, which are convenient for home performance, begins to take shape.

In the era of romanticism, a new type of musician, the virtuoso, emerges, and a cult of his special veneration takes shape. Niccolo Paganini, who began as a child prodigy and continued his career as a touring violinist almost continuously, attracted the audience not only with his skillful and precise playing, but also with his mysterious, sometimes exalted behavior. His own caprices for violin (free-form compositions that became a virtuoso-refined genre thanks to Paganini), the notes of which every performer could buy, were the first challenge of a virtuoso to a non-virtuoso.

A new genre for the 19th century – the program symphony, web site that is, having a literary program, appears with the light hand of Beethoven. Trying to create something that would combine not only instrumental and vocal music, but also equalize music and literature, Beethoven is forced to finish the Ninth Symphony (1824) as an oratorio: in the finale, the soloists and chorus perform “Ode to Joy” to the words of the poem by Friedrich Schiller … It should be noted that earlier works with titles (Vivaldi’s concertos, Haydn’s symphonies) relied on painting or, at best, descriptive poetry; they lacked a literary narrative. He directly appears with Hector Berlioz in his Fantastic Symphony of 1830: Berlioz does not use vocals, but invites the listener to read the accompanying text written by him, consisting of the title and a short literary introduction to each movement. These experiments were continued by Felix Mendelssohn. Two of his overtures, The Hebrides, or Fingal’s Cave (1832) and The Peace of the Sea and Happy Voyage (1828–1834), are considered direct predecessors of the symphonic poem genre created by Franz Liszt. Thus, the romantics did not invent their own large form, but re-invented the old one, filling it with content that was innovative for its time.

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