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ROMANTICISM. 1820-1900. Time Line. Monroe Doctrine 1823 Hugo: Hunchback of Notre Dame 1831 Dickens: Oliver Twist 1837 Dumas: The Three Musketeers 1844 Poe: The Raven 1845 Darwin: Origin of Species 1859 American Civil War 1861-1865

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time line
Time Line

Monroe Doctrine 1823

Hugo: Hunchback of Notre Dame 1831

Dickens: Oliver Twist 1837

Dumas: The Three Musketeers 1844

Poe: The Raven 1845

Darwin: Origin of Species 1859

American Civil War 1861-1865

Twain: Huckleberry Finn 1884

Bell invents telephone 1876

the spirit of the age
The Spirit of the Age

A sense of shared vision

Early support of the French Revolution

Rise of the individual

Affinity with nature

Radical poetics/politics

An obsession with violent change

the enlightenment romanticism
The Enlightenment Romanticism

Society is good

Curbing violent impulses!

Civilization corrupts

Institutions have rippling effects


romantic literature
Romantic Literature

Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte

Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte

Ivanhoe Sir Walter Scott

Les Miserables Victor Hugo

The Three Musketeers Alexander Dumas

Frankenstein Mary Shelley

Dracula Bramm Stoker

Grimm’s Fairy Tales Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm

Faust Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

the romantic poets
The Romantic Poets

Percy Byssche Shelley

Lord Byron

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

William Wordsworth

John Keats

William Blake

aspects of romanticism in music art
Aspects of Romanticism in music & art
  • The artist apart from society
  • The artist as social critic/revolutionary
  • The artist as genius/cultural hero

BEETHOVEN: “Why bow to social status?”

many important romantic composers
Many important Romantic Composers
  • Franz Schubert
  • Bedrich Smetana
  • Antonin Dvořák
  • Peter Tchaikovsky
  • Johannes Brahms
  • Giuseppe Verdi
  • Giacomo Puccini
  • Richard Wagner
  • Robert Schumann
  • Clara Schumann
  • Frederic Chopin
  • Franz Liszt
  • Felix Mendelssohn
  • Hector Berlioz

Chapter 1

the misunderstood genius
The misunderstood genius

“To be a genius is to be misunderstood” – Emerson

The artist out in front, ahead of the audience, the advanced guard (a military metaphor) – the avant garde

“Music could quickly come to such a point, that everyone who is not precisely familiar with the rules and difficulties of the art would find absolutely no enjoyment in it.”

A critic reviewing the premiere of Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony

beethoven the transition composer
Early style: Classical, the language of Mozart and Haydn

Later style: Romantic intense, passionate, virtuosic

Not a servant, but an independent creator

Beethoventhe transition composer
franz schubert 1797 1828

Only 31 years old at his death

Wrote 16 operas, only 3 performed in his lifetime; none performed today

Between 500-600 songs

Died of syphilis

Franz Schubert1797-1828
schubert erlkonig 1815 goethe
(Narrator) Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind? Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind; Er hat den Knaben wohl in dem Arm, Er fasst ihn sicher, er hält ihn warm.

(Father) "Mein Sohn, was birgst du so bang dein Gesicht?"

(Son) "Siehst, Vater, du den Erlkönig nicht? Den Erlkönig mit Kron' und Schweif?"

(Father) "Mein Sohn, es ist ein Nebelstreif."

(Erlking) "Du liebes Kind, komm geh mit mir! Gar schöne Spiele spiel' ich mit dir; Manch' bunte Blumen sind an dem Strand; Meine Mutter hat manch' gülden Gewand."

(Narrator) Who rides so late through the night and wind? It is a father with his child; he has the boy close in his arm, he holds him tight, he keeps him warm.

(Father) "My son, why do you hide your face in fear?"

(Son) "Father, don't you see the Erlking? The Erlking with his crown and train?"

(Father) "My son, it is a streak of mist."

(Erlking) "You dear child, come with me! I'll play very lovely games with you. There are lots of colourful flowers by the shore; my mother has some golden robes."

Schubert, Erlkonig 1815 (Goethe)
(Son) "Mein Vater, mein Vater, und hörest du nicht, Was Erlkönig mir leise verspricht?"

(Father) "Sei ruhig, bleibe ruhig, mein Kind; In dürren Blättern säuselt der Wind."

(Erlking) "Willst, feiner Knabe, du mit mir geh'n? Meine Töchter sollen dich warten schön; Meine Töchter führen den nächtlichen Reih'n Und wiegen und tanzen und singen dich ein."

(Son) "Mein Vater, mein Vater, und siehst du nicht dort, Erlkönigs Töchter am düsteren Ort?"

(Son) "My father, my father, don't you hear the Erking whispering promises to me?"

(Father) "Be still, stay calm, my child; it's the wind rustling in the dry leaves."

(Erlking) "My find lad, do you want to come with me? My daughters will take care of you; my daughters lead the nightly dance, and they'll rock and dance and sing you to sleep."

(Son) "My father, my father, don't you see the Erlking's daughters over there in the shadows?"

(Father) "Mein Sohn, mein Sohn, ich seh' es genau, Es scheinen die alten Weiden so grau."

(Erlking) "Ich liebe dich, mich reizt deine schöne Gestalt, Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch ich Gewalt."

(Son) "Mein Vater, mein Vater, jetzt fasst er mich an! Erlkönig hat mir ein Leids getan!"

(Narrator) Dem Vater grauset's, er reitet geschwind, Er hält in Armen das ächzende Kind, Erreicht den Hof mit Müh und Noth;

(Father) "My son, my son, I see it clearly, it's the gray sheen of the old willows."

(Erlking) "I love you, your beautiful form delights me! And if you're not willing, then I'll use force."

(Son) "My father, my father, now he's grasping me! The Erlking has hurt me!"

(Narrator) The father shudders, he rides swiftly, he holds the moaning child in his arms; with effort and urgency he reaches the courtyard:

In seinen Armen das Kind war tot.

in his arms the child was dead.


Balance, repose, clarity?




Is death tempting & attractive?

another development
Another development

In the 1830s, composer/conductor Felix Mendelssohn conducts a performance of Bach’s Mass in B minor

– so what?

Music of the past begins to take a place on concert programs – it eventually dominates concert programming!

By 1870, seventy-five per cent of works in the Gewandhaus (a famous German orchestra) repertory were by dead composers.

hector berlioz 1803 1869

Symphonie Fantastique

Program music

Themes of love, madness, drugs, death, demons

Hector Berlioz1803-1869
fr d ric chopin 1810 1849
Polish, lived in France

Famous pianist

Only gave 14 public performances in his life

Minute Waltz



Frédéric Chopin1810-1849
richard wagner 1813 1883

Opera innovator

The Ring – over 18 hours of music

Richard Wagner1813-1883
giuseppe verdi 1813 1901

Composer as national/popular figure


(“La Donna Mobilé”)

“Folk” Nationalism

Giuseppe Verdi1813-1901
gioacchino rossini 1792 1868

The Barber of Seville 1816

William Tell 1829

Gioacchino Rossini1792-1868
peter ilyich tchaikovsky 1840 1893

1812 Overture

Swan Lake 1875

Sleeping Beauty 1888

The Nutcracker 1891

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky1840-1893