German and French Song of the late 18th and 19th centuries


The Clasical Period

1750 - 1820

Sturn und Drang

September 1760 - September 1780

A brief literary movement inspired by Klinger's play "Wirrar oder Sturn und Drang," that served at a precursor to Romanticism in literature.

The French Revolution

1782 - 1795

Initiated by Neopolian, the French Revolution led to a bloody massacre of the French nobility and a complete government overthrow by the lower classes.

Biedermeier Period

1814 - 1848

Originally a style of furniture this period focused on more simple lines in art as opposed to the extremely ornate baroque style. This movement also promoted close relationships with family and meaningful friendships.

Congress of Vienna

September 1814

Powers as rights of hereditary leaders were reinforced, and Hapsburgs regained their power and part of Italy. Suppression of Austrian culture and nationalism forced composers and artists to find more inconspicuous ways of sharing their work

The Romantic Period

1820 - 1900

Events in Lieder and Chanson

"The Age of Goethe."

August 1750 - 1830

During this period Goethe's poetry was highly influential on music and society. His works embody the style and content of romantic literature.

Haydn serves as kappelmeister for Eststerhazy

1766 - 1790

During this time Haydn composed music prolifically, and wrote the the first true songs.

"Oiseaux, si tu les ans" is composed by Mozart

December 1777

One of Mozart's first french songs.

"Stimmen der Volker in Lieder" is published

April 1778

Johann Herder was a proponent of German people having pride in their culture. He collected poetry from German speaking areas and published this collection, which inspired Goethe to write "Heiden Roeslien"

Haydn composes his first set of lieder

November 1781

Inspired by Emperor Josef 11

"Das Veilchen" is composed by Mozart


Poetry by Goethe

Haydn's London Period

1790 - 1795

Haydn's role at the Esterhazy estate is terminated after the death of Prince Niklaus in 1790. He travels to London where he writes his famous "London Symphonies, and several canzonettas with texts set by Shakespeare and Anne Hunter.

"Des Knaben Wunderhorn" is composed

April 1805 - April 1808

This was a collection of German folk poems and songs by Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano. These songs were eventually set by several other composers.

West-Ochlicher Divan is written by Goethe

1814 - 1819

A set of poems by Goethe with characters that represent himself and his own lover Marriane.

Birthday of modern German Lieder

October 19, 1814

Schubert's "Gretchen am Spinnrade" is the first lieder ever written.

Schubert's Lieder jahr


Schubert composed over 250 songs during this year.

Berlioz's First Period

1815 - 1830

Berlioz composed songs in the Romance style during this period and also set Melodie in a style notably similar to Haydn.

Beethoven writes "An die ferne Gelibte"


This was the first song cycle ever written. It contains themes of nature and is cyclic in style with the last piece returning the music from the beginning of the first.

Metternich's laws


Metternich, after the Neopolianic era, was afriad of social uprisings and secret societies gaining power. He bans certain kind of poetry and literature, and becomes paranoid about controlling the large area of German-speaking territory.

"Die Shoenemullerin" is composed by Schubert


The first majorly significant song cycle of the 19th century, "Die Shoenermullerin" tells the tragic story of a young miller and the maiden he loves.

Loewe's first collection of Ballads is published.


Includes Eduard and Erkonig.

Hugo writes "Les Orientales"


A collection of 41 poems inspired by the Greek war of independence.

Berlioz's 2nd Period

1830 - 1841

During these years, he began writing romances as opposed to melodies. This period inludes "La Nuit d'Ete", a collection of 6 orchestral songs on poems by Gautier from "La Commedie de la Mort."

Pauline Viardot-Garcia's first Concert


The concert was in Brussels, Belgium. She was 16.

Gautier writes, "La Comedie de la mort."


This was a significant work dealing with the Romantic ideals concerning death.

Lizst's French Period

1840 - 1850

Nearly all of Lizst's French songs were written during this time period. He set texts of Hugo and Dumas, but while the text was indeed French, the style was completely that of the German Lied.

Schumann's Miracle Jahr


Schuman composed constantly during this year; he published 8 sets of songs including the op. 24 Liederkreiss, Op. 25 Myrthen, Op. 39 Liederkreiss, op. 42 Frauenliebe und Leben, and op. 48 Dichteliebe.

"Die Lorelei" is composed by Lizst


Music in this piece seems to anticipate the famous chord from the prelude to "Tristan und Isolde"

Saint-Saens First Melodie Period

1841 - 1873

This was Saint-Saens main period of song composition. His Melodie is sweet and lyrical.

Berlioz's 3rd Period

1841 - 1850

Arguably his most advanced period, Berlioz's style is unquestionable. During this time he wrote "L'amort d'Ophilie" and "Zaide."

"Lieder Album fur die Kinder" written by Schumann


A collection o 28 mostly strophic songs that are graduated in difficulty. He dedicated the first 7 to his daughter Marie.

Pauline Viardot sets arranges Chopin Mazurkas for voice


"Mary Stuart Lieder" by Schumann


Op. 135, Clara picked out these poems for her husband. They are thought to be poems that Mary Stuart wrote while she was imprisoned.

"Aus dem leben eines Taugenichts" written by Eichendorff


Eichendorff's best known work--a typical romantic novella with the main themes of voyage and love.

"Wesendonk Lieder" written by Wagner.


The poetry for this set was written by a patron of Wagner> He was working on "Tristan und Isolde" at the time, and the music contains elements from the opera itself.

Beaudelaire writes "Les Fleurs du Mal"


This is Beaudelaire's most famous work.

Faure's First Period

1860 - 1885

This period took place while he was studying at the Paris Conservartoire under Saint-Saens. "Lydia" and "Apres un Reve" both come from this period.

Chabrier's surge of song-writing


Heavily inspired by Paul Verlaine, he wrote his first 9 melodies which included "L'enfant," "Lied," "Serenade," and "Chant d'oiseaux."

Bizet's Song Spurt

1866 - 1868

The majority of Bizet's vocal music was written during this 2 year period.

Exhibition Universelle


Allowed many French composers, writers and artists to explore foreign styles of music and culture.

Societe Nationale de Musik is founded


A society founded in Paris by the greatest composers of the time that promoted music of Ars Galica or French Art.

Brahms writtes Op 57


This work was Controversial because of it's sensual content. In fact, Brahms was criticized for that and was advised that it is too sexual for a family audience.

Verlaine writes "Romance sans Parole"


This work contains impressionistic symbols of Verlaine and his homosexual lover, Rimbaud.

Bizet writes "Carmen"


Although Bizet died before the opera gained a lot of popularity, "Carmen" is arguable the most well-known opera of all time.

Duparc writes "l'extase"


This was a text by jean Lahor, and was a tribute to Wagner.

Chausson's first Songs written


Op 2: Consists of seven Mélodies. Includes settings of poems by Leconte de Lisle, Silvestre, Gautier, Bourget, and Ackermann. Also included is "Le Colibri" which is revolutionary in its use of 5/4 time signature.

Mahler writes "Lieder und Gesange"

1880 - 1889

Started when he was 20 years old. This work usues mostly texts from "Des knaben Wunderhorn"

Mahler writes "Das klagender Lied"


A cantata for soloists, chorus, and orchestra. This is the first major work of Mahler's surviving in its entirety.

Chausson writes "Poeme de l'amour et de la mer."

1882 - 1890

Significantly develops the capability of concert repertoire for voice.

Sain-Saens 2nd Period of Melodie

1885 - 1886

Contains foreign musical motives including Spanish flavored music, and French Bergerettes.

Faure's 2nd Period

1885 - 1906

During this period Faure fell in love with Verlaine's poetry. "Spleen,' "Green," and "Un Sourdine" are from this period.

"Weinacht's Lied" written by Strauss


His first vocal composition.

"Ziegeunerlieder" written by Brahms


11 songs based on gypsy texts. These were originally string quartets.

Wolf's Miracle Jahre


During this time Wolf became manic and composed constantly, writing three songs a day sometimes. In this year he wrote nearly 245 songs.

"Morike-lieder" written by Wolf


Poetry of Morike

Eichendorff-Lider" by Wolf


Poetry by Eichendorff

"Goethe-lieder" written by wolf


Poetry by Goethe

"Spaniches Liederbuch" written by Wolf


A collection of songs translated into German by Paul Heyse and Emanuel Geibel.

"Italienisches Liederbuch" written by Wolf


Translated by Paul Heyse

Wolf's 2nd Period

1894 - 1897

During this time he wrote and 30 songs.

Wolf is institutionalized


Wolf went mad and was sent to a mental facility and never wrote music again.

Chausson writes "Chanson Perpetuelle"


This is his last composition for voice

"Kindertodenlieder" written by Mahler


These were a set of poems that Ruckert wrote after the death of his children. They contain the romantic ideals of death, nature, and the sadness of the human condition of existence.

Strauss' 4 Last Songs Composed


Written for soprano and orchestra. These were the last songs he ever wrote. He composed them for Kirsten Flagstad. She premiered the work.

Composer's Lifespans

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

January 1756 - December 1791

Mozart was a composer of the classical period and composed symphonic, chamber, choral, and operatic works. Concerning vocal compositions, he is best known for his operas, specifically those written in collaboration with Lorenzo Da Ponte, but he also composed songs in Italian, German, and French.

Carl Zelter

December 1758 - May 1832

An influential musician of his time, and a part of the Second German school style of composition.

Johann Zumsteeg

January 1760 - January 1802

Known for his dramatic ballads in the style of traditional English and Scottish Ballads.

Jospeh Haydn

March 1760 - May 1809

Joseph Haydn contributed to the evolution of song by composing songs in three staves instead of two. This allowed the role of the piano and of accompaniment to evolve.

Ludwig van Beethoven

December 1770 - March 1827

As one of the most influential composers in history, Beethoven's music served as a transition from Classical Period's forms and styles into the height of the Romantic Period's development. His cycle, "An die ferne Gelibte," was the first of it's kind.

Joseph von Eichendorff

March 1788 - November 1857

Eichendorff was a poet of the second german school, and his style was typical of the Romantic Period--nature, and man's state of existence being recurring themes.

Karl Loewe

November 1796 - April 1869

Was known to have a beautiful voice as a child, and his father, who was also a musician, encouraged him to train in music. Jerome of Westvalia paid for his education in church music, keyboard, theory, and voice until he was 18.

Franz Schubert

January 1797 - November 1828

Schubert composed over 900 songs in his lifetime, and his music influenced the compositional styles of Schumann, Brahms, and Mendelssohn.

Heinrich Heine

December 1797 - February 1856

Heine is one of the most significant German poets of the 19th century. Druing his lifetime he worked as a writer and as a literary critic. His poetry was often set by Schubert and Schumann.

Victor Hugo

February 1802 - May 1885

A french poet, writer, and dramaticist, Hugo is famous for his humanistic style. He was very active in the politics of his time, especially as he aged.

Hector Berlioz

December 1803 - March 1869

Berlioz is best known for his a French composer best known for his symphonic compositions, but also composed around 50 songs during his lifetime.

Eduard Moerike

September 1804 - June 1875

Moerike was a German Romantic poet, but he worked as a pastor for most of his life until in 1851, he left the position to become a teacher of German literature. His poetry is most famously set by Wolf.

Robert Schumann

June 1810 - July 1856

In his early career, Schumann composed only for piano, but in 1840 began writing symphonic, choral, and chamber works as well. His first songs were composed at age 7, and he was a prolific song writer throughout his career. His wife, Clara, was also a popular composer and musician.

Franz Lizst

October 1811 - July 1886

Franz Lizst was known as a child prodigy, having his first concerts at age 9. He was a famous pianist of his time and was influenced by Beethoven and Schubert. His compositional style was very showy, and his transcriptions demand an exceptional amount of skill. He was one of the first performers in history to include works of past composers in his programs, including Bach and Mozart.

Richard Wagner

May 1813 - February 1883

Wagner is known for his development of tonality, and for his contributions to the development of opera. Yet, in his early career, to make money, he composed songs that were less innovative and inspired by the style of Franz Lizst.

Charles Beaudelaire

April 1821 - April 1861

One of the most notable French Romantic poets.

Paulin Viardot-Garcia

July 1821 - May 1910

A popular, well-rounded musician, and pianist of her time, although, due to societal norms of the time, her work was mostly unrecognized until the late 20th century.

Johannes Brahms

May 1833 - April 1897

Brahms composed for piano, chamber ensembles, symphony orchestra, and for voice and chorus. A virtuoso pianist, he premiered many of his own works; he worked with some of the leading performers of his time, including the pianist Clara Schumann and the violinist Joseph Joachim. Many of his works have become staples of the modern concert repertoire. Brahms, an uncompromising perfectionist, destroyed many of his works and left some of them unpublished. His style was innovative and yet traditional--using old classical forms, but composing melodies that were highly chromatic and that strayed from the traditional bounds of harmony.

Camille Saint-Saens

October 1835 - December 1921

Saint-Saens is famous in many generas of music, and was also known as a child prodigy, composing his first Romances before he was a teenager.

George Bizet

October 1838 - June 1875

Bizet is known for his theatrical style and dramatic flair, while he did write Chanson, the drama that makes his opera so thrilling, never relaxes for music to be performed off the stage.

Emmanuel Chabrier

January 1841 - September 1894

Chabrier was a part-time musician. He made his living as a civil servant, but composed and played the piano as well.

Jules Massenet

May 1842 - August 1912

Massenet contributed significantly to the French melodie, composing in this style often. His songs are full of flair, and often have operatic elements to them.

Paul Verlaine

March 1844 - January 1896

Paul Verlaine was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the "fin de siecle."

Gabriel Faure

May 1845 - November 1924

Faure is one of the most significant composers of French Artsong. Throughout his career he developed not only the style of Chanson, but the functionality of harmony as well. "Claire de Lune" and "Apres un Reve" are among his most famous pieces.

Henri Duparc

January 1848 - February 1933

Duparc is best known for his 17 melodies with texts by poets such as Baudelaire, Gautier, Leconte de Lisle, and Goethe.

Ernst Chausson

January 1855 - June 1899

He was known to be high-minded and self critical. His music reflects the kind of melancholy mind-set he had. Chausson is thought to have died just as his career began to flourish.

Cecile Chaminade

August 1857 - April 1944

A famous female composer

Hugo Wolf

March 1860 - February 1903

was a composer particularly noted for his contributions to lieder. He brought to this form a concentrated expressive intensity which was unique in late Romantic music.

Gustav Mahler

July 1860 - May 1911

Mahler is known for being the bridge between 19th century Austro-German tradition and the modernism of the early 20th century.

Richard Strauss

June 1864 - September 1949

His most significant works were on the operatic stage, but his song is also unique it it's grand and soaring style.

Reynaldo Hahn

August 1875 - January 1947

His style of composition is known for being simply beautiful and elegant. He composed mainly in the style of Melodie.