Romantic Era in Music (1780-1910) and Iconic Composers

The romantic era in music is generally taken as being the better half of the 19th century. This is the period that the composers express themselves more with artistic, philosophical and literary themes. This period also saw the expansion of orchestra sizes as well as the deployment of a wider variety of musical instruments. Musical performances also became more widespread and accessible to ordinary members of the public rather than the royal elite.  The music in this period also took nationalistic fervor. Who were the most iconic composers in this period?

Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)

Chopin was a Polish composer and is popular for his piano pieces. His works include mazurkas, polonaises, waltzes, sonatas, nocturnes, impromptus, etudes, scherzos, and preludes. Chopin was a highly sought after private piano instructor taking on pupils from royal and aristocratic families.

Some of his popular works include Waltz in D-flat major, Op. 64, No. 1 (Minute Waltz), Marche Funebre, Etude in C major, Op. 10, and Etude in C minor Op.10 (Revolutionary).

Jacques Offenbach (1819-1890)

Offenbach was a German-born French composer, is famous for Cello and his Operettas and his contribution to the opera scene. The French German-born composer is famous for pieces like Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Orphée aux enfers, and Can Can.

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)  

Schubert was one of the most prolific Austrian composers of this period. He died at the age of 31 years but left behind hundreds of different works in piano music, opera, chamber music, vocal music, and symphonies. 

Some of his most popular works include Winterreise, Piano Quintet in A major, D.667, “Trout”, and Piano Trio in E Flat Major

Johann Strauss II (1825-1899)

He was born in Austria, also known as the waltz king for the many pieces he did for waltz, polka and quadrille dances.  Strauss also wrote many of his pieces for public entertainment. Some of the more popular works include the Blue Danube Waltz and Die Fledermaus

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)

Puccini is no doubt one of the most popular Italian composers. He is associated with the Verissimo style of opera. His works were widely loved by the public, for whom he composed some of his most famous pieces. This was widely criticized at that time because music was thought to be something for the elites.

Some of Puccini’s more famous pieces include Turandot, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and La Boheme.

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Schumann was born in Germany and later became a famous composer instead of fulfilling his dream of becoming a pianist. The bigger share of his works is for the piano. Some of these popular pieces include Piano Concerto Op. 54, “Kreisleriana” Op. 16, and Symphonic Etudes Op. 13.

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