Musicology: Post-Romanticism

The outline that you find below has been a very helpful study guide to assist students using the book A History of Western Music. I strongly recommend this book. With its contents, art work, and media, it's just gorgeous!

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Post-Romanticism

  1. Background
    1. Influence of Wagner in the late 19th c.
      1. Maerchenoper revival in Germany
      2. Haensel und Gretel (1893)
        1. Fairy-tale opera by Humperdinck (1854-1921)
        2. Combined Wagnerian orchestral polyphony and leitmotifs with folklike melodic material
  2. Hugo Wolf (1860-1903)
    1. Wagner enthusiast chiefly remembered for his 250 Lieder
    2. Other compositions
      1. Piano pieces
      2. Choruses
      3. Symphonic works
      4. One completed opera Der Corregidor (1896)
      5. String quartet
    3. Lieder
      1. Continued the tradition of solo song with piano accompaniment
      2. Most of his songs were composed between 1887-1897
      3. Principal collections
        1. Moerike Lieder (1889): 53 poems
        2. Eichendorff Lieder (1889): 20 poems
        3. Goethe Lieder (1890): 51 poems
        4. Spanisches Liederbuch (1891): 44 songs on German translations of Spanish poems
        5. Italianisches Liederbuch (Part I, 1892 and Part II, 1896) 46 settings of translations from the Italian
        6. Michelangelo Lieder (1898): 3 translated poems by Michelangelo
    4. Creative style
      1. Wolf's literary taste was more uncompromising than previous Lieder composers
      2. Wolf typically concentrated on one poet at a time and placed the name of the poet above the composer in his collections indicating a new ideal of poetry and music derived from Wagner's music dramas
      3. Wolf eschewed the folksong melodies and strophic structures of Brahms
  3. Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
    1. Last of the great Austro-German post-Romantic symphony composers
    2. Background
      1. Conductor and composer
      2. Director of the Vienna Opera from 1897-1907
      3. Conductor of the New York Philharmonic from 1909-1911
    3. Output
      1. 9 symphonies
      2. 5 song cycles for solo voice with orchestra
        1. Lied von der Erde (1908)
    4. Mahler's Symphonies
      1. Post-Romantic characteristics
        1. Long, formally complex
        2. Programmatic
        3. Require enormous performing resources
      2. Second Symphony orhcestration (1895)
        1. Large string section
        2. 4 flutes
        3. 4 oboes
        4. 5 clarinets
        5. 3 bassoons and contrabassoon
        6. 6 horns and 6 trumpets (plus 4 more of each with percussion in a separate group)
        7. 4 trombones
        8. 1 tuba
        9. 6 kettledrums
        10. 4 harps
        11. Soprano, alto soloist and chorus
      3. Inventive orchestration and attention to dynamic and expressive markings were informed by his conducting
        1. Mandolins in the 7th and 8th symphonies and the Song of the Earth
        2. Scordatura solo violin in the scherzo of the 4th symphony
      4. Programs
        1. First four symphonies originally accompanied by written programs which Mahler later removed
        2. Symphonies 5-7 have no explicit program
      5. 'Plot archetype'
        1. Brinkmann's term for symphonies that move from despair to triumph. The victory of major over minor tonality
          1. Beethoven's 5th as the model
            1. Motion from c min ‹> C maj
          2. Tchaikovsky's 5th 'Pathetique' as a refutation of this archetype
        2. Mahler's 5th Symphony
          1. Begins with funereal gloom of the opening march
          2. Triumphant Scherzo
          3. Joyous finale
        3. Mahler's 6th Symphony
          1. Regarded as his 'tragic' symphony
          2. Persistant A minor tonality in the finale
      6. Song quotations in his symphonies
        1. Mahler often uses themes from his Lieder in his Symphonies
          1. Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (1883-84)
            1. Themes appear in the opening and closing movements of the 1st Symphony
          2. Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1888-1889)
            1. Themes from this 12 song cycle appear in Symphonies 2-4
      7. Vocal scoring
        1. Mahler uses voices in 4 of his symphonies
          1. 4th Symphony, finale has a soprano soloist
          2. 3rd Symphony mov't 4 & 5 use soprano and alto soloists along with women and boy's choruses
          3. 2nd Symphony 'Ressurection' makes extensive use of voices
            1. 3rd mov't is a symphonic adaptation of one of the Wunderhorn songs
            2. 4th mov't is a new setting of another Wunderhorn poem for contralto solo
            3. Finale uses chorus
          4. 8th Symphony
            1. Two huge choral movements
    5. Song of the Earth
      1. Text
        1. Based on a cycle of 6 poems translated from Chinese by Hans Bethge under the title 'The Chinese Flute'
        2. Texts revolve around joy and sadness of life
      2. Orchestration
        1. Orchestra
        2. Contralto
        3. Tenor
      3. Dualism
        1. 'dark is life, dark is death'
        2. Struggle between life and death as embodied in Mahler's works
  4. Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
    1. Most famous German post-Romantic composer
    2. Ideological differences between Strauss and Mahler
      1. Mahler's models were Classical: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Bruckner. Program was subordinate to the music
      2. Strauss' models were the arch-Romantics: Berlioz and Liszt (Strauss even made a revision of Berlioz' Treatise on Instrumentation)
    3. Output
      1. 150 Lieder
      2. Symphonic Poems (all but one written before 1904)
        1. Philosophical Programs (Liszt)
        2. 'Descriptive' Programs (Berlioz)
      3. Operas (almost all written post-1900)
    4. Symphonic Poems
      1. Philosophical poems
        1. Tod und Verklärung (1889)
          1. Program is typical of the 19th c.
          2. Progress of the soul through suffering to self-fulfillment
          3. Free sonata-form with slow introduction and hymnlike epilogue
          4. Free use of dissonance for emotional expression
        2. Also sprach Zarathustra (1896)
          1. Nietzche's ideas as a springboard for musical exploration
          2. Various divisions are furnished with titles from the book
          3. Wissenschaft (science) uses a fugue theme based on all 12-notes of the scale to symbolize the allembracing realm of science
      2. Descriptive poems
        1. Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (1895)
        2. Don Quixote (1897)
      3. Other works
        1. Don Juan (1889)
        2. Macbeth(1886)
        3. Ein Heldenleben (1898)
        4. Sinfonia domestica (1903)
        5. Alpensymphonie (1915)
    5. Opera
      1. Impetus
        1. Like Beethoven, Berlioz, Liszt, Wagner and Mahler, Strauss came to feel the need of words to supplement the language of music
        2. Strauss also accepted Wagnerian principles:
          1. Continuous music
          2. Primacy of the polyphonic orchestra
          3. Systematic use of leitmotives
      2. Operas
        1. Salome (1905)
        2. Elektra (1909
          1. Libretto by Hofmannsthal
          2. Use of disonant germinal chord 'Elektra chord'
        3. Der Rosenkavalier (1911)
          1. Libretto by Hofmannsthal
          2. 3 acts
        4. Ariadne auf Naxos (1912)
          1. Libretto adapted by Hofmannsthal from Moliere
          2. Revised in 1916 as an independent work half opera buffa, half mythological drama
        5. Intermezzo (1924)
          1. Comic opera
          2. Use of realistic speech-recitative
        6. Arabella (1933)
          1. Strauss' last opera with libretto by Hofmannsthal
  5. Reger and Pfitzner
    1. Max Reger (1873-1916)
      1. Spiritual descendant of Brahmns
      2. Possessed a prodigious contrapuntal technique
      3. Harmonic language is an outgrowth of Wagner
    2. Hans Pfitzner (1869-1949)
      1. Leading conservative German composer
      2. Best known for his opera Palestrina (1917)

Nationalism

  1. Russia
    1. Background
      1. Until the 19th c., secular art music in Russia was largely imported from Italy, Germany and France
      2. Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857)
        1. First significant Russian composer
        2. A Life for the Tsar (1836)
          1. Patriotic Russian opera
        3. Ruslan and Lydumila (1842)
          1. Makes extensive use of whole-tone scale chromaticism and variation applied to folksongs
    2. Tchaikovsky
      1. Output
        1. Symphonies
        2. Music for the stage
          1. Ballet music
          2. Incidental music
          3. Operas
            1. Eugene Onegin (1879)
            2. The Queen of Spades (1890)
    3. The Mighty Handful
      1. A group of Russian composers who banded together in the late 19th c.
        1. Mily Balakirev (1837-1910)
        2. Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)
        3. Cesar Cui (1835-1918)
        4. Modest Musorgsky (1839-1881)
        5. Nicolay Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)
      2. All member of this group, save Balakirev, had nonstandard training
      3. St. Petersberg Concervatory
        1. Founded in 1862 by Anton Rubinstein
        2. Leading center for Western European music in Russia
      4. Modest Musrogsky
        1. The most prominent of the 'Mighty Handful'
        2. Principal works
          1. Night on Bald Mountain (1867 symphonic fantasy)
          2. Pictures at an Exhibition (1874 set of piano pieces later orchestrated by Ravel)
          3. Songs of Dances and Death (1875)
          4. Operas
            1. Boris Gudonov (1874)
            2. Khovanshchina (completed by Rimsky-Korsakov)
      5. Russian folksongs
        1. Russian folk tunes quoted in the works of the 'Mighty Five'
        2. Characteristics
          1. Narrow range
          2. Obsessive repetition of one or two rhythmic motives
          3. Phrases in irregular rhythm
          4. Modal character of the melodies
        3. Use of non-functional harmonies
      6. Rimsky-Korsakov
        1. Transitional figure between late 19th c. Russian composers and the 20th c.
        2. Principal works
          1. Capriccio espagnol (1887)
          2. Scheherazade (1888)
          3. Russian Easter Overture (1888)
        3. Students
          1. Alexander Galzunov
          2. Igor Stavinsky
    4. Sergei Rachmaninov
    5. Alexander Skryabin
      1. Influenced by the chromaticism of Liszt and Wagner as well as by impressionism
      2. Harmonic language
        1. Late piano sonatas dispense with key signatures
        2. Late harmonic language often approaches atonality
        3. Skryabin replaces tonal structures with a system of chords built on unusual intervals (particularly with fourths)
      3. Developed a theory of ultimate synthesis of all the arts with the aim of inducing states of unutterable mystic rapture
  2. Czech composers
    1. Berdirch Smetana (1824-1884)
    2. Antonin Dvorak
    3. Leos Janacek
  3. Norway
    1. Edvard Grieg
  4. Finland
    1. Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
      1. Importance of nationalist sources
        1. Kalevala: the Finnish national epic as a source for vocal texts and symphonic programs
      2. Output
        1. 7 symphonies
        2. Symphonic poems
          1. En Saga
          2. The Swan of Tuonela
          3. Finlandia
          4. Pohjola's Daughter
          5. Tapiola
  5. United States
    1. New England Hymnody
      1. Stephen Foster
      2. James Bland
    2. Most 'serious' American music in the 19th c. eschewed native music in favor of 'European' styles
      1. John Knowles Paine (1839-1906)
      2. George Whitefield Chadwick (1854-1931)
      3. Arthur Foote (1853-1937)
      4. Horatio Parker (1863-1919)
      5. Edward MacDowell (1860-1908)
    3. Antonin Dvorak
      1. Interested in American musical heritage suggested the possibility of using native materials to American compsoers
      2. Symphony No.9 makes use of 'American' melodies
    4. Charles Ives (1874-1954)
      1. First important 'American' composer
      2. Studied with Horatio Parker
      3. Output
        1. 200 songs
        2. 5 violin sonatas
        3. Chamber music
        4. 2 piano sonatas
        5. 5 symphonies
        6. Numerous orchestral works
  6. England
    1. Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
    2. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
  7. Spain
    1. Isaac Albeniz
    2. Manuel de Falla

New Currents in France

  1. Background
    1. French musical renaissance usually dates from 1871 with the founding of the National Society for French Music
    2. Renewal of of old French music
      1. Editions and performances of Rameau, Gluck and 16th c. composers
      2. Schola Cantorum (founded 1894)
        1. Introduced broad historical studies in music
    3. Three interdependent lines of development in French music
      1. Cosmopolitan tradition (transmitted through Franck and d'Indy)
      2. French tradition (transmitted through Saint-Saens and Faure)
      3. Impressionism (Debussy
  2. Cosmopolitan Tradition
    1. Cesar Franck
      1. writes in the traditional instrumental genres
        1. Symphony
        2. Symphonic poems
        3. Sonata
        4. Variations
        5. Chamber music
      2. Style
        1. Orthodox manner of developing themes
        2. Texture was essentially homophonic
    2. Vincent d'Indy (1851-1931)
      1. Student of Franck
      2. Principal works
        1. 2 Symphonies
          1. Symphony No.1 uses a folksong as its principal subject
        2. Symphonic poems
        3. Violin Sonata
  3. The French Tradition
    1. Conception of music as a sonorous form rather than the Romantic view of music as expression
    2. Order and restraint, not concerned with delivering a message
    3. Earlier exponents of the 'French' style
      1. Couperin and Gounod
      2. Berlioz did not write in this fashion and was, consequently not successful in France
    4. Late-19th c. exponents
      1. Saint-Saens
      2. Jules Massanet
    5. Gabriel Faure (1845-1924)
      1. Background
        1. One of the founders of the National Society
        2. First president of the Independent Musical Society
        3. Studied under Saint-Saens from 1861-1865
        4. Professor of composition at the Paris Conservatory in 1896 and later the director from 1905-1920
      2. Musical output
        1. Primarily lyric pieces and chamber music
        2. Requiem (1887)
        3. 2 operas
        4. 100 songs
        5. Chamber works
          1. Second Violin Sonata (1917)
          2. Second Piano Quintet (1921)
          3. String Quartet (1924)
      3. Students
        1. Ravel
        2. Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979)
  4. Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
    1. Impressionism as a musical language
      1. Emphasizes the evocation of moods and sensuous impressions mainly through harmony and tone color
      2. Differs from most programmatic styles in that it does not seek to express emotion or tell a story, but rather to evoke an atmosphere
    2. Works
      1. Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (1894)
        1. Based on a poem by Malarme
      2. La Mer (1905)
      3. Piano collections
        1. Estampes
        2. Images
        3. Preludes
      4. Pelleas et Melisande (1902)
        1. Debussy's only completed opera
        2. Based on a symbolist play by Maeterlinck
  5. Erik Satie (1866-1925)
    1. An anti-impressionist composer
    2. Music marked by satire, parody and humor
  6. Murice Ravel

Italian Opera

  1. Verismo
    1. 'realism' or 'naturalism'
    2. Librettos typically present everyday people in familiar situations acting under the impulse of primitive emotions
    3. Verismo works
      1. Cavalleria rusticana (1890) by Pietro Mascagni
      2. I pagliacci (1892) by Leoncavallo
  2. Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)

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