I bet you thought I was going to muse about sappy love songs. Nope. Not here. The Romantic Period (circa 1825 – 1900) saw an increase in nationalism and exoticism in the arts, as well as the themes of unrestrained passion, unrequited love, redemption and flights of fancy.
I’ve always enjoyed listening to and playing Romantic music. It is so easy to get caught up in the swelling melody that gathers speed and volume until it reaches its climax. I love the strurm und drang and rubato, which exemplify turbulent emotions. After the storm, there’s always a moment (or several), in which we are teased. We think we’re at the end of the song, but the composer sends us off into another direction. Then, there’s the penultimate chord. Musicians are taught to push to it and then savour the dissonance. Make the audience crave the resolution.
Frederic Chopin captured the nationalistic flair of his native Poland along with tender and searing melodies. Franz Lizst gave us fiery and brilliant passages that amazed audiences. Johannes Brahms showed us the angst-ridden and frustrated side of romance. You can learn about the music of these Romantic composers and many more at these sites:
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