From Classical to Romantic

Today we explore a lit­tle of the music writ­ten at the bor­ders of the Clas­si­cal and Roman­tic eras, focus­ing on the work of some well-known com­posers born in the last 30 years of the 18th Cen­tu­ry. It’s also time for a new episode of our Sec­ond Life trav­el series, “Where’ve You Been?” — Episode 10, which vis­its the Gallery Air­ship Limon­cel­lo (see sep­a­rate entry).

His­tor­i­cal­ly, the term ‘clas­si­cal music’ refers specif­i­cal­ly to the musi­cal peri­od from 1750 to 1820. The tran­si­tion from the clas­si­cal peri­od of West­ern art music, which last­ed around 1750 to 1820, to Roman­tic music, which last­ed around 1815 to 1910, took place in the eigh­teenth and nine­teenth cen­turies. Com­posers began tran­si­tion­ing their com­po­si­tion­al and melod­ic tech­niques into a new musi­cal form which became known as the Roman­tic Era or Roman­ti­cism due to the imple­men­ta­tion of lyri­cal melodies as opposed to the lin­ear com­po­si­tion­al style of Clas­si­cal music.

Clas­si­cal music was known for its clar­i­ty and reg­u­lar­i­ty of struc­ture, or “nat­ur­al sim­plic­i­ty”, thought of as an ele­gant inter­na­tion­al musi­cal style with bal­anced four-bar phras­es, clear-cut cadences, rep­e­ti­tion, and sequence. Sonata form was the foun­da­tion for a large num­ber of pieces which pro­vid­ed a foun­da­tion for the new era of Romanticism.

Char­ac­ter­ized by lyri­cal melodies, chro­mati­cism and dis­so­nance, and dra­mat­ic dynam­ics, the Roman­tic era evoked emo­tions assem­bled by sov­er­eign sto­ry lines and nation­al­ist march­es reflect­ing change. Orches­tral forms like sym­phon­ic poem, choral sym­pho­ny, and works for solo voice and orches­tra, began to draw oth­er art forms clos­er. (Wikipedia)

“Wan­der­er above the Sea of Fog”  is an oil paint­ing c. 1818 by the Ger­man Roman­tic artist Cas­par David Friedrich. It has been con­sid­ered one of the mas­ter­pieces of Roman­ti­cism and one of its most rep­re­sen­ta­tive works. It resides in the Kun­sthalle Ham­burg, Germany.