Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/161

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ROMANTIC.

literature, or to songs where music is set to romantic words, will not be questioned. And from such works it is easy to select passages which present romantic pictures to the mind, as, for instance, the Trumpet passage on the long Bb in the bass in the great Leonore overture, or the three Horn notes in the overture to ' Oberon,' or the three Drum notes in the overture to ' Der Freischiitz.' But in pure instrumental music the marks of romanticism are so fine, and the recog- nition of them depends so much on sympathy and mental predisposition, that the question whether this or that work is romantic may be a subject of interminable dispute among critics. Some- times the only mark of romanticism would seem to be a subtle effect of instrumentation, or a sudden change of key, as in the following pas- sage from the Leonore Overture :

��ROMANTIC.

��149

���Anothe^ example from Beethoven is supplied by the opening bars of the PF. Concerto in G major, where after the solo has ended on the dominant the orchestra enters pp with the chord of B major, thus

��Strings

���The whole of the Slow Movement of this Con- certo is thoroughly romantic, but perhaps that quality is most powerfully felt in the following

��� �� ��Yet so subtle is the spell of its presence here that it would be difficult to define where its intense romanticism lies, unless it be in the abrupt change both in key (A minor to F major), and in the character of the phrase, al- most forcing a scene, or recollection, or image, upon the hearer. Indeed, to romantic music belongs in the highest degree the power of evok ing in the mind some vivid thought or concep-

��tion as for instance, in this passage from the Adagio of the pth Symphony :

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��where the transition into Db seems to say, Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas' ; and again in the Eroica, where at the end of the Trio, the long holding notes and peculiar harmony in the horns seem to suggest the idea of Eternity:

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��Horns

��� ��Many more illustrations might be taken from Beethoven's works, and never has the romantic spirit produced more splendid results than in his five last Sonatas and in his Symphony No. 7. But with regard to our choice of examples we must remind the reader that, where the stand- point of criticism is almost wholly subjective, great diversities of judgment are inevitable.

It was not until after the appearance of the works of Carl Maria von Weber, who lived in close relation with the romantic school of literature, and who drew his inspirations from their writings, that critics began to speak of a 'romantic school of music.' Beethoven had by this time been accepted as classical, but in addition to Weber himself, Schubert, and after- wards Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Chopin were all held to be representatives of the romantic school. Widely as the composers of this new school differed in other respects, they were alike in their susceptibility to the tone of thought and feeling which so deeply coloured the romantic literature of their time. None of them were strangers to that weariness, approaching to dis- gust, of the actual world around them, and those

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