Titanic Figures of the Romantic Era
"Romantic Era". Anti Essays. 10 Oct. 2017
Music in the Classical era (c. 1750–1830) was based on preconceived notions of order, proportion and grace. Beauty and symmetry of form were objects of worship in themselves and combined to create a Utopian image, an idealisation of universal experience. In the Romantic Era (c.1830–1914) this was largely replaced by a cult of individual expression, the crystalisation of the experience of the moment, the unfettered confession of powerful emotions and primal urges, the glorification of sensuality, a flirtation with the supernatural, an emphasis on spontaneity and improvisation, and above all, perhaps, the cultivation of extremes – emotional, sensual, spiritual and structural. Where a near-reverence for symmetry had characterised the Classical era, Romanticism delighted in asymmetry. And if there was a rebellion against the tenets of the recent past, there was an almost ritualised nostalgia for the distant past and in many cases an obsession with literature and descriptive imagery.
Characteristics of French Romantic Opera
Formless music hardly exists. But for many centuries form and emotion were equal partners. Preconceived structures became established vehicles for emotional expression, and many musical devices emerged carrying specific emotional associations. These provided composers with something approaching a standardised emotional vocabulary. Of the standard structures (or rather formal concepts) of Western classical music, none has proved more intrinsically expressive, or more dramatically powerful, than the so-called ‘sonata form’ that in many ways dominated music from the mid-18th century right into the 20th. This, however, relied heavily on repetition and a certain overall predictability which offended many Romantic sensibilities.