How Nationalism Affected Composer’s Music

Topics: Hector Berlioz, Giuseppe Verdi, Romantic music Pages: 1 (258 words) Published: March 22, 2011
During the Romantic era, nationalism proved to be a major influence of the relationship between composers and their music. The political unrest all over Europe provoked many forms of nationalism. The Romantic composers of this era expressed their sense of nationalism in many ways.

One way that composers showed this was basing their music on the songs and dances of their people, such as Chopin in his mazurkas. Also, composers wrote dramatic works based on folklore and symphonic poems or operas celebrating a national hero, historic event, or their beautiful country. For example, Bedrich Smetana exploited the scenic beauty of his countryside of Bohemia with his famous piece, The Moldau. However, these were not the only ways that composers expressed their nationalism.

Composer Giuseppe Verdi used his operas as a “mouthpiece” for his nationalist group in gaining their independence. His piece called Nabucco made him famous among the people of his country and he later ran for Parliament. Also, Smetana wrote six symphonic poems called “My Country” showing his pride in his country of Bohemia.

Some composers whom took part in expressing their nationalist pride through their music had to suffer some consequences. For example, Felix Mendelssohn was a Jewish composer who was forced to change his last name and was later banned by Nazis of having people listen to his music. However, on the other side, Richard Wagner was worshipped and praised by Nazis because he was anti-Semitic. This proves that nationalism had very strong effects on music and its’ composers throughout the Romantic era.
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