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Romantic Period. 1820-1900. Recap from Monday. Chopin: Polish “poet of the piano” Shy, rarely gave public recitals, played in intimate salons Short piano works such as nocturnes, preludes, mazurkas, études , and polonaises Program Music (as opposed to absolute)

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Romantic period

Romantic Period


Recap from monday
Recap from Monday

  • Chopin: Polish “poet of the piano”

    • Shy, rarely gave public recitals, played in intimate salons

    • Short piano works such as nocturnes, preludes, mazurkas, études, and polonaises

  • Program Music (as opposed to absolute)

    • associated with a story or specific idea

    • no lyrics

    • commonly represents birds, storms, bells, rivers, etc.


  • Hector Berlioz: French composer

    • Known for innovative orchestration

    • Famous for Symphoniefantastique, a program symphony depicting his love for Harriet Smithson

    • We listened to the March to the Scaffold. Know about that.

  • Nationalism: Intense devotion and pride for one’s country

    • Modest Mussorgsky—Russian composer of Pictures at an Exhibition including “The Great Gate of Kiev”

    • Bedrich Smetana—Czech composer of The Moldau

    • AntoninDvǒrák—Czech composer who came to America to direct the National Conservatory in NY, spent summer in Iowa and gained interest in Native American and African-American tunes, wrote New World Symphony

Peter tchaikovsky
Peter Tchaikovsky

  • Russian composer (1840-1893)

  • 6 symphonies, 1812 Overture

  • Ballets: Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker

  • Famous piano concerto

Gustav mahler
Gustav Mahler

  • Austrian (1860-1911)

  • Jewish heritage, converted to Protestantism

  • Famous as a conductor in Europe and NY

  • 9 symphonies

    • Used chorus in 4 of these (like Beethoven)

    • Symphonies are very monumental in length and number of performers (one is known as “the Symphony of a Thousand” and is an hour and a half long with a huge orchestra, 8 solo singers, a boys’ choir, and 2 choruses

Opera in the romantic period
Opera in the Romantic Period

  • Many works demonstrate exoticism, a fascination with foreign lands.

  • Giacomo Puccini: Italian composer of La Bohème and Madame Butterfly (Japan)

  • Giuseppe Verdi: Italian composer of operas very popular with the public

    • Nabucco—contains a chorus that became a national liberation hymn during Austrian dominance

    • Rigoletto, Il Travatore, La Traviata (somewhat scandalous topics)

    • Aïda—about an Egyptian princess

  • Serious operas often had tragic endings

Richard wagner
Richard Wagner

  • German composer (1813-1883)

  • Famous for massive operas

    • The Ring cycle: a group of 4 long operas based on Nordic legends, very supernatural

    • He wrote the libretto (text) and the music. He also built a theater (Beyreuth) specifically for his operas and oversaw the rehearsals, costuming, and pretty much anything else.

    • These had music that resembled speech, gave no time for applause after arias, and gave new importance to the orchestra.

  • Personality

    • Very dark, stormy, and egotistical

    • He was in debt to many people and never repaid them

    • Anti-Semitic