Chapter 24. The Romantic Generation: Song and Piano Music

Chapter Outline



Most music that survives from the Middle Ages through the eighteenth century was composed for the church or for courts. In later centuries, genres for home music-making, such as madrigals and string quartets, or for public performance, exemplified in Venetian opera, Handel뭩 oratorios, and Haydn뭩 late symphonies, become progressively more prominent. In the nineteenth century, music for home or public performance takes center stage. We will focus first on songs and piano music, the mainstays of home music-making and of virtuoso piano recitals, and the Romantic styles they fostered. In the following two chapters, we will examine music for the public, in the concert hall and in the theater. 

Chapter Outline: 

  1. The New Order, 1815-1848
    1. The upheavals of 1789-1815 brought about numerous changes.
      1. Ideas of liberty, equality, and national identity spread across Europe.
      2. The Congress of Vienna (1814-15) redefined national boundaries (see HWM Figure 24.1).
      3. Nationalistic feelings became more pronounced.
      4. Composers incorporated national traits in song, opera, and instrumental music.
    2. The Americas
      1. Independence was won in Latin America.
      2. The United States.
        1. Expanded west between 1803 and 1848
        2. Began to establish its own cultural identity
      3. French and British provinces in Canada united.
    3. The changing economic order had a strong impact on music.
      1. The decline of the aristocracy
        1. Patronage dwindled as the aristocracy declined.
        2. Merchants and entrepreneurs became economic leaders.
      2. Musicians turned to public performance, teaching, and composing for commissions and publication for money.
      3. Virtuoso performers, such as violinist Nicol� Paganini and pianist Fryderyk Chopin, were among the most prominent musicians.
      4. Music-making became an important outlet for the middle class.
      5. Music was used for social control.
        1. State-sponsored operas carried political messages.
        2. Churches and factories created amateur ensembles for diversion.
        3. Music kept women occupied at home.
    4. The piano became a central part of the home.
      1. Innovations in design allowed for new effects and an expanded range.
      2. Inexpensive pianos found their way to many homes (see HWM Figure 24.2 and Innovations: Musical Instruments in the Industrial Revolution, pages 600-601).
      3. Many women played the piano.
        1. Pianist-composers, like Chopin and Liszt, gave lessons to wealthy women.
        2. A number of professional women pianists appeared in the early nineteenth century, such as Clara Wieck.
        3. Most women used piano-playing for social purposes.
        4. A favorite pastime was playing piano duets at one piano.
    5. The growth in amateur music-making created a boom in music publishing.
      1. The amount of music surviving from the nineteenth century is much greater than from any earlier period.
      2. The public had an unprecedented influence over what music was created.
      3. Arrangements were the only way that many people could hear major concert works.
      4. Musical style catered to amateur tastes.
        1. Tuneful melodies with attractive accompaniments
        2. Little counterpoint
        3. Rhythm and level of difficulty was uniform from measure to measure.
        4. Extramusical imagery and evocative titles were common.
        5. Harmonies mixed conventional and dramatic progressions.
        6. Predictable four-measure phrases dominated.
        7. Idiomatic writing exploited the sonorities of the modern piano.
        8. Novelties often made a work more successful.
      5. These characteristics defined a new style known as the early Romantic style.
  2. Romanticism
    1. The term “romantic” has several meanings.
      1. The word derived from the medieval romance.
        1. A romance was a poem or tale about heroic events or persons.
        2. The term connoted something distant, legendary, and fantastic.
        3. It suggested something imaginary, far away from reality.
      2. In the nineteenth century, the term was applied to literature, music, and art.
        1. The term contrasted with “classic” poetry, which was objectively beautiful.
        2. “Romantic” poetry, not bound by rules and limits, expressed insatiable longing and the richness of nature.
        3. The focus was on the individuality of expression.
        4. Haydn and Mozart were viewed as Classic, and Beethoven was seen as both Classic and Romantic.
    2. By the end of the nineteenth century, the Classic and Romantic eras were seen as two periods divided around 1820.
      1. The divisions between the two periods have been viewed in a variety of ways.
      2. In this text, 1815 will be the starting point for the Romantic period.
    3. Romanticism can be seen as a reaction to several trends.
      1. In a society driven by technology, Romanticism provided refuge in various ideals:
        1. The past
        2. Myths
        3. Dreams
        4. The supernatural
        5. The irrational
      2. With the rise of a national concept, Romanticism viewed common people as the embodiment of the nation.
      3. As people moved to urban centers, nature was increasingly valued.
      4. As industrialization brought about a mass society, Romantics esteemed solitude and individuality.
      5. Romantics pursued novelty and the exotic, while life in general became routine in factories, shops, and homes.
      6. In a capitalist society, artists began pursuing their dreams not for money but for art (see HWM Figure 24.6).
    4. Music was seen as the ideal art.
      1. Composers respected conventions, but let their imagination lead them to explore new sounds.
      2. Instrumental music was seen as the ideal art because it was free from words and visual images.
    5. Distinctions were made between types of instrumental music.
      1. Absolute music refers to music with no programmatic or descriptive aspects.
      2. Programmatic music recounts a story, which is often given in an accompanying text.
      3. A character piece suggests a mood, personality, or scene that is usually suggested in the title.
    6. Connections with literature
      1. Many composers were also writers or had friends who were writers.
      2. Composers sought to draw out the inner meanings of the text in song or opera.
      3. Instrumental pieces were often linked to literary works.
      4. Literary associations often led to musical innovations that enhanced the appeal of the composition.
      5. At times, literary associations and descriptive titles were added after a work was created.
  3. Song
    1. General trends
      1. Songs were predominantly set for voice and piano.
      2. Settings varied from simple strophic forms to through-composed miniature dramas.
      3. At the end of the century, a line emerged between popular songs and art songs.
      4. The German Lied, the most prestigious repertoire of songs in the century, featured:
        1. The fusion of music and poetry
        2. The expression of individual feelings
        3. The use of descriptive musical imagery
        4. Elements of folk style
      5. Also significant was the tradition of the British and American parlor song.
    2. The Lied
      1. The Romantic Lied was built upon a strong eighteenth-century tradition.
      2. The popularity of German Lieder grew after 1800.
      3. Poets at the time drew upon elements from classical and folk traditions.
      4. Nature was a common theme.
      5. The lyric was the chief poetic genre.
        1. Lyric poetry was meant to be sung.
        2. It was characterized by short strophes, regular meter, and rhyme.
        3. The poem was strophic and expressed a feeling about one subject.
        4. The models were the lyric poets of antiquity, such as Sappho and Horace.
        5. Influential collections
          1. Volkslieder (Folk Songs, 1778-79) by Johann Gottfried von Herder
          2. Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Boy’s Magic Horn, 1805) by Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim
    3. The ballad was a new type of Lied from the late eighteenth century.
      1. Ballads often alternated narrative and dialogue.
      2. The subject was usually a romantic adventure or supernatural incident.
      3. The expanded length encouraged composers to vary the musical material.
      4. The role of the piano changed from mere accompaniment to equal partner in illustrating the meaning of the poem
    4. Song cycles
      1. Songs were often grouped into collections with a unifying characteristic, such as a single poet or a common theme.
      2. In these cycles, the songs were to be performed in order, enabling the composer to tell a story.
      3. Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte introduced the concept of the song cycle.
  4. Franz Schubert (1797-1828) (see HWM biography, page 606, and Figure 24.7)
    1. Biography
      1. Schubert was the first great master of the Romantic Lied.
      2. Schubert was born and spent his entire career in Vienna.
      3. He composed with astonishing speed and wrote over 140 songs in 1815.
      4. Schubert composed over six hundred Lieder.
      5. Many of his songs were performed at Schubertiads, home concerts for friends (see HWM Figure 24.8).
      6. He never secured a patron and lived off of his publications.
      7. Schubert died at the age of thirty-one, possibly from syphilis.
    2. Song texts
      1. Schubert set poetry by many writers, including fifty-nine by Goethe.
      2. Schubert attempted to make the music equal to the words.
      3. Some of his finest works are his two song cycles on poems by Wilhelm M�ller.
        1. Die schöne M�llerin (The Pretty Miller-Maid, 1823)
        2. Winterreise (Winter’s Journey, 1827)
    3. Song forms
      1. Strophic
        1. Schubert typically uses this form for poems that have a single image or express a single mood.
        2. Each stanza is sung to the same music.
        3. Examples:
          1. Heidenröslein (Little Heath-Rose, 1815)
          2. Das Wandern (Wandering) from Die schöne M�llerin
      2. Modified strophic
        1. The music repeats for some strophes but is varied for others.
        2. Example: Der Lindenbaum (The Linden Tree) from Winterreise
      3. Ternary form (ABA or ABA’): Der Atlas (Atlas) from Schwanengesang (Swan Song, 1828)
      4. Bar form (AAB): St�ndchen (Serenade), also from Schwanengesang
      5. Through-composed
        1. Each strophe has new music.
        2. This form is typically found in longer narrative songs, such as the ballad Erlkönig (The Erl-King, 1815).
        3. This form may incorporate declamatory and arioso styles as in an opera scene, like Der Wanderer (The Wanderer, 1816).
    4. Melody
      1. Schubert created beautiful melodies that captured the spirit of the poem (see HWM Example 24.1).
      2. Many melodies are simple and folk-like.
      3. Other melodies suggest sweetness and melancholy.
      4. Some melodies are declamatory and dramatic.
    5. Accompaniment
      1. Accompaniments vary from simple to dramatic (see HWM Example 24.1).
      2. The accompaniment may reflect an image in the poem.
    6. Harmony
      1. Schubert uses harmony to reinforce the poetry.
      2. Das Wandern has only five different chords.
      3. St�ndchen alternates minor and major keys and triads.
      4. Complex modulations can be found in some songs, such as Der Atlas.
      5. Modulations by third rather than by fifth are frequent in Schubert’s songs and instrumental works.
      6. Schubert uses unusual harmonic relationships as an expressive device.
      7. Schubert’s harmonic practice greatly influenced later composers.
    7. Gretchen am Spinnrade (Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel, 1814, NAWM 111)
      1. The text is taken from Goethe’s Faust.
      2. In the poem, Gretchen is spinning thread and thinking of Faust.
      3. The top line of the piano suggests the movement of a spinning wheel (see HWM Example 24.2).
      4. The left hand of the piano imitates the sound of the wheel’s pedal.
      5. The sixteenth-notes also represent Gretchen’s agitation
      6. Schubert repeats the opening poetic lines to create a refrain and give the song a rondo-like form.
      7. The harmony suggests Gretchen’s restlessness.
      8. The piano stops when Gretchen recalls her beloved’s kiss.
      9. The spinning begins again as she regains her composure.
    8. Der Lindenbaum (NAWM 112)
      1. This song is from Winterreise, a cycle of twenty-four songs expressing the regrets of a lover over a failed romance.
      2. In Der Lindenbaum, the lover passes a linden tree associated with the romance.
      3. The prelude suggests summer breezes, but later turns to cold winter wind.
      4. The melody is simple and folk-like.
      5. The song has a modified strophic form: AA’BA”.
      6. Major and minor keys denote the contrast between happy memories and the chill of winter.
  5. Robert and Clara Schumann (see HWM biography, page 612, and Figure 24.9)
    1. Robert Schumann (1810-1856) was the first important composer of Lieder after Schubert.
      1. Biography
        1. Schumann wanted to be a concert pianist but injured his hand.
        2. He turned to composition and criticism, serving as the editor of Neue Zeitschrift f�r Musik (New Journal of Music) from 1834 to 1844.
        3. In his reviews, he opposed empty virtuosity and urged the study of older music.
        4. Schumann’s song-writing was inspired both emotionally and financially by an impending marriage.
        5. In 1840, Schumann composed over 120 songs and married Clara Wieck, an outstanding pianist and composer.
        6. Schumann suffered from hallucinations and tried to commit suicide in 1854.
        7. He was confined to an asylum and died in 1856.
      2. Characteristics of Schumann’s songs
        1. Schumann felt that the music should capture a poem’s essence.
        2. He believed that the piano and voice were equal partners and often gave the piano long preludes, interludes, or postludes.
        3. Schumann often used a single figuration to convey a central emotion or idea in a poem.
      3. His focus on love songs can be seen in two of his song cycles from 1840.
        1. Dicterliebe (A Poet’s Love)
        2. Frauenliebe und -leben (Woman’s Love and Life)
      4. Im wunderschönen Monat Mai (In the marvelous month of May) from Dichterliebe (see NAWM 113 and HWM Example 24.3)
        1. Dichterliebe contains sixteen settings of poems from Lyrical Intermezzo by Heinrich Heine, one of Germany’s foremost poets.
        2. The poems are arranged to suggest the course of a relationship.
        3. Im wunderschönen Monat Mai, the first song of the cycle, is strophic.
        4. The opening harmonic ambiguity suggests tentative feelings.
        5. Longing and desire are expressed through suspensions and appoggiaturas.
        6. The lack of harmonic resolution suggests that the love may remain unrequited.
        7. The piano is an equal partner in expressing meaning in this song.
    2. Clara Schumann (1819-1896) (see HWM biography, page 612, and Figure 24.9)
      1. After Robert’s death, Clara Schumann stopped composing and devoted herself to concertizing and promoting her husband’s music.
      2. Clara Schumann wrote several collections of Lieder.
      3. Clara’s approach to song was similar to that of her husband.
        1. Her compositions contain long piano preludes and postludes.
        2. Similar figuration is used throughout a song.
        3. The voice and piano are treated as equals,
      4. Geheimes Fl�rstern (Secret Whispers, 1853)
        1. This work is from her last song cycle.
        2. The poem projects an image of the forest whispering to the poet.
        3. Continuous arpeggiation suggests rustling leaves and branches.
  6. British and North American Song
    1. A tradition emerged in which songs were primarily intended for home performance.
      1. In Great Britain, these songs were called ballads or drawing-room ballads.
      2. In the United States and Canada, they were called parlor songs.
      3. Such songs were also sung in musical theater productions and public concerts.
      4. These songs were popular in nature.
      5. Characteristics
        1. Usually strophic with piano preludes and postludes based on phrases from the tune
        2. The expressivity lies in the melody.
        3. The accompaniment contains conventional figurations, as opposed to the more dramatic material found in Lieder.
        4. The singers were free to reshape the melody or accompaniment.
    2. Home! Sweet Home! (1823, NAWM 114) by Henry R. Bishop (1786-1855)
      1. This is perhaps the best-known song of the nineteenth century.
      2. The body consisted of two pipes with fingerholes.
      3. This song was intended for the English-language opera Clari, or The Maid of Milan (1823).
      4. The text, which extols the joys of home, appealed to a displaced generation.
      5. The strophic song is set with a verse-refrain structure.
        1. The tune unfolds in regular four-measure phrases: AA’BB’.
        2. The refrain has elements of both the A and B phrases.
        3. Typical of the genre, it is simple, mostly diatonic and triadic.
        4. The tune is charming and expressive, with opportunities for embellishment.
        5. Attention is given to declamation.
      6. The accompaniment provides several moments of support to the text, such as trills suggesting the sound of birds.
    3. James P. Clarke (1807/8-1877) was the most notable song composer in Canada.
      1. He was the first to earn a Bachelor of Music degree from a North American university.
      2. Lays of the Maple Leaf (1853), Clarke’s song cycle, was the most substantial work published in Canada at that time.
    4. Stephen Foster (1826-1864) was the leading song composer in the United States.
      1. Biography
        1. He had no formal training and taught himself several instruments.
        2. Oh! Susanna (1848), a minstrel song, achieved great success.
        3. He became the first American to earn a living solely as a composer.
        4. Foster turned away from minstrel songs and composed for the parlor and the stage.
      2. Foster typically wrote his own texts.
      3. Combining elements of a variety of song types, Foster made his works easy to perform and remember.
      4. General characteristics
        1. Foster’s tunes are almost always diatonic or pentatonic.
        2. The melodies move stepwise and are set in four-measure phrases.
        3. The harmony and accompaniment are simple.
      5. Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair (1853, see NAWM 115 and HWM Example 24.4)
        1. This is one of Foster’s best-known songs.
        2. The text on sentimental love incorporates images of nature.
        3. The strophic song is framed by a prelude and postlude for each verse.
        4. The melody has four-measure phrases: AA’BA”.
        5. The simplicity brings out the subtle dissonances.
        6. A brief cadenza provides an operatic touch.
  7. Music for Piano
    1. Piano music rivaled songs as the most popular medium of the nineteenth century.
    2. Piano music has three overlapping purposes.
      1. Teaching
        1. Muzio Clementi’s Gradus ad Parnassum (Steps to Parnassus, 1817-26) contains one hundred exercises of increasing difficulty.
        2. Carl Czerny wrote numerous method books and études (studies).
      2. Amateur enjoyment
        1. Dances
        2. Lyrical pieces modeled on songs
        3. Character pieces
        4. Sonatas
      3. Public performance: bravura pieces
    3. Schubert piano music
      1. His dance works include marches and waltzes.
      2. Short lyrical pieces
        1. Six Moments musicaux (Musical Moments, 1823-28)
        2. Eight Impromptus (1827)
      3. The numerous piano duets include the beautiful Fantasy in F Minor (1828).
      4. The Wanderer Fantasy (1822) for solo piano
        1. The virtuosity and unusual form fascinated later composers.
        2. Four movements are played without a break.
        3. A central variation movement is based on his song Der Wanderer.
        4. Motives from this song can also be found in other movements.
      5. Schubert completed eleven sonatas.
        1. These works show an evident conflict between his song-inspired style and the demands of a multimovement sonata.
        2. His themes tend to be expansive melodies that do not lend themselves to thematic development
        3. His sonata-form movements use three keys in the exposition.
        4. The slow movements tend to be songlike and resemble impromptus.
      6. Schubert’s last three sonatas: C minor, A major, and B-flat major.
        1. An awareness of Beethoven is evident in the stormy first movement of the C-minor sonata.
        2. The works are characterized by a pervasive lyricism.
        3. The first movement of the B-flat sonata features a long singing melody.
    4. Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47) (See HWM biography, page 616, and Figure 24.10)
      1. Biography
        1. He was the grandson of Moses Mendelssohn, the leading Jewish philosopher of the German Enlightenment.
        2. His father converted the children to Christianity.
        3. Mendelssohn was a remarkable child prodigy, whose youthful productivity rivals that of Mozart.
        4. He founded the Leipzig Conservatory in 1843.
        5. Mendelssohn died at the age of thirty-eight after a series of strokes.
      2. He blended characteristics of Bach, Handel, Mozart, and Beethoven with those of his contemporaries.
        1. Contrapuntal activity and formal clarity
        2. Romantic expression
        3. Beautiful melodies
        4. Interesting and often unpredictable melodies
        5. Fluent technique was emphasized over bravura display.
      3. His larger piano works include three sonatas, variations, and fantasias.
      4. The Seven Character Pieces (1827) introduced the term and helped define the genre.
      5. Lieder ohne Wörte (Songs without Words)
        1. Mendelssohn published forty-eight works in eight books.
        2. Mendelssohn believed that music could express feelings that words cannot (see HWM Source Reading, page 618).
      6. Lieder ohne Wörte, Op. 19 No. 1 (see HWM Example 24.5)
        1. Like a Lied, the music can be divided into three parts: the left-hand bass, the right-hand arpeggiations, and a singer’s melody.
        2. It is a challenge to play all three parts smoothly.
        3. The work projects an engaging melody and an interesting accompaniment.
    5. Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805-47)
      1. Both were highly skilled pianist-composers, but they had contrasting careers.
      2. Clara Schumann was an acclaimed pianist at a young age.
        1. By playing only what was written, she focused attention on the composer rather than the performer.
        2. She also performed her own music, as well as that of her husband.
        3. Her works include polonaises, waltzes, variations, preludes and fugues, character pieces, and a sonata in G minor.
      3. Fanny Mendelssohn performed primarily in private settings.
        1. She was almost as talented as her brother Felix and married a painter, Wilhelm Hensel.
        2. She performed at her salons, gatherings of friends and guests.
        3. She composed more than four hundred works, including at least 250 songs and 125 piano works.
        4. Most of her works were unpublished because of the objections of her father and brother.
        5. Her masterpiece is Das Jahr (The Year, 1841), a series of character pieces on the twelve months of the year.
        6. She died of a stroke less than a year after the publication of her Opus 1, a set of six songs.
        7. Her importance and the quality of her works have only recently been discovered.
    6. Robert Schumann
      1. Prior to 1840, all of Schumann’s published music was for piano.
      2. Most of his works were short character pieces.
      3. The character pieces are often grouped in sets with colorful names.
        1. Papillons (Butterflies)
        2. Carnaval
        3. Fantasiest�cke (Fantasy Pieces)
        4. Kinderscenen (Scenes from Chilhood)
        5. Kreisleriana
        6. Album f�r die Jugend (Album for the Young) contains pieces for children.
      4. Although the titles of the pieces suggest poetic descriptions, Schumann said he composed the works before giving them titles.
      5. His own contradictory personality is reflected in the many moods.
      6. He personified the various sides of his own personality.
        1. Florestan is the impulsive revolutionary.
        2. Eusebius is the contemplative dreamer.
        3. Meister Raro is the wise and mature master.
        4. These characters were members of the Davidsbund, an imaginary league that campaigned against the Philistines of music.
      7. Fantasiest�cke (1837)
        1. This set was dedicated to the British pianist Anna Robena Laidlaw.
        2. The title, taken from a work by E. T. A. Hoffmann, suggests that the works are original, unusual, evocative, and emotional.
        3. There are eight pieces in the set, including Aufschwung and Warum?.
      8. Aufschwung (Soaring, NAWM 116a)
        1. The impulsive nature of Florestan can be seen in the diverse themes (see HWM Example 24.6).
        2. The piece can be diagrammed: ABA’ CDC Trans AB’A”
      9. Warum? (Why?, NAWM 116b)
        1. The fragmentary nature of the work makes it both complete and yet seemingly unresolved.
        2. The harmonic ambiguity and inconclusive ending suggest the endless contemplative nature of Eusebius.
  8. Fryderyk Chopin (1810-49) (see HWM biography, page 624, and Figure 24.11)
    1. Biography
      1. Chopin was born near Warsaw in Poland.
      2. An established performer, he moved to Paris in 1831.
      3. Chopin met the leading musicians in Paris, including Liszt.
      4. He had a tempestuous nine-year affair with novelist George Sand (the pseudonym of Aurore Dudevant).
      5. He died from tuberculosis in 1849.
    2. Chopin composed almost exclusively for the piano, including:
      1. Around two hundred solo piano pieces
      2. Six works for piano and orchestra
      3. Around twenty songs
      4. Four chamber works
    3. His idiomatic writing opened new possibilities for the piano that appealed to both amateurs and connoisseurs.
    4. études
      1. Chopin composed twenty-seven études.
        1. Opus 10 (1829-33) has twelve.
        2. Opus 25 (1832-37) has twelve.
        3. Three have no opus number.
      2. Each étude addresses a specific skill.
      3. Chopin’s études were the first with significant artistic content and can be called concert études.
    5. Preludes
      1. Chopin composed twenty-four preludes as Op. 28 (1836-39).
      2. Like Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, they are in all the major and minor keys.
      3. These brief mood pieces illustrate an astounding inventiveness of figuration (see HWM Example 24.7).
      4. The rich chromatic harmonies and the varied textures influenced many later composers.
    6. Dances
      1. Chopin composed waltzes, mazurkas, and polonaises for his students.
      2. The dances are idiomatic for the piano and are often only moderately difficult.
      3. The waltzes evoke the ballrooms of Vienna.
      4. Polonaises
        1. The polonaise is a Polish dance in 3/4 meter.
        2. It often has an eighth note and two sixteenth notes on the first beat.
        3. Some are vigorous and suggest a militaristic national identity.
      5. Mazurkas
        1. The mazurka was a Polish folk dance that had become popular in Paris ballrooms.
        2. In triple meter, the mazurka features two eighth notes (or a dotted eighth-sixteenth) on the downbeat followed by two quarter notes.
        3. This rhythmic pattern emphasizes the second beat of the measure.
      6. Mazurka in B-flat Major, Op. 7, No. 1 (1832, see NAWM 117 and HWM Example 24.8)
        1. This work exemplifies the typical meter and rhythmic gesture of the mazurka.
        2. The accompaniment is simple, and the melody has four-measure phrases.
        3. The overall form can be diagrammed: AA//:BA://:CA://
        4. The A period begins on the dominant; the B and C periods end on the dominant and link back to A.
        5. The melody, which is instrumental and not vocal, exhibits several Polish characteristics.
        6. The marking rubato indicates a departure from the regular pulse either in the right hand only or with both hands together.
    7. Nocturnes
      1. Nocturnes are short pieces with beautiful, embellished melodies and sonorous accompaniments.
      2. Chopin’s conception of the nocturne is indebted to the nocturnes of the Irish pianist-composer John Field (1782-1837).
      3. The genre, a type of song without words, is similar to the nocturne for voices and is indebted to the embellished singing style of Italian opera.
      4. Chopin composed eighteen nocturnes.
      5. Nocturne in D-flat Major, Op. 27, No. 2 (1835, NAWM 118)
        1. This work features an angular melody with embellishments.
        2. The accompaniment spans two octaves.
        3. The form is songlike and can be seen as modified strophic with three verses: AB trans A’B’ trans A”B” trans Coda.
        4. The unpredictable A theme unfolds through constant variation.
        5. The B theme is in a contrasting key, but is more regular than A.
        6. Each transition is different.
        7. The coda features parallel diminished seventh chords, but remains firmly in D-flat.
    8. Ballades and scherzos
      1. The ballades and scherzos are longer and more demanding than Chopin’s other one-movement piano works.
      2. Ballades
        1. Chopin was one of the first to use the name for an instrumental work.
        2. The ballades capture the spirit of the Polish narrative ballads and are infused with fresh turns in harmony and form.
      3. Scherzos
        1. The scherzos are not playful, but serious and passionate.
        2. The scherzos are also tricky and quirky, particularly in their rhythm and thematic material.
    9. Sonatas
      1. Chopin composed three piano sonatas, all of which have four movements: sonata form, minuet or scherzo, slow movement, finale.
      2. Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, Op. 35, includes Chopin’s famous funeral march.
    10. Chopin’s achievement
      1. Incorporation of Polish nationalistic traits
      2. Concentration on piano music only
      3. Mix of virtuosity with elegant lyricism
      4. Originality in melody, harmony, and pianism
      5. Appeal to amateurs and connoisseurs
      6. Creation of an idiomatic piano sound
  9. Franz Liszt (1811-86) (see HWM biography, page 626, and Figure 24.12)
    1. Liszt was an astounding piano virtuoso and an important composer.
    2. Early career
      1. Liszt was a child prodigy in Hungary and Vienna.
      2. He came to Paris with his family in 1823, at the age of twelve.
      3. He exploited technological advancements on the piano and developed a new virtuoso style.
      4. At Parisian salons, he met many leading writers, painters, and musicians.
      5. He lived in Switzerland and Italy with Countess Marie d’Agoult.
      6. His impressions of these countries can be found in several publications.
        1. Album d’un voyageur (Album of a Traveler, 1837-38)
        2. Années de p�lerinage (Years of Pilgrimage)-three books
        3. In these works, Liszt sometimes responded to a specific poem or painting.
      7. Liszt gave over one thousand concerts between 1839 and 1847.
        1. He toured Europe, Turkey, and Russia.
        2. He was the first pianist to give solo concerts in large halls, which he termed recitals.
        3. He was also the first to play a range of music, from Bach to his contemporaries, and the first to play from memory.
        4. Liszt was often received like a rock star.
      8. Liszt stopped touring in 1848 in order to focus on composition.
    3. Influences
      1. His Hungarian roots can be heard in works based on Hungarian melodies and rhythms, such as the Hungarian Rhapsodies for piano.
      2. He absorbed a number of Chopin’s qualities after he moved to Paris in 1831.
      3. Nicol� Paganini was perhaps his most important influence.
        1. A hypnotic performer, Paganini raised violin virtuosity to new heights.
        2. Liszt vowed to accomplish the same feat for the piano.
    4. Un sospiro (A Sigh) (see NAWM 119 and HWM Example 24.9)
      1. This is the third of his Three Concert études (1845-49)
      2. This work addresses the technical problem of projecting a slow-moving melody while playing rapid broken-chord figurations.
      3. The unusual form can be interpreted in several ways:
        1. A series of variations on the opening idea
        2. An extended ABA, with the A sections in the tonic and B in other keys
        3. A modified sonata form, with two themes in different keys recapitulated in the tonic
      4. The étude also illustrates Liszt’s use of chromatic harmony.
      5. The harmonic scheme has three principal key areas separated by major thirds.
      6. The chromatic cadenza is an elaborate harmonic and melodic decoration of a dissonant sonority.
      7. The coda features an octatonic scale (alternates whole and half steps) in the bass (measures 66-70).
      8. The final cadence brings back chords representing the three principal key areas.
      9. Such harmonic treatment was influential and led Liszt to abandon traditional harmony in his later works
    5. The Sonata in B Minor (1853) is Liszt’s only work in that genre.
      1. The work is in one extended movement, but it is divided into three sections that are analogous to the movements of a Classic sonata.
      2. The work is unified by four main themes that are transformed and combined in a free manner.
    6. Many of Liszt’s piano works are arrangements, which are of two types:
      1. Operatic paraphrases (sometimes called reminiscences) are free fantasies based on popular operas.
      2. The transcriptions include works based on Schubert songs, Berlioz and Beethoven symphonies, Bach organ fugues, and Wagner operas.
    7. Reputation
      1. As a performer, he established most of the traditions of the modern recital, developed new techniques, and provided a model for other performers.
      2. As a composer, he explored new formal and harmonic possibilities while offering deeply felt music on a wide variety of subjects.
  10. Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-69)
    1. Gottschalk, the first American composer with an international reputation, was also celebrated for his showmanship.
    2. Biography
      1. He was born in New Orleans and studied piano and organ from age five.
      2. He went to study in Paris in 1841 and toured France, Switzerland, and Spain.
      3. Chopin predicted in 1845 that he would become “the king of pianists.”
      4. He published pieces based on melodies and rhythms of his mother’s West Indian heritage, and these established his reputation.
      5. His 1853 New York debut received wildly enthusiastic reviews.
      6. He spent most of the rest of his life touring the United States, the Caribbean islands, and South America.
    3. Souvenir de Porto Rico (NAWM 120)
      1. Gottschalk composed this work during a Caribbean tour in 1857-58.
      2. The subtitle Marche des Gibaros refers to the Jibaros, peasants who farmed the lands of Puerto Rico.
      3. The form is variations, and dynamic changes suggest a band of musicians approaching and then marching off in the distance
      4. Two principal themes are presented with a march rhythm.
        1. The initial theme is derived from a Puerto Rican song performed by strolling musicians during Christmas.
        2. The second is marked malinconico (melancholy).
      5. Seven variations follow.
        1. Several variations use Afro-Caribbean rhythms with the A theme.
        2. Figurations from European virtuoso music is used for B theme and some of the A theme variations.
        3. The climactic and complex fifth variation, in the relative major, incorporates four Caribbean rhythms.
        4. The final two variations borrow from earlier ones, creating a type of arch form.
  11. The Greek Heritage
    1. Home music-making declined in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
      1. New recreations and technologies replaced family music gatherings.
      2. Lieder, parlor songs, and piano pieces either disappeared, became established as art music, or became old favorites.
      3. Piano music written for the home or for virtuoso display fell out of fashion.
    2. Songs
      1. The Lieder of Schubert and Schumann formed the core of the art song repertoire.
      2. Foster’s songs became traditional American favorites.
      3. The works of all three have been sung in an unbroken tradition.
    3. Piano music
      1. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier and the sonatas of Mozart and Beethoven were already considered classic pieces of piano music by the 1820s.
      2. The relatively short works of Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, and Liszt created a new repertoire for pianists.
      3. The sonata and fugue became prestige genres; Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Liszt all contributed to this repertoire.
    4. Music by women composers was treated differently.
      1. Attitudes changed only at the end of the twentieth century, as scholars began exploring music by women.
      2. Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel emerged as key figures.
      3. Current research is exploring other women composers of the era.
    5. The melody-centered style of song and piano music affected every other genre of the nineteenth century.
    6. Romantic views of music have been influential.
      1. Composers created music to express their own ideas and feelings rather than to suit the tastes of their patrons.
      2. Originality became a requirement for all later composers.
      3. Many of our attitudes about music stem from the Romantic era.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s