Romanticism is a literary, artistic and philosophical movement that began early in the 18th century in Europe (Galitz, 2000). It lasted for about a century and a half up until mid-19th century. Romanticism had an intense focus on the individual consciousness. It was a continuation of the enlightenment period as well as a revolt opposing the aristocratically, social and political norms of this period. Romanticism was represented in form of visual arts, music and also literature. However, despite using these forms of representation, most of its impact was actually on historiography, education and natural history. The movement resulted in the use of very strong emotions as an original source of aesthetic experience. This saw a whole new emphasis placed on emotions and trepidation. It was a time of horror, terror and awe.
The romanticism movement improved the folk art and ancient customs. Romanticism was ignored and rejected by a huge number of the artists who lived that time. However, most of these artistes were later seen to be associated with it. The whole movement involved the idea of putting emotions and intuition before reason. There also existed a belief that there were a number of essential areas of experience that that had been ignored by the normal human being mind. The other belief that defined romanticism was the fact that it laid mush more emphasis on the general importance of an individual, the personal as well as the subjective.
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Representatives of Romanticism
Even though the term romanticism has come to be used to represent a period between the 1820’s and 1900, its application to music did not just occur at the same time with the current interpretation coincidentally. There existed three primary composers who used romanticism in their artistic works. These were Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. These three were commonly referred to as the three classicists. These classical composers were trying to bring into play a new style of music when they pioneered romanticism. They rejected the old style of music, the baroque style, because they considered it to be in excess.
Ludwig van Beethoven was born in 1770 in Germany. His father was his music instructor and he is said to have been a harsh one. In 1787, he travelled to Vienna with the hope of meeting Wolfgang Mozart. By the time he had reached his twenties, Beethoven was completely deaf. However, he continued to compose music and is famously known for his fifth symphony, Fur Elise which he did with piano solo. He is also famous for his ninth symphony that is inclusive of the melody Ode to Joy (Ludwig van Beethoven Website, 2011). He continues to be remembered as one of the most influential music composers of all time.
Born to Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart in 1756, Wolfgang Mozart is a renowned classical composer. He learned in his early childhood how to play the violin and the organ. At the age of 8, he published his first two sonatas or the harpsichord. At the age of thirteen, Mozart had his first break through when he performed for an emperor on request (8notes.com, 2010). By the age of 25, Mozart was one of the best keyboard players of his time. He was an accomplished composer. He is famously renowned for his pieces Eine Klein Nacht Musik, which means ‘A little night music’ and his twelve variations of the French tune “Ah Vous dirais-je, marman’ commonly known as ’ ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’.
Franz Joseph Haydn was born in 1732. He was a composer of Austrian descent. This was a man who was among the most prolific and prominent composers that existed in the classical period. He is commonly referred to as the father of symphony and string quartet. He also played a big role in the development of the piano trio and in the evolution of the sonata form (Brown, 2006). At the time of his death, he was among the most celebrated composers in Europe.