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Chapter 18: The Late Romantics

Chapter 18: The Late Romantics. Responses to Romanticism. Classicism Double stops Cross-rhythms. Romantic nostalgia Parody Round . Key Terms. Responses to Romanticism. After 1850, music continued to develop along Romantic lines

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Chapter 18: The Late Romantics

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  1. Chapter 18:The Late Romantics Responses to Romanticism

  2. Classicism Double stops Cross-rhythms Romantic nostalgia Parody Round Key Terms

  3. Responses to Romanticism • After 1850, music continued to develop along Romantic lines • Seemed increasingly out of place in a world devoted to industrialization & commerce • Music became an emotional fantasy-world for a society that suppressed feelings in real life • Composers responded in different ways • Brahms used Classical models to temper Romanticism’s unbridled emotionalism • Mahler’s music laments Romanticism’s loss of innocence & credibility

  4. The Renewal of Classicism:Brahms • Rejected many early Romantic innovations • Went back to Classical genres & forms • Wrote string quartets & other chamber works, symphonies, and concertos • Found new life in Classical forms – sonata form, theme & variations, rondo • Beethoven’s music was a lifelong model • Brahms was inspired by his nobility & power • Brahms tried to temper the richness & variety of Romantic emotion with Classicism’s strength & poise

  5. Johannes Brahms(1833-1897) • Son of a bassist in Hamburg • Started musical studies at age 7 • Later played piano in taverns & wrote tunes • Met Robert & Clara Schumann at age 20 • They befriended & encouraged Brahms • Part of Brahms-Wagner controversy • Signed manifesto against Wagner’s music • Uneventful bachelor existence in Vienna • Steadily wrote symphonies, concertos, piano works, chamber music, German Requiem, etc.

  6. Brahms, Violin Concerto in D • Concertos written to show off virtuosos • Often the composer – e.g. Mozart or Chopin • Brahms wrote this one for Joseph Joachim • Joachim helped out, even wrote 1st movement cadenza • Brahms uses Classical movement plan • Three movements, fast-slow-fast • 1st movement double-exposition sonata form • Last movement rondo form, the most common Classical concerto ending

  7. Brahms, Violin Concerto, III (1) • Rondo theme has a spirited gypsy-like lilt • Exoticism – gypsy fiddling popular in Vienna • Double-stops add to virtuoso fiddling effect • Cross-rhythms at the end disrupt meter

  8. Brahms, Violin Concerto, III (2) • Episodes provide various contrasts • Romantic sweep in B • Lyrical tune in C • Short cadenzas feature soloist

  9. Brahms, Violin Concerto, III (3) • Thematic transformation in coda • Swinging march version of rondo theme (over a drum beat) in very fast compound meter

  10. Romantic Nostalgia: Mahler • Embraced Romanticism’s excesses • Wrote huge program symphonies, some with solo singers and choruses • Often attempted to express profound spiritual or metaphysical messages • He once said a symphony is “an entire world” • But he could not fully enter this Romantic fantasy world • He pits lost innocence against cynical realism • Music feels uneasy, exaggerated, distorted

  11. Gustav Mahler(1860-1911) • Born & raised in a dysfunctional family • Musical training at Vienna Conservatory • Pursued rising career as a conductor • Led many of the finest orchestras of his day • Ten years at Vienna Opera – but anti-Semitism made for a stormy tenure there • Ended career with Metropolitan Opera & New York Philharmonic • Could only compose during the summer • Wrote 10 long symphonies & 6 song cycles

  12. Mahler, Symphony No. 1 • At first a one-movement symphonic poem • Grew into a five-movement symphony • Finally revised into four movements • Includes fragments from his songs • Songs about lost love • Originally a program symphony • Hero overcomes distress of lost love • Individual style of orchestration • Contrapuntal melodies pass from instrument to instrument in kaleidoscopic fashion

  13. Third Movement:Background • March inspired by a nursery picture • The Huntsman’s Funeral Procession • Forest animals shed tears as they follow the hearse of a hunter • Full of pomp & ceremony – torches, solemn gowns, a banner, pallbearers, a bell, a choir, & a complement of mourners • Why would animals mourn the death of their tormentor in such a lavish manner? • The painting’s innocuous qualities mask its incongruities

  14. Third Movement:Use of “Frère Jacques” • Similar incongruities pervade the March • On first hearing the music seems genuinely solemn, mournful, perhaps even tragic • This feeling is completely deflated when you finally recognize the tune – “Frère Jacques”! • Distortions make the tune harder to recognize • Mahler casts the tune in minor mode, slows down the tempo, & alters a few notes • Tune introduced by the last instrument you would expect – a bass playing in high register • Vulgar dance band phrases also deflate mood

  15. Third Movement:Funeral March (1) • Very free march-trio-march form • Ironic funeral march & personal lament • March theme a distorted minor-key parody of children’s round “Frère Jacques” • Trio taken from a Mahler song about lost love • March theme treated as a round • Over mournful, monotonous drumbeat

  16. Third Movement:Funeral March (2) • Section 2 present dance-band fragments • Exaggerated, parodistic, even vulgar phrases • Return to funeral-march motives at the end

  17. Third Movement:Funeral March (3) • Trio offers a complete contrast • Begins with warm major-mode sounds • Trio’s theme is a delicate, lyrical melody • Tune from a nostalgic song about lost love • Its innocent quality soon turns bittersweet

  18. Third Movement:Funeral March (4) • March returns in final section • Faster tempo with new counterpoints • Dance-band phrases interrupt at even faster tempo for a wild moment of near chaos • Return of funeral-march motives that ended Section 2 – the music dies away

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