A Musical Companion: A Guide to the Understanding and Enjoyment of Music

By John Erskine | Go to book overview

NATIONAL SCHOOLS

CHAPTER I
NATIONALISM AND CHAMBER MUSIC

THE gradual assertion of musical nationality in the course of the nineteenth century is due to two causes. One is the subjective tendency inherent in the romantic movement. Once the composer stood committed to the subjective expression of things not necessarily connected with music--literary themes, pictorial impressions, his own emotions, and so on--it was only to be expected that he would take themes from the literature with which he was most familiar, record impressions of the scenery of his native country, employ a national melodic idiom, and, consciously or unconsciously, express that side of himself characteristic of the nationality to which he belonged. The other incentive to nationalism was the stifling effect of the German predominance. The influence of the German classics had become so universal that practically all music except that of French and Italian opera was perforce conceived in a German melodic idiom; as Germans naturally handled that idiom better than all others, it was almost impossible for a non-German composer to excel in his art. This seems a strong assertion, but subsequent history justifies it.

As was observed when dealing with the romantic movement, the nature of chamber music rendered it all but immune from the excesses of program music, and as nationalism in music has in itself something of the nature of program, it follows that chamber music was correspondingly slower to show the outward symptoms of nationalism, whatever changes might be taking place in its inner substance. There is very little in chamber music corresponding to Smetana Vltava, Glazounov Stenka Razin, or Vaughan Williams Norfolk Rhapsody, and what little there is is mostly of quite recent

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A Musical Companion: A Guide to the Understanding and Enjoyment of Music
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Music *
  • Title Page i
  • Acknowledgment iii
  • Introductory Note v
  • Contents ix
  • Book I - The ABC of Music 1
  • Musical Notation 3
  • The Fundamentals of Music 19
  • Form 27
  • The Orchestra and Other Instruments 39
  • Book II - The Orchestra and Orchestral Music 53
  • The Rise of the Orchestra 55
  • The Expansion of the Orchestra 78
  • The Orchestra as Instrument 93
  • Orchestral Music; "Absolute" Music and the Symphonists 130
  • Orchestral Music of Mantkinds 174
  • Book III - Opera 189
  • How Opera Arose 191
  • The Eighteenth Century 207
  • From Mozart to Wagner 223
  • From Verdi to the Present Day 241
  • Book IV - The Human Voice 259
  • By Way of Introduction 261
  • The Polyphonic Period 268
  • English Song 284
  • Folk-Song 294
  • Oratorio and Other Choral Music 301
  • European Song in the Nineteenth Century 314
  • Vocal Music in the Twentieth Century 330
  • Book V - Chamber Music 341
  • Before Beethoven 343
  • From Beethoven to Brahms 364
  • National Schools 382
  • Britain 405
  • Modernism 421
  • Book VI - The Solo Instrument 431
  • Keyboard Instruments 433
  • Pianoforte and Violin Sonatas and Duets 468
  • The Violin in Solo and Concerto 477
  • The Violoncello and the Viola 490
  • Glossary and Index 501
  • A Short Glossary of Musical Terms 503
  • Index 517
  • A Note on the Type In Which This Book is Set 552
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