Romantic program music
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Romantic Program Music. Instrumental music that has literary or pictorial associations: indicated by the title or by an explanatory note supplied by the composer. Program music. Concert overture A single-movement concert piece for orchestra based on a literary idea, i.e., Romeo and Juliet

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Romantic Program Music

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Romantic program music

Romantic Program Music

Instrumental music that has literary or pictorial associations: indicated by the title or by an explanatory note supplied by the composer

Program music

Program music

  • Concert overture

    • A single-movement concert piece for orchestra based on a literary idea, i.e., Romeo and Juliet

  • Incidental music

    • Consists of an overture and a series of pieces to be performed between the acts of a play and during important scenes, i.e., A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Absolute music

Absolute Music

  • Music for “music’s sake”

    • Just because . . . i.e., Symphonies

Symphony vs program symphony

Classical Period

Most popular form was the symphony

No pictorial idea—merely abstract

Romantic Period

Program Symphony (However, abstract type still composed)

Symphony vs. Program symphony

Fusion of program music absolute

Fusion of Program Music/Absolute

  • Program Symphony

    • A multimovement orchestral work with a literary or pictorial association

  • Symphonic Poem (or tone poem)

    • A one-movement work in which contrasting sections develop a “pictorial” idea, i.e., The Moldau, or Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

Hector berlioz 1803 1869

Hector Berlioz(1803-1869)

  • French composer

  • Studied medicine and music

  • Among his passions were the creations of Beethoven and Shakespeare

Harriet smithson

Harriet Smithson

"...[Let me tell you, you don't know what love is,

whatever you may say about feeling it deeply [for your friend].

For you, it's not that rage, that fury, that delirium which takes

possession of all one's faculties, which renders one capable of

anything. You would not be the man to lose yourself in pleasure

over the person you love. In that you are lucky, and I would never

want you to experience the unbearable suffering to which I have

fallen prey since your departure." Hector Berlioz

Hector berlioz his music

Hector BerliozHis Music

  • One of the boldest innovators of the Romantic Period

  • “Creator of the modern orchestra”

    • Originality in handling the instruments

    • Music called for larger orchestras than ever before

Symphonie fantastique a five movement program symphony by hector berlioz

Symphonie fantastique(A five-movement program symphony)by Hector Berlioz

  • Written when he was only 27

  • Story draws from his personal life

    • A young musician of morbid sensibility and ardent imagination, in . . . lovesick despair, has poisoned himself with opium. The drug, too weak to kill, plunges him into a heavy sleep accompanied by strange visions. . . . The beloved one herself becomes for him a melody, a recurrent theme that haunts him everywhere.

Id e fixe fixed idea

Idée fixe(Fixed idea)

  • The recurrent theme of the symphony

  • Symbolizes the “beloved”

  • Unifies all five movements

Symphonie fantastique manuscript


Symphonie fantastique 5 movements

Symphonie fantastique (5 movements)

  • I. Reveries, Passions

  • II. A Ball

  • III. Scene in the Fields

  • IV. March to the Scaffold

  • V. Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath

    • Contains the Dies Irae (heard with bells)

    • Combines the Dies Irae with the “dance”

  • “Ghouls” by Jacqui Grantford

Romantic program music

Musical Nationalism“I grew up in a quiet spot and was saturated from earliest childhood with the wonderful beauty of Russian popular song. I am therefore passionately devoted to every expression of the Russian spirit. In short, I am a Russian through and through!”

  • Political unrest stimulated Nationalism

    • Works written to celebrate national heroes, events, places

  • Prominent schools arose in:

    • Russia, Scandinavia, Spain, England, Bohemia

    • Wrote music containing folk songs or dance types of their country

    • Wrote dramatic works based on folklore or peasant life

    • Wrote symphonic poems based on a national hero, a historic event, or their countryside.

Romantic program music

From Bohemia: Bedřich Smetana(1824-1884)“My compositions do not belong to the realm of absolute music, where one can get along well enough with musical signs and a metronome.”

  • Political unrest in his country

  • Successful uprising against Austrian Rule

    • Wrote 8 operas

    • Best known for the symphonic poem, Má Vlast (My Fatherland), inspired by the beauty of Bohemia’s countryside

The moldau river

The Moldau River

The moldau river vltava in czech

The Moldau River“Vltava” in Czech

M vlast 1874 79 my country fatherland

Má Vlast(1874-79)(My Country)[Fatherland]

  • A series of 6 symphonic poems

  • No. 2 “The Moldau”

    • Source of river, two springs, then theme enters

    • Hunting scene

    • Peasant wedding

    • Nymphs in moonlight

    • St. John Rapids

    • Ancient castle

The romantic symphony abstract form

The Romantic Symphony(“Abstract” form)

  • Favored genre alongside program music

  • Increased in size, with new instruments

  • Multimovement orchestral work, with 3-4 movements in a specific form

The form of the symphony

The “Form” of the Symphony

  • First Movement – Sonata-allegro form

  • Second Movement – Usually slow, ternary OR theme and variation

  • Third Movement – Scherzo/Trio (ABA) – lively movement (scherzo means “joke), with a mood anywhere from elfin lightness to demonic energy.

  • Fourth Movement – Usually Sonata-allegro form OR rondo

Sonata allegro form

Sonata-Allegro Form

  • Exposition

    • Theme I – Home key

    • Theme II – Contrasting key

    • Closing section

  • Development

    • Anything goes, but one generally hears part of a theme that was heard in the exposition

  • Recapitulation

    • Theme I – home key

    • Theme II – home key

    • Closing section – home key (So that the piece ends in the home key)

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