Poetry in Romantic Music
Read pages 1 and 2 of the featured article, and listen once again to the excerpt from Schubert’s “Erlkonig.”
Visit the Favorite Classical Composers website and read the article about Brahms’ “Wiegenlied” (Lullaby). Read the poetic translation and listen to the song at the bottom of the page.
Read the short article introducing French melodie and some of its early composers.
Listen to Berlioz’s song “Le spectre de la rose” (The Ghost of the Rose).
Listen to Berlioz’s song “Sur les lagunes” (On the Lagoons).
Use the musical examples and the articles to respond to the following prompts:
How are the lied and the melodie similar? How are they different? Which came first?
Two specific composers are mentioned in regard to developing this type of song; one German, and one French. Who are these two composers and how did their contributions to lied/melodie help to popularize the genre?
In general, what do you think about the songs presented here? Does the combination of voice and piano reflect the poetry in each different song?
In your opinion, does the piano accompaniment serve as a partner to the voice, or does it take a background position? Which seems more important to you in the delivery of the emotion the poetry describes; the piano or the voice? Or do both sounds provide an equal contribution to describing the poetic emotions?
“Erlkonig,” “Le spectre de la rose,” and “Sur les lagunes” all speak of death. Describe your impression of each song. How do you feel that the representations of death are similar and/or different? Do any of these songs give you a positive feeling?
Describe your feelings toward the Brahms “Wiegenlied.” What do you hear in the piano and voice parts? Have you heard this song before? Where and when?
Which of these songs was your favorite? Why? What makes you like or dislike this music?
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