German post romantic timeline

  • Wagner, Tristan und Isolde

    This was on of Wagner's last operas. He interumped his completion of the Ring Cycle to write this. Wagner continued to expand the ideas of tonality with the opera. He used a lot of chromatisim and large suspended dissonant chords. This opera is famous for the "Tristan chord". It is a normal fully-diminished 7th chord, but what makes it striking is how it suddenly appears in the progression. Scholars consider this chord to be the start of the modern and atonal movement.
  • Wolf, Serenade

    This is Wolfs most famous instrumental piece. His main inflluences were Wagner, Schbert and Schuman. Wolf often wrote to sad and depressing poems and his music conveys it. He uses very dissonant chords to show the pain and tension of the lyrics. Wolf's pieces show great use of deceptive cadances, chromaticism, and dissonances that resolve. He believed much like what Wagner believed, that large works such as operas and symphonies are what make composers famous.
  • Mahler, Symphony No.1

    Mahler considered this a symphony but during the first two performances it was percieved as a tone poem. He titled it, Titan, after the novel by Jean Paul. This caused Mahler to make changes to it after the premier. In the final movement he quotedthemes from previous movements in a similar way to beethoven. Two of his main themes were from his song cycle, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. This symphony had the form and style of Beethoven and the sounds and characterists of Strauss.
  • Strauss, Don Juan

    His first tone poem and he wrote it when he was only 24. This piece set his repuataion as a composer. It is tonal and has no tonality supprises.
  • Schoenberg, Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4

    Schoenberg's early compositions resembled that of Brahms and Mahler. They had a clear tonal center and "normal" harmonic progressions. In this piece for string sextet he developed motivs like Wagner and used extensive chromatism. There are only two motives that he develops like Brahms doing what Schoenberg called, "developing variation". Schoenberg combined the ideas of Brahms' development with Wagner's use of leitmotifs.
  • Strauss, Salome (Opera)

    This was Strauss' 3rd opera but his first big hit. It was written in German and based on the French play by Oscar Wilde. He used leitmotifs but they weren't always clear who they were for. Strauss altered them throughout the opera and made them rather ambigious. Strauss used extended harmonys, many keys, chromatism, and polytonality. Towards the end of the opera there is a striking polytonal chord with a A7 chord with F#M chord at the same time. This forms a cadence in the key of C#M.
  • Mahler, Symphony No. 8

    Often called the "Symphony of a Thousand", Mahler wrote this in the begingin of his late period of composition. He combined the sacrad Latin hymn, Veni creator spiritus and a secular text from Goethe's dramatic poem, Faust. For Mahler, this piece has a looser tonal center. It modulates often to unfamilar keys but always returns to the key of Eb major. It also does not have the standard Mahler characteristics like birdsong, military marches, or.Austrian dances.
  • Mahler, Symphony No. 9

    This is Mahlers last completed symphony. It is progressive sounding because it never fully locks into a key. It starts in D major and ends in Db major. It has several rhymically unsettening which some have compared to his uneven heart rhythm from which he later died because of. The style of the movements is still very usuall with the first being a sonata form, then a dance, rondo, and adagio. Mahler often made the first and last movements slow instead of fast like other composers.
  • Strauss, Elektra (Opera)

    Strauss' next opera continued his shift into modernism. Strauss continued to use leitmotifs and extended harmonies. This opera is considered to be less tonal than his past workds because of the way he flows between keys. There are many sudden and abrupt key changes. The orchestra is very big and requires 118 musicians.
  • Schoenberg, Pierrot Lunaire Op. 21

    Schoenberg composed this during the middle period of his compositional career, He was experimenting with new was to make music sound new and was venturing into the use of atonality. The cycle consist of three sets of seven songs. He enjoyed numerology and used seven note motives throughout the cycle. He used classical forms such as the fugue, canon, rondo, and free counterpoint. This showes that Schoenberg appriciated the past musical ideas and wanted to expand on them.
  • Strauss, An Alpine Symphony

    This is a large 21 continous movement tone poem depecting a trek up a mountain. This is one of Strauss' largest non operatic pieces and it lasts about 50 minutes. It requires about 125 musicians to perform.