The ideals of instrumental music

At one point in the study of the Romantic period of music, we come upon The first of several apparently opposing conditions that plague all attempts To grasp the meaning of Romantic as applied to the music of the 19th century. This Opposition involved the relation between music and words. If instrumental Music is the perfect Romantic art, why is it acknowledged that the great masters of The symphony, the highest form of instrumental music, were not Romantic Composers, but were the Classical composers, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven? Moreover, One of the most characteristic 19th century genres was the Lied, a vocal piece in Which Shubert, Schumann, Brahams, and Wolf attained a new union between music and Poetry.

Furthermore, a large number of leading composers in the 19th century Were extremely interested and articulate in literary expression, and leading Romantic novelists and poets wrote about music with deep love and insight. The conflict between the ideal of pure instrumental music (absolute music) As the ultimate Romantic mode of expression, and the strong literary orientation of The 19th century, was resolved in the conception of program music. Program Music, as Liszt and others in the 19th century used the term, is music Associated with poetic, descriptive, and even narrative subject matter. This is done not by Means of musical figures imitating natural sounds and movements, but by Imaginative suggestion. Program music aimed to absorb and transmit the Imagined subject matter in such a way that the resulting work, although «programmed», Does not sound forced, and transcends the subject matter it seeks to represent. Instrumental music thus became a vehicle for the utterance of thoughts which, Although first hinted in words, may ultimately be beyond the power of words to Fully express. Practically every composer of the era was, to some degree, writing program Music, weather or not this was publicly acknowledged. One reason it was soeasy For listeners to connect a scene or a story or a poem with a piece of Romantic Music is that often the composer himself, perhaps unconsciously, was working From some such ideas.

Writers on music projected their own conceptions of The expressive functions of music into the past, and read Romantic programs into The instrumental works not only of Beethoven, but also the likes of Mozart, Haydn, and Bach! The diffused scenic effects in the music of such composers as Mendelssohn And Schumann seem pale when compared to the feverish, and detailed drama that Constitutes the story of Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique (1830). Because his Imagination always seemed to run in parallel literary and musical channels, Berlioz once subtitled his work «Episode in the life of an artist», and Provided a program for it which was in effect a piece of Romantic autobiography. In Later years, he conceded that if necessary, when the symphony was performed by Itself in concert, the program would need not be given out for the music would «of Itself, and irrespective of any dramatic aim, offer an interest in the musical sense Alone.» The principle formal departure in the symphony is the recurrence of the Opening theme of the first Allegro, the idee fixe. This, according to the program, is The obsessive image of the hero's beloved, that recurs in the other movements. To mention another example: in the coda of the Adagio there is a passage for solo English horn and four Tympani intended to suggest «distant thunder».

The foremost composer of program music after Beriloz was Franz Liszt, Twelve of whose symphonic poems were written between 1848 and 1858. The Name symphonic poem is significant: these pieces are symphonic, but Liszt Did not call them symphonies, presumably because or their short length, and the fact That they are not divided up into movements. Instead, each is a continuos form with Various sections, more or less varied in tempo and character, and a few Themes that are varied, developed, or repeated within the design of the work. Les Preludes, the only one that is still played much today, is well designed, melodious, and Efficiently scored. However, its idiom causes it to be rhetorical in a Sense. It forces today's listeners to here lavishly excessive emotion on ideas that do Not seem sufficiently important for such a display of feeling. Liszt's two symphonies were as programmatic as his symphonic poems. His masterpiece, the Faust Symphony, was dedicated to Berlioz. It consists of Three movements entitled respectively Faust, Gretchen, and Mephistopheles, With a finale (added later) which is a setting for tenor soloist and male chorus. The first three movements correspond to the classic plan of an introduction in Allegro, Andante, and Scherzo. Liszt attempted to sum up the ideas of Romantic music In these words: «Music embodies feeling without forcing it - as it is forced in its Other manifestations, in most arts and especially in the art of Words - to contend and combine with is the embodied and intelligent essence of Feeling; Capable of being apprehended by our senses, it permeates them like a dart, Like a ray, like a dew, like a spirit, and fills our soul.» The inn from hell It all started on a dark a stormy night just outside of the Paris city limits at about 11:00 P. M. when Doctor Bleed and his assistant checked into the old run down inn. You See the weather was so bad that they could not even make it all the way over to Spain so They had to stop. They walked in with thier clothes soaked from the rainfall, when they first walked In they realized that there was nobody at the desk to wait on them so they just took it Upon themselves to get a room for the night. That was thier first mistake.

As they walked Up the creeky stairs they peered around every corner looking for an open room so they Could relax in peace. When the end of the hall grew near they both spotted an open room With a light on in it and both of the beds with all of the blankets all folded up nice and Neat, almost as if they were expecting us to arrive that evening. Without even thinking About anything else they both entered the room and agreed that it was probably too late to Go wake up the inn keeper so they would just go down and pay him in the morning. After Removing the soaking wet clothes they put on thier night clothes and not even five Minuites after hopping into bed they were both asleep. That was thier next mistake. Now like most people Doctor Bleed just had to get his drink of water in the middle Of the night or or or.......Well thats funny I dont think that he has ever not had his Refreshing drink of water in the middle of the night. Oh well, I sure hope he gets it. Like Normally the Doctor woke up at about 2:00 A. M., now with the doctor not knowing the House he just took off in any old direction which he should not have done because he did Not know what he was about to get himself into. As the doctor roamed the inn he started To swear like a mad man because he still could not find any water. He thought to himself «What kind of an Inn is this». He would soon find out. Just then The doctor spotted what Appeared to be a bathroom with the lights on, he would be sure to find some water in There. As he looked around the bathroom for the faucet he heard this soft chant coming From another room across the hall. It almost sounded like the Theme Song from «Barney», he caustiosly tip toed across the hall desperatly hoping to catch a glimpse of Whatever is making that horrible noise. He opened the door and there standing right in Front of him dancing around and singing songs like a fairy was a huge purple dinosaur. Right away the Dinosaur spotted the doctor and grabbed him by the arm and attempted to Get him to dance to the theme song from «Barney». Scared to death from the words of the Horrible song he decked the dinosaur straight in the left eye, that gave the doctor time to Run. As he ran he could hear the dinosaur clodding behind him repeating the words «Come back! All I want to do is sing my song». Quickly looking for a place to hide the Doctor Dove into the laundry room and watched the giant purple dinosaur jog past him, A sign of relief the Doctor thought to himself, or maybe not because right when he turned Around he saw a strange man doing his laundry. The Doctor decided to go closer for a Better look at the man, as he peered over his shoulder he saw that it was «PEE WEE» Herman!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh no the Doctor has ran into that moron with his very own playhouse And talking furniture, the doctor knew he had to get out of there fast. Before he could get Out of the room «Pee Wee» pulled out a gun and made the doctor sit down and watch old Reruns of his show which was a total flop. After watching just one of the episodes the Doctor pinched himself just to make sure that this was no dream, And what do you know It wasnt. Now the doctor was still craving that drink of water that he wanted over an hour Ago, and this moron showing him the movies was not helping one bit. Then the doctor Began to change....HE WAS GETTING BIGGER....HE TURNED BLACK......and the Next thing he knew he was wearing boxer shorts that said Tyson on them. His hands Turned into boxing gloves and wasting no time he jabbed «Pee Wee» right in the gut Leaving him laying in aftershock. Now it was payback time for that purple threat to the World «Barney».

The doctor found «Barney» in the exact same place as before and doing The exact same thing as before, Acting like a fairy! The doctor dove right on top of the Purple friek and hog tied him with his very own tail, but that wasnt enough for the doctor So he began kicking the dinosaur everywhere. With every kick he shouted «And this one Is for teaching my kids to sing your stupid song 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. As the Doctor paused he spotted a glass of water that «Barney» had been drinking on so the Doctor walked over and chugged every drop in the glass, I mean it wasnt like «Barney» Was going to be wanting anymore. About 20 seconds after he drank the water he began to Morph back into his previous form, now after all that work the doctor decided to go right To bed and deal with the mess in the morning. Now the doctor would never have to worry About bad dreams again, that being because he was his own bad dream, and with that in Mind he closed his eyes and had a wonderful rest. The next morning doctor Bleed's assistant woke him up early so they wouldnt have To pay the inn keeper, obviously the assistant did not even realize anything that went on Last night. Oh well the doctor didnt really feel like telling anybody anyway. As they drove Away the doctor saw that there was a full moon last night.......


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Mann Erudite – Essays on Literary Works