Which Of The Following Does Not Describe Romantic-Era Orchestral Music Something to Know About Romanticism

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Something to Know About Romanticism

Romance is the key ingredient that drives the need for fulfil our innermost desires. Here, we are not defining romance as an element of emotion between two people but the quality and intensity that exist between two entities that has resulted in the many timeless and enduring masterpieces that have ever been produced.

There is a period in the history of mankind’s evolution that is known as the Romantic Era, a time when the intellectual as well as the finer and aesthetic aspects of art and literature dominated the world’s thinking.

The Middle Ages saw a great deal of unrest, civil disturbances, wars, battles and revolutions that brought about changes so quickly. Deep romantics were people disillusioned and distrustful of things around them and looked for a way to release some of that anxiety and pent up emotions. They believed that a direct and personal connection with nature was the key to moral and mental health. Thus, some of the poetry and paintings that came out of this period addressed the audience directly, much like the voice of the artiste himself. This resulted in the people identifying the ‘protagonists of such art and literature with the creators themselves’. There are many examples of this connection.

Romanticism – the term

The group of words in various European languages, with the root ‘Roman’ as in romance, Romanesque etc has a complex history. By the middle of the 18th century, the English and French languages used ‘romantic’ and ‘romantique’ as common references to most natural elements and phenomena such as inspiring views of the rolling greens and hills, sunrise, sunset, the gentle gush of swirling waters etc. Sometime in the late 1790s, the Schlegel brothers in Germany, August and Friedrich, spoke of “romantic poetry”, in contrast to “classic writing”, defining writings and expressions in terms of inspiring spirit than mere words. The term ‘romantic’ began more and more to describe not only people’s art, music & literature, but also attributes like chivalry and sacrifice. Wordsworth’s collection of poems of 1815 speak of the ‘romantic harp’ and the ‘classic lyre’ and Byron’s works of the 1820s talk about his perception of the incessant struggle to define ‘classical’ and ‘romantic’ in German and Italian art forms and how that kind of classification was totally absent in England at that time. However, all this confusion somehow added to ‘Romanticism’ being brandied about to add an element of surprise and mysticism.

Romanticism – context, place and period in history

The precise and specific definition of the term ‘Romanticism’ has fuelled many debates in intellectual and literary circles throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. But no significant consensus emerged. A great many views hold that it was part of the ‘counter enlightenment’ reaction to the ‘age of enlightenment’ beginning with the French Revolution in the late 1700s. It also invariably depended on individual and regional views influenced by historical and geographical boundaries to imply relevance. Intense nationalism and patriotism also played a great role in defining ‘romanticism’; some influencers were deeply conservation in their views, while some others were more progressive.

In the area of philosophy, Isaiah Berlin, _________________, viewed ‘romanticism’ as a ‘great disruption and erosion of the classical western tradition traditions of rationality and moral absolutes’, leading to the melting away of objective truth resulting in fascism, nationalism and totalitarianism. The recovery to a more practical and stable outlook came only after World War II that broke the old boundaries and re-established new ones.

In the realm of aesthetics, ethics and politics, pursuit of inner goals of individuals, groups, states and nations in an authentic and sincere manner had its roots in Romanticism. A passionate belief in individual creativity and freedom represented the individual’s self expression through an inner and unique vision in response to external demands; views of family and friends, public opinion and the state’s laws could not stifle the very essence of creativity which was seen as a betrayal of ethics and morality.

The Romantic Era originated in Europe in the 18th century representing the artistic, literary and intellectual changes and movements; it was at its peak between 1800 and 1850. Seen as a natural reaction to the Industrial Revolution and the breaking away from the Dark Ages, it revolted against the deep rooted aristocratic, social and political norms and views that seemingly divided people. It aimed to bridge the gap cutting across socio-economic and socio-political levels through strong embodiments of common beliefs in the literature, music and visual arts fields. However, it had a major impact as well on education, natural sciences and historiography. Through much of its peak period, Romanticism was associated strongly with liberalism and radicalism but its effect on nationalism and patriotism were probably more long lasting and significant.

Romanticism – characteristics that define it

Unfortunately, Romanticism cannot be defined in precise terms. That is because in different countries and regions, different fields of human activity defined the Romantic Era. In England, for instance, the Romantic Era could probably have been the way the renaissance of English literature took place; in France, the French Revolution which created a great social and political turmoil and provided a great leveller would probably be referred to as the Romantic Era. In northern Europe, the Romantic Era was defined as the time of great visionary optimism for changes that were affecting the world at large socially and politically. Elsewhere in the United States and in some parts of Russia, old historical barriers were breaking down as new economic and social patterns began to emerge. The breaking away from the shackles of the ‘Victorian Era’ increasingly marked the dramatic changes and developments of a modern society in the rapidly changing world. The works of poets, painters, musicians and scientists like Shakespeare, Byron, Keats, Milton, Tennyson, Wordsworth Balzac, Flaubert, Stendhal, Goya, da Vinci, Galileo, Edison and many others began to exercise great influences in thinking processes simply because their works reflected the direct relation between creativity, imagination and invention and the larger benefits to the world as a whole. This originality, which was of eminent importance in defining the qualities of communities and societies, continued to influence later generations and often form the basis of modern views, despite great opposition from purists and theorists who propound narrow-minded views.

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