Late Romantic Period
The late Romantic period lasted roughly between 1850 to 1910. The phrase ‘late romantic period’ describes the period that ensued the popular Romantic age. By 1850, the aspect of self-expression had already been well internalized by the romantic age composers, as evidenced in dozens of their compositions. The new generation of composers beginning from 1850 played a central role in the evolutionary process that saw changes in traditional classical music in terms of harmony, lyrics, rhythm, and harmony.
By the beginning of the 1860s, there were no more classics. In the late Romantic period, the new compositions were inspired by various extra-musical elements, including sensual intoxications, ‘nature’ pictures, and autobiography. Some of the major and notable transformations during this era was in relation to music and poetry. Most compositions upheld the emotion design over intellectual design, focusing on individual expression over society.
For instance, music compositions increased in length, often evoking various emotions within the same piece. It was the new norm that the bigger and the longer the composition, the better. Orchestral music boomed and became dominant by the 1970s. One of the most important composers in orchestral music that emerged was Johannes Brahms. Brahms appeared in the mid-1970s and composed four unique symphonies that have been used hundreds of times. Among Brahm’s other renowned and widely used symphonies is his Variations on a theme by Haydn.
The harmonic vocabulary of orchestral music also changed vastly during this period. Composers began experimenting with new and never used harmonies in their music. For instance, the use of dissonance and chromaticism increased significantly among music composers. Color also became a widely used feature for orchestras. Musical instruments used during this period included Violins, Cellos, Organs, Oboes, Bells and Chimes, Strings, Harpsichords, and many other new instruments.
Musical rhythm also shifted significantly. Traditional classical music was characterized by long sections referred to as the unbroken rhythmic pattern. Composers of the late romantic age completely changed this pattern adopting other rhythms, including fast, slow, minuet, and Scherzo. Musical movements, such as the andante and adagio, were replaced by presto and allegro movements. All these new tempos introduced in the late romantic age helped composers bring out emotions in their music compositions.
Poetry and literature also went through a significant transformation. Poetry ceased to be exclusively personal and began assimilating a scientific touch concentrating on conveying useful information rather than concentrating on incidents of personal experiences.