Music Evolution – Romanticism to the Modern 20th Century : Post 1

Welcome to my blog, where I will take you through a journey of music exploration discussing the transition from the Romantic Musical Period of the 19th Century through the Modern 20th Century Musical Period.   In order to fully appreciate the evolution between the two musical periods, we will start by looking at the birth of classical music and a composer who helped to transform music for centuries to come, Ludwig Van Beethoven.

Beethoven has been considered to be one of the most influential composers and musicians of all time.  The mere timeframe of his birth and death, 1770 and 1827 respectively, ironically portray his role in the evolution of music, from pure classical form to the Romantic era.  It was Beethoven’s pieces during his “Late Period” that reveal his true role and influence on the Romantic Period of the 19th Century.  In an article written by Rex Levang for Minnesota’s Public Radio website in 2012 (http://www.classicalmpr.org/story/2011/12/16/beethovens-birthday) Beethoven’s “Late Period” are often considered the most challenging…and the greatest.”  While Beethoven’s early compositions were a showcase for his individual virtuosity, it was his later works that showed his evolution in to a composer capable of telling a story capable of evoking several emotions, including awe, fear, and yearning.  For anyone familiar with the Romantic Period of music, these are all characteristics regularly displayed by Romantic Era compositions.  In 1810, The critic and composer E.T.A. Hoffman spoke of how Beethoven captured the “essence of romanticism” with his “total devotion” to his instrumental compositions.  Some of Beethoven’s most famous and popular pieces during this Late Period include the Ninth Symphony and one of my favorite pieces, Missa Solemnis. 

As my blog continues over the next few months we will look at the various stepping stones that lead us to the modern 20th Century Musical period.  But understanding the foundation of the Romantic Period will help us not just appreciate the destination, but also enjoy the journey.

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