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Late-Romantic Celebration

Romantic Orchestral Masterpieces
Various Artists

CDs: 2
Tracks: 17

hänssler CLASSIC
Rel. 1 Jan 2009

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Late-Romantic Celebration Concert No.1
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Late-Romantic Celebration Concert No.2
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Late-Romantic Celebration Concert No.3
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Late-Romantic Celebration Concert No.4
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Late-Romantic Celebration Concert No.5
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Late-Romantic Celebration
The music of the Late-Romantic era (c.1850-1900) comprises a stunning list of prominent composers and highly popular musical works – considering that it encompasses a mere 50 years or so. With composers like Verdi, Brahms, Puccini, Wagner, Mahler, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Bizet, Dvořák, Grieg, Strauss, and Saint-Saëns, it is little wonder that this period dominates the activities of today’s most active artists – as well as the music collections of many classical music fans. This “Late-Romantic Celebration” is the next in second-to-last of series of features devoted to the nine principal periods of music history, whereby we invite our visitors – regardless of experience – to explore and discover the many composers and works that exalt the era, and some of the outstanding artists that successfully bring it to our modern ears. Specifically, this Feature includes a brief written Overview of the Romantic era, as well as a useful index of key composers, works, and artists – each of which is linked to the related page on our site. In addition, we provide a whopping five separate two-hour 1-Click Concerts (full streams to our subscribers only), a featured “sampler” album, and a set of “Late-Romantic” videos. Enjoy!

“I adore art – when I am alone with my notes, my heart pounds and the tears stream from my eyes; and my emotion and my joys are too much to bear.”
– Giuseppe Verdi

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The expressions "Late-Romantic" and "Post-Romantic" are relatively recent constructs used to delineate the later and/or "declining" phases of the Romantic period (after 1850), whose initial and overarching aspects are described on the Romantic page. By the mid-19th century, the Romantic impulses of subjective expression and organic unity had become fully internalized by most composers, leading to more pronounced applications of both. The ultimate personification of these Late-Romantic trends is surely Richard Wagner, whose operas and "Music Dramas" are largely defined by intense emotional expression, elaborate structural unity, and vast artistic scope - embodied in his term, Gesamskunstwerk (total or integrated artwork). Even composers who embraced differing conceptions of musical form and substance, most notably Johannes Brahms, were impelled by the same basic forces, and sought ever-tighter means to create structural cohesion in their music.

As in earlier decades of the century, the realm of harmony formed a principal means of expanding expressive power; in the works of Wagner, Brahms, Anton Bruckner, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Giuseppe Verdi, and others, the diatonic (simple) harmony of the Classical era was increasingly replaced by a chromatic (sophisticated) approach, eventually undermining the very integrity of Tonality - the harmonic language that had reigned since the late Baroque. Another dynamic trend of the period was the rise of musical Nationalism, where composers from countries outside the central nexus of Western music (Germany, Austria, France, Italy, and England) strove to explore and celebrate the folk traditions of their native lands within an art context - such as Edvard Grieg (Norway), Antonín Dvorák and Bedrich Smetana (Czechoslovakia), Jean Sibelius (Finland), Mikhail Glinka, Nicolay Rimsky-Korsakov, and Alexander Borodin (Russia), etc. - which in turned help to expand the overall musical language of the time, harmonically as well as rhythmically and in orchestration.

By the closing decades of the 19th century, the developments noted above began to stretch to an extreme or "mannered" extend, as heard in the lengthy symphonies and orchestral works (tone poems, etc.) of Wagner's "successors", Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss, as well as in vocal and instrumental works of other so-called "Post-Romantics", such as Alexander Scriabin, Sergey Rachmaninov, Giacomo Puccini, and Modest Mussorgsky - leading in many ways to a crisis of sorts, and thus to the kinds of experiments that defined the coming Impressionist and Modern eras.

Here is a list of some of the principal composers of the Late-Romantic era:

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
  Principal genres: Opera, Sacred Choral Works

Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
  Principal genres: Opera, Music Drama

Charles Gounod (1818-1893)
  Principal genres: Opera, Songs

Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)
  Principal genres: Opera

César Franck (1822-1890)
  Principal genres: Chamber Works, Vocal Works, Symphony

Edouard Lalo (1823-1892)
  Principal genres: Concertos

Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)
  Principal genres: Symphony, Sacred Choral Works

Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884)
  Principal genres: Opera, Symphonic Poem

Johann Strauss II (1825-1899)
  Principal genres: Operetta, Waltz, Polka

Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869)
  Principal genres: Piano Works

Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894)
  Principal genres: Opera, Concerto, Piano Works

Karl Goldmark (1830-1915)
  Principal genres: Opera, Concerto, Chamber Works

Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)
  Principal genres: Opera, Symphony, String Quartet

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
  Principal genres: Symphony, Concerto, Chamber Works, Piano Works, Songs, Sacred Choral Works

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
  Principal genres: Opera, Symphony, Concerto, Chamber Works

Henryk Wieniawski (1835-1880)
  Principal genres: Violin Concerto

Léo Delibes (1836-1891)
  Principal genres: Opera, Ballet

Georges Bizet (1838-1875)
  Principal genres: Opera, Symphony, Piano Works

Max Bruch (1838-1920)
  Principal genres: Violin Concerto, Orchestral Works

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839-1881)
  Principal genres: Opera, Orchestral Works, Piano Works

Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
  Principal genres: Opera, Ballet, Symphony, Concerto, Orchestral Works, Chamber Works

Antonín (Leopold) Dvořák (1841-1904)
  Principal genres: Opera, Symphony, Concerto, Orchestral Works, String Quartet, Chamber Works, Piano Works

Jules Massenet (1842-1912)
  Principal genres: Opera

Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900)
  Principal genres: Operetta

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)
  Principal genres: Orchestral Works, Concertos, Piano Works, Songs

Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)
  Principal genres: Opera, Suite, Orchestral Works, Songs, Choral Works

Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908)
  Principal genres: Violin Works

Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924); FRA
  Principal genres: Choral Works, Songs, Piano Works, Orchestral Works, Chamber Works

Leoš Janáček (1854-1928)
  Principal genres: Opera, Orchestral Works, Chamber Works

Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921)
  Principal genres: Opera

Ernest Chausson (1855-1899)
  Principal genres: Orchestral Works, Chamber Works, Songs

Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
  Principal genres: Concerto, Orchestral Works, Songs

Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919)
  Principal genres: Opera

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)
  Principal genres: Opera

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
  Principal genres: Symphony

Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909)
  Principal genres: Piano Works

Edward MacDowell (1860-1908)
  Principal genres: Piano Works, Songs

Hugo Wolf (1860-1903)
  Principal genres: Song Cycle, Songs

Frederick Delius (1862-1934)
  Principal genres: Orchestral Works

Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945)
  Principal genres: Opera

Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
  Principal genres: Opera, Tone Poems, Songs

Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915)
  Principal genres: Piano Sonatas, Piano Works, Symphony

Here is a short, and quite partial, list of some of the many masterpieces of the Late-Romantic era. Use this list as a springboard for further musical exploration. In addition, please enjoy the five 1-Click Concerts above, which are directly based upon these selections.

Verdi, Aida (opera)
Verdi, La Traviata (opera)
Verdi, Il Trovatore (opera)

Wagner, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (opera)
Wagner, Tristan und Isolde (opera), WWV 90
Wagner, Die Walküre (The Valkyrie; opera), WWV 86b

Gounod, Faust (opéra)
Gounod, Ave Maria (Adaptation of Bach's Prelude in C, BWV846)

Offenbach, Les contes d'Hoffmann (opera)

Franck, Panis angelicus for tenor, organ, harp, cello, and bass
Franck, Violin Sonata in A, M.8

Lalo, Symphonie espagnole, for violin and orchestra in D-, Op.21

Bruckner, Symphony No.4 in Eb, WAB104 ('Romantic')
Bruckner, Symphony No.7 in E, WAB107 ('Lyric')

Smetana, The Bartered Bride (Prodaná nevesta; opera), JB 1:100
Smetana, Má vlast (My Fatherland), JB 1:112

Johann Strauss Jr., Die Fledermaus (The Bat; operetta), RV503
Johann Strauss, Jr., An der schönen, blauen Donau (Blue Danube Waltz), Op.314

Gottschalk, Le Banjo, esquisse américaine, Op.15

Rubinstein, Piano Concerto No.4 in D-, Op.70

Goldmark, Violin Concerto No.1 in A-, Op.28

Borodin, Prince Igor (opera; completed by Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov)
Borodin, String Quartet No.2 in D

Brahms, Hungarian Dances, WoO1, Bk.1-2 (piano version)
Brahms, Piano Quintet in F-, Op.34
Brahms, Symphony No.1 in C-, Op.68

Saint-Saëns, Carnival of the Animals: Zoological Fantasy
Saint-Saëns, Danse macabre, tone poem, Op.40

Wieniawski, Violin Concerto No.2 in D-, Op.22

Delibes, Lakmé (opera)
Delibes, Coppélia, ou La fille aux yeux d'émail (ballet)

Bizet, Carmen (opéra-comique)
Bizet, Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers; opera)

Bruch, Kol Nidrei: Adagio on Hebrew Melodies, for cello and orchestra, Op.47
Bruch, Violin Concerto No.1 in G-, Op.26

Mussorgsky, Boris Godunov (opera)
Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition (Kartinki s vïstavski)
Mussorgsky, Night on Bald Mountain

Tchaikovsky, Nutcracker (ballet), Op.71
Tchaikovsky, Eugene Onegin (opera), Op.24
Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D, Op.35

Dvořák, Rusalka, B.203, Op.114 (lyric fairy tale, opera)
Dvořák, Symphony No.9 in E- ('From the New World'), Op.95
Dvořák, 8 Slavonic Dances, B.83, Op.46 (after piano 4-hands version)

Massenet, Manon (opera)
Massenet, Werther (opera)

Sullivan, The Mikado (The Town of Titipu; operetta)
Sullivan, The Pirates of Penzance (operetta)

Grieg, Peer Gynt, Op.23 (Incidental Music)
Grieg, From Holberg’s Time ('Holberg Suite'), for string orchestra

Rimsky-Korsakov, Sheherazade (symphonic suite), Op.35

Sarasate, Zigeunerweisen ('Gypsy Air'), Op.20

Fauré, Requiem, Op.48
Fauré, Pavane, Op.50

Janáček, Jenufa (opera), JW 1/4

Humperdinck, Hänsel and Gretel (opera)

Chausson, Poème, for violin and orchestra, Op.25

Elgar, Enigma Variations, Op.36
Elgar, Cello Concerto in E-, Op.85

Leoncavalli, Pagliacci (opera)

Puccini, La bohème (opera)
Puccini, Madama Butterfly (opera)
Puccini, Tosca (opera)

Mahler, Symphony No.1 in D ('Titan')
Mahler, Symphony No.4 in G
Mahler, Das Lied von der Erde, for alto (or baritone), tenor and orchestra

Albéniz, Suite española No.1, Op.47, B.7

MacDowell, 10 Woodland Sketches, Op.51

Wolf, Italienisches Liederbuch (Italian Songbook)

Delius, 2 Pieces for Small Orchestra, RTvi/19

Mascagni, Cavalleria rusticana (opera)

R. Strauss, Salome, Op.54, TrV215 (music drama)
R. Strauss, Der Rosenkavalier, Op.59, TrV227 ('musical comedy')
R. Strauss, Also sprach Zarathustra, Op.30, TrV176

Scriabin, 24 Preludes, Op.11
Scriabin, Symphony No.4 in C ('Le Poème de l'extase), Op.54

Here is a short, and quite partial, list of the many outstanding artists (conductors, soloists, chamber groups, orchestras), featured on Classical Archives who specialize in performing music of the Late-Romantic era, divided into their various categories:


Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Berlin Philharmonic
Berlin State Opera Orchestra
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Cleveland Orchestra
Dresden Staatskapelle
Hanover Band
La Scala Theater Orchestra
L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
London Symphony Orchestra
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
New York Philharmonic
Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia
Philharmonia Orchestra of London
Rome Opera Theater Orchestra
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra Covent Garden
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra


Claudio Abbado
Ernest Ansermet
Vladimir Ashkenazy
Daniel Barenboim
Leonard Bernstein
Karl Böhm
Richard Bonynge
Willi Boskovsky
Sir Colin Davis
Charles Dutoit
Alberto Erede
Wilhelm Furtwängler
Gianandrea Gavazzeni
Valery Gergiev
Carlo Maria Giulini
Bernard Haitink
Mariss Jansons
Neeme Järvi
Eugen Jochum
Herbert von Karajan
Carlos Kleiber
Kiril Kondrashin
Rafael Kubelik
Lorin Maazel
Sir Charles Mackerras
Pierre Monteux
Riccardo Muti
Kent Nagano
Roger Norrington
David Parry
Alexander Rahbari
Rico Saccani
Kurt Sanderling
Gerard Schwarz
Tullio Serafin
Giuseppe Sinopoli
Leonard Slatkin
Georg Solti
George Szell
Christian Thielemann
Michael Tilson Thomas
Georg Tintner
Antoni Wit

Chamber Ensembles

Alexander String Quartet
Amadeus Quartet
Borodin Quartet
Borodin Trio
Kodaly Quartet
Stuttgart Piano Trio
Verdi Quartet


Martha Argerich
Claudio Arrau
Vladimir Ashkenazy
Idil Biret
Alfred Brendel
Ignaz Friedman
Emil Grigoryevich Gilels
Friedrich Gulda
Vladimir Horowitz
Jenö Jandó
Martin Jones
Wilhelm Kempff
Alan Marks
Gerhard Oppitz
Sviatoslav Richter
Arthur Rubinstein
Artur Schnabel

Other Instrumental Soloists

Pablo Casals (cello)
Arthur Grumiaux (violin)
Natalia Gutman (cello)
Jascha Heifetz (violin)
Ilya Kaler (violin)
Fritz Kreisler (violin)
Shlomo Mintz (violin)
Takako Nishizaki (violin)
Itzhak Perlman (violin)
Mstislav Rostropovich (cello)
Andrés Segovia (guitar)
Gil Shaham (violin)
Isaac Stern (violin)
Mela Tenenbaum (violin)
Pinchas Zukerman (violin)



Montserrat Caballé
Maria Callas
Maria Dragoni
Kirsten Flagstad
Monika Krause
Stefania Malagu
Birgit Nilsson
Leontyne Price
Margaret Price
Renata Scotto
Irmgard Seefried
Beverly Sills
Renata Tebaldi
Kiri Te Kanawa


Olga Borodina
Grace Bumbry
Brigitte Fassbaender
Marilyn Horne
Christa Ludwig
Giulietta Simionato
Anne Sofie von Otter


Carlo Bergonzi
Jussi Björling
Enrico Caruso
José Carreras
Franco Corelli
Mario del Monaco
Giuseppe di Stefano
Plácido Domingo
Maurizio Frusoni
Dennis O'Neill
Luciano Pavarotti
Gianni Raimondi
Michael Schade
Jon Vickers

Baritone / Bass

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)
Nicolai Ghiaurov (bass)
Tito Gobbi (baritone)
Matthias Goerne (baritone)
Hans Hotter (bass-baritone)
Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)
Kurt Moll (bass)
Alan Opie (baritone)
Thomas Quasthoff (bass-baritone)
Samuel Ramey (bass)
Andreas Schmidt (bass-baritone)
Cesare Siepi (bass)
Bryn Terfel (baritone)
José Van Dam (bass)

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