For the next few weeks you will be listening to  music from the Romantic period which spanned from 1820-1900.  When the word “romantic” is applied to music it is not romance such as we usually thing of in terms of flowers, chocolates and a hallmark card.   Rather, the word “Romantic” when referring to music means that the focus of people living and writing music during this time period was more inwardly focused on their emotional and psychological states.  Culturally, this was a period of nationalism, where people were proud of their country’s characteristics such as dance, folklore or myths.  People were drawn to more imaginative stories, supernatural and psychologically complex.  And the music absorbed and expressed all of these changes.

Romantic era music is characterized by the following:

  • Descriptive titles such as “Soaring”, “The Storm”, “In the Night”
  • Nationalism- use of folk melodies or rhythms
  • More complex harmonies
  • Extreme dynamics and sudden changes of mood and character
  • Emphasized emotional content over form

The composition you are listening to this week was written by Robert Schumann (1810-1856) and is one movement from a suite entitled Fantasiestucke Op. 12.  The selection you are listening to is called Aufschwung or Soaring (sometimes translated rapture), played by Stanislav Bunin.