Music Awareness, Contextual Studies: "National Schools within the Romanticism"

Essay by bitterleaveUniversity, Master's April 2006

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"National schools within the Romanticism" is the term to define the art of music referred to the national influences which effected composers and artist during a period roughly dated between the whole 19th and the early 20th century.

Before this period styles and genres were not particularly assigned to a single country, they were "internationals". After the "Napoleonic Wars" in Europe, countries struggled to gain independence. National identity was the main point that inspired movements, arts and feelings. Countries such as Italy, Germany reached the unification, others, as Czechoslovakia, Poland, Finland and Hungary gained independence from secular foreign occupation. Music, along with literature and language, was one of the main means of expressing aspirations.

The Romanticism (1820-1920), as it runs in the same years, contributed to develop the artistic form full of emotions and instinct feelings, the nationalism the folkloristic timbre.

Another revolution effected the raise of art; the industrial one.

In the 19th century railway crossed Europe and steamship plied the Atlantic Ocean, allowing composers and artists to embark on international careers, influencing the growth of an Extra-Continental music (especially in the American one).

"National schools" are an aspect undoubtedly correlated to the Romanticism era (mainly from its second half).

Even if several composers were not actively nationalists, their music reflected their county's origin flavour. The warm sensuality of Spain folk music, for instance, influenced composers as Falla and Albéniz. Sibelius works reflect a kind of austere atmosphere of Finland (characterized by slow-moving harmonies). Country folk melodies are recognisable in Czech composer Janácek Symphonies. Indigenous music prejudiced Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos, and so on.

Germany and Austria are the countries where some of the greater music-masters born, influencing all the latest generations of composers. Haydn, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven are the major artists of the 18th century, who left a...