During the Classical period in music, two distinct types of
sounds were predominant-style galant (French "courtly
style") and empfindsamer Stil (German "sensitive
style). The two styles were respectively characterized by Bach's
two sons, Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Phillip Emanuel. C.P.E.
Bach believed that music should "touch the heart:"
consequently, elements of his Sinfonia in E minor (1756) were
found in many the Sturm und Drang movement's symphonies, which
were characterized as a "tense, terse, excited musical
style, incorporating surprises in dynamic changes and modulations
and an extensive use of the minor mode (Longyear 29)."
C.P.E. Bach also inspired Haydn and Mozart. The first hints
of Romanticism in music came with Haydn's symphonies and string
quartets. Mozart was also guilty of Sturm und Drang compositions,
although he often shifted between style galant and his own "tragic,
personal" style (Longyear 30).
Then, in 1792, Beethoven
came to Vienna. Studying under Haydn for 2 years and under the
influence of Mozart and Muzio Clementi, Beethoven nevertheless
developed his own unique, turbulent, convention-defying style.
His legacy and contributions to the music world are momentous;
his music dominated the first three decades of the 19th century.
However, while other composers were intimidated by his genius,
many experimented and developed their own means of musical expression.
One such composer, Jan
Ladislas Dussek, showed the disintegration of the High Classic
Period; Romantic melodies and harmonic patterns contrasted that
of Classical. Dussek's Op. 44 in 1800 utilized a more Romantic
style. Elements of his style in his F# minor sonata in "Elégie
harmonique" Op. 61 resonate in Chopin's and Liszt's work.
Johann Nepomuk Hummel's piano concertos were a model for the
soloist-dominated nineteenth-century concertos. Hummel's F#
minor sonata (1819), especially its unique and new expression
of tonality and structure, influenced Schumman and Chopin; in
all respects, Hummel can be considered a "Classic Romanticist
(Longyear 60-61)." Louis (Ludwig) Spohr idolized Mozart,
yet his works retain a significant amount of popularity. His
8th Concerto in A minor is still played today. In addition,
he wrote the opera Faust in 1816. His influence on Romantic
composers is not to be denied; his concertos strongly inspired
Mendelssohn and Chopin. Carl Maria von Weber is known as the
first "Romantic" composer. His piano works were the
first to be successfully transcribed for the orchestra. His
brilliant operas and piano compositions and individualistic
style places him with Mozart and Schubert. His piano style influenced
Chopin and Mendelssohn; his operas, Berlioz and Wagner. Franz
Schubert's Eighth Symphony (D. 759), written in 1822,
sounded a new style of symphonic composition. His theme was
adventurous, folk-like, innovative; his harmonies' aspects of
color harmony and modulation were also part of his brilliancy.
Thus he is very difficult to define as a composer (Longyear
The deaths of Weber
(1826), Beethoven (1827), and Schubert (1828), allowed many
young composers to rise to fame. Thus, in 1830, the Romantic
Generation began. Led by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, Berlioz,
Liszt, and Brahms, Romanticism in music continued into the 20th
century. In the Romantic age, art became more appreciated for
its aesthetic value, science was held in question with the publication
of Darwin's Origin of Species, and nationalism drove
the rise of revolutions throughout Europe. With these conditions,
Romantic music and Romanticism in general flourished. A greater
interest and appreciation in nature and the supernatural led
to the production of many unique compositions. Music became
more narrative, as demonstrated by the symphonic poem, and more
emotional in nature. The status of the musician changed. No
longer under the employment of royalty, the musician became
dependent on the patronage and support of the public or an individual;
although the musician experienced greater freedom, the instability
of a musical career was nonetheless daunting. It was also at
this point in time that women were given the opportunity to
perform, as long as it was not destructive to her traditional
role in the family. Musical conservatories popped up as educational
institutions in the place of the church and the court. Ultimately,
significant changes in the Romantic Age were not lacking.
Longyear, Ray M. Nineteenth-Century
Romanticism in Music. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1988.