Last time, we went over the Classical Era, and today we move on to the Romantic Period. The Romantic Period generally has been said to have spanned between 1820-1900. With the Romantic Period, the music generally had non-musical influences, which meant that societal events had a huge influence in music. Another change was that there was more nationalism written into the music. Composers living in countries seeking independence or looking for hope had written songs for the single purpose. These are the major piano composers of the Romantic Period.
Frederic Chopin was born in 1810 in Poland. He began getting piano lessons from his mom but had professional lessons from the pianist Zywny at the age of 6. Soon thereafter, it was realized he was a child piano prodigy and started giving out public concerts at the age of 7. As a student, he received much education from various pianists, and later he began travelling in his twenties. He settled into Paris in 1831. Publically though, after he settled into Paris, he would give few public performances. In Paris, though, he would have constant encounters with Franz Liszt, another respected pianist of the time. After the 1840s, though, his health would begin to decline, and he would die in 1849. What he left though, was over 230 works, all piano works. Chopin was well noted for musical improvisation, which combines music with spontaneous feelings. In his polonaises, he included his Polish heritage in the forms that was written in his music. With his nocturnes, he had emotional depth that was included, on top of agitated expression written in its middle sections.
Robert Schumann, another child prodigy, was born in present-day Germany, is thought of to be one of the greatest Romantic era composers. He wrote mostly for the piano in his early life. He married his wife, Clara Schumann, a great pianist in her own right, after fighting against her father, who disapproved of the marriage. He had a long fought battle with a mental disorder, which ended with a suicide attempt in 1854 trying to jump off a bridge, checking into an asylum, where he would die two years later. In Schumann’s legacy, he wrote more conservative pieces and had written many pieces through all the forms of piano that had existed back then. He wrote and left symphonies, opera, piano solos, concertos, and other piano works.
With piano forms growing more in the Romantic Era, which included more personalization with nationalism and improvisation, pianists in this time would express themselves in their music.