A Thoughtful Melody: Romance


I can't send you my explanation on the word "romantic" because it's 125 pages at least. ''

This is the sentence Friedrich Schlegel wrote in a 1973 letter to his brother. Unlike Friedrich, I should try to wrap up the subject in one page.

What is romance? When I start the subject, I come across the article of another promising author. He claimed that the word "romanticism" had once meant too much to mean anything, and argued that the word should be abandoned or at least used only in its plural form, as he himself did in the title of his article. There is a fact that Lobejoy himself tacitly admits, transforming an uncountable word into a countable word is like going from "Romance" to "Romanticisms", like getting the concept fired from the front door in through the back door.

Not much has changed in the intellectual world since those years. Romanticism has been defined so often that the issue as a whole has become extremely complex.

In my further reading, I see that the word Romantic is derived from the Latin word Rome, the city of Rome. This interesting transformation in the etymology of the word took place in the Middle Ages. A secondary adjective in the form of Romanicus was derived from the adjective Romanus, and the Romance adverb meaning "Roman attitude" was derived from this secondary adjective.

By the way, when it comes to Rome and Romanticism, the first thing that comes to my mind is Joseph Mallord William Turner's Colosseum in the Moonlight watercolor excise. The ruins of Rome or any ancient building, especially in the moonlight, have been the favorite subject of Romantic writers and painters.

The following definition will perhaps give us the most comprehensive version of the Romantic issue, which has been discussed by many writers, poets and philosophers in many periods.

In the fiction of romance, symbolic and internalized romance, which finds the tools that will enable the person to discover himself/herself and his relationship with others and nature; privileges the imagination as a higher and inclusive faculty than reason; who seeks solace in nature or reconciliation with nature itself; Seeing God or the holy as immanent in nature or spirit, religious "removed from transcendence" and replacing theological doctrines with metaphors and feelings; honoring the art of poetry and all arts, the highest of human creations; rebelling against the stereotypes of the neoclassical aesthetic understanding and the social and political norms of both the aristocracy and the bourgeois; It was one or several similar European cultural movements that emphasized the individual, inner side and emotions.

Maybe one day, this definition will take its place among other definitions that are out of breath, but for now, it is among the best definitions that describe what we are talking about.

Romanticism was first and foremost an art movement. Wonderful works in the fields of literature, music, painting, architecture and ballet remained as products of this period. It's hard to imagine a symphony orchestra today that doesn't regularly fill its concert halls with Romantic music. Although musicologists argue about whether Beethoven should be considered Romantic or classical, for example, the Romantic era in music begins with him and continues in the 19th century. He develops along with his magnificent works with Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, Belioz, Wagner, Rossini, Verdi, Dvorak, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Debussy. In the field of painting, schools such as Symbolism, Impressionism, Expressionism and Surrealism, which developed depending on these roots, took their place on the canvas with artists such as Constanle, Turner, Friedcrich, Delacroix and Gericault. For anyone whose imagination is connected to the arts, losing Romance must be like losing a limb or a lobe of the brain.

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Ludwig van Beethoven

Another Romantic composer of the period, Berlioz, it was the tradition of this period to create themes with musical interpretations without text in Romantic works such as Symphonie Fantastique (1830), which he created as a descriptive fiction from program notes. In the 1850s, Franz Liszt composed dozens of "symphonic poems" inspired by Hugo, Lamartine, Schiller, Byron and Shakespeare. What made these works unique to the Romantic Period was that at a time when everyone was writing overtures, these artists exhibited their works independently of the works expected to be overture. Berlioz wrote the overture to two of Shakespeare's plays, the undulating movement of the boat visiting a legendary spot, with a timbre like a distant war scene, respectively, the kind we hear in the songs of Ossian, son of Fingal, known as Mendelsshon's Fingal's Cave, which overtides our author's plays. The Hebrides Overture (1829), which tells the story, is among the main ones that come to mind.

In the world of painting, Delacroix; During this period, he paints many scenes belonging to some Romantic writers, including Shakespeare and Milton. He painted several literary texts at Turner, but his major theme is natural at its highest, as with Alpine mountains and stormy seascapes; but here again he was inspired by literary sublimity and its poetic definitions. With his obsession with mountain and mist landscapes, sea shore and moon, and Gothic ruins that nature has reclaimed, many painters of the period fed on the same things.

Joseph Mallord William Turner Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps
Joseph Mallord William Turner Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps

The painter of the period, who presented the wonderful evening and night pictures, was Friedrich. At O, many painters were also exultant in their zeal to capture the subtleties of twilight or moonlight. In music, the same effects continue to be reflected with "Serenade" and "Nocturne". Common pieces played at night in the 18th century were the Nocturne (Night music) invention of the Romantics. The Irish composer, John Field, was the first to produce piano works with night-like tones, with serene and dreamy melodies played with broken chords and arpeggios in the left hand. After Chopin listened to these, he wrote 21 of them, and these are among Chopin's greatest solo piano works to date. So listening to Chopin is like reading a stanza from the Romantic poet of the time, Lamartine.

According to the tradition of "Sister Arts", the closest brother of poetry is painting. Simonides of Kea claims that painting is a silent poem and poetry is a talking painting. The close relationship between music and poetry was too obvious to be expressed in terms of the ancients; However, by the 18th century, modern neoclassicals repeated the discourse about painting so often that the connection with music was forgotten. The Romantics, especially in Germany, revived this affinity and displaced official privilege.

Perhaps there are those among us who, like Hoffman, think that music is the most romantic art, or even the only romantic art.

All these interactions are the basis of a system of arts, like a constellation. Literature, painting and music schools have always followed and fed on each other for centuries. Some considered Romanticism to be a revolt, or even to put an end to the classical system that preceded it. Romanticism was more, it was a revolution, and although it was unstable and flawed for a time, it tended to be the new system with its technical innovations. Indeed, Romanticism was the last revolution in this sense, since no movement in any branch of art has since been as long-lasting, profoundly impressive and harmonious as it.


Michael Ferber Romance Say Publications


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