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Sturm und Drang ( ) (the conventional translation is "Storm and Stress"; a more literal translation, however, might be storm and urge, storm and longing, storm and drive or storm and impulse) is the name of a movement in German literature and music taking place from the late 1760s through the early 1780s in which individual subjectivity and, in particular, extremes of emotion were given free expression in response to the confines of rationalism imposed by the Enlightenment and associated aesthetic movements.

The philosopher Johann Georg Hamann is considered to be the ideologue of Sturm und Drang, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a notable proponent of the movement, though he and Friedrich Schiller ended their period of association with it, initiating what would become Weimar Classicism.

Historical background

Counter-Enlightenment

French Neoclassicism, a movement beginning in the early baroque, and its preoccupation with rational congruity, was the principal target of rebellion for authors who would be known as adherents to the Sturm und Drang movement. The overt sentimentalism and need to project an objective, anti-personal characterization or image was at odds with the latent desire to express troubling personal emotions and an individual subjective perspective on reality.

The ideals of rationalism, empiricism and universalism traditionally associated with the Enlightenment were combated by an emerging notion that the reality constructed in the wake of this monumental change in values was not an adequate reflection of the human experience and that a revolutionary restatement was necessary to fully convey the extremes of inner pain and torment, and the reality that personal motivations consist of a balance between the pure and impure.

Origin of the term

The term Sturm und Drang first appeared as the title to a play about the ongoing American Revolution by German author Friedrich Maximilian Klinger, published in 1776, in which the author gives violent expression to difficult emotions and heralds individual expression and subjectivity over the natural order of rationalism. Though it is argued that literature and music associated with Sturm und Drang predate this seminal work, it is this point at which historical analysis begins to outline a distinct aesthetic movement occurring between the late 1760s through the early 1780s of which German artists of the period were distinctly self-conscious. Contrary to the dominant post-enlightenment literary movements of the time, this reaction, seemingly spontaneous in its appearance, came to be associated with a wide breadth of German authors and composers of the mid to late classical period.

Sturm und Drang came to be associated with literature or music aiming to frighten the audience or imbue them with extremes of emotion until the dispersement of the movement into Weimar Classicism and the eventual transition into early Romanticism where socio-political aims were incorporated (these aims asserting unified values contrary to despotism and limitations on human freedom) along with a religious treatment of all things natural. There is much debate regarding whose work should and should not be included in the canon of Sturm und Drang; there being an argument for limiting the movement to Goethe, Herder, Lenz and their direct Germanmarker associates writing works of fiction and philosophy between 1770 and the early 1780s.

The alternative perspective is that of a literary movement inextricably linked to simultaneous developments in prose, poetry, and drama extending its direct influence throughout the German-speaking lands until the end of the 18th century. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the originators of the movement viewed it as a time of premature exuberance which was then abandoned in later years for often conflicting artistic pursuits.

Related aesthetic and philosophical movements

Kraftmensch existed as a precursor to Sturm und Drang among dramatists beginning with F.M. Klinger, the expression of which is seen in the radical degree to which individuality need appeal to no outside force outside the self nor be tempered by rationalism. These ideals are identical to those of Sturm und Drang, and it can be argued that the later name exists to catalog a number of parallel, co-influential movements in German literature rather than express anything substantially different than what German dramatists were achieving in the violent plays attributed to the Kraftmensch movement.

Major philosophical/theoretical influences on the literary Sturm und Drang movement were Johann Georg Hamann (especially the 1762 text Aesthetica in nuce. Eine Rhapsodie in kabbalistischer Prose) and Johann Gottfried Herder, both from Königsberg, and both formerly in contact with Immanuel Kant. Significant theoretical statements of Sturm und Drang aesthetics by the movement's central dramatists themselves include Lenz' Anmerkungen übers Theater and Goethe's Von deutscher Baukunst and Zum Schäkespears Tag (sic). The most important contemporary document was the 1773 volume Von deutscher Art und Kunst. Einige fliegende Blätter, a collection of essays which included commentaries by Herder on Ossian and Shakespeare, along with contributions by Goethe, Paolo Frisi (in translation from the Italian), and Justus Möser.

Sturm und Drang in literature

Characteristics

The protagonist in a typical Sturm und Drang stage work, poem, or novel is driven to action not by pursuit of noble means nor by true motives, but by revenge and greed. Further, this action to which the primary character is drawn is often one of violence. Goethe's unfinished Prometheus exemplifies this along with the common ambiguity provided by the interspersion of humanistic platitudes next to outbursts of irrationality. The literature with Sturm und Drang has an anti-aristocrat slant and places value on those things humble, natural, or intensely real (i.e. painful, tormenting, or frightening).

The story of hopeless love and eventual suicide presented in Goethe's sentimental novel The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774) is an example of the author's tempered introspection regarding his love and torment. Friedrich Schiller's drama, Die Räuber (1781), provided the groundwork for melodrama to become a recognized dramatic form through a plot portraying the conflict between two aristocratic brothers, Franz and Karl Moor. Franz is portrayed as a villain attempting to cheat Karl out of his inheritance, though the motives for his action are complex and initiate a thorough investigation of good and evil. Both of these works are seminal examples of Sturm und Drang in German literature.

Notable literary works

  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832):
    • Zum Schäkespears Tag (1771)
    • Sesenheimer Lieder (1770–1771)
    • Prometheus (1772–1774)
    • Götz von Berlichingen (1773)
    • Clavigo (1774)
    • Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (1774)
    • Mahomets Gesang (1774)
    • Adler und Taube (1774)
    • An Schwager Kronos (1774)
    • Gedichte der Straßburger und Frankfurter Zeit (1775)
    • Stella. Ein Schauspiel für Liebende (1776)
    • Die Geschwister (1776)
  • Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805):
  • Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz (1751–1792)
    • Anmerkung über das Theater nebst angehängtem übersetzten Stück Shakespeares (1774)
    • Der Hofmeister oder Vorteile der Privaterziehung (1774)
    • Lustspiele nach dem Plautus fürs deutsche Theater (1774)
    • Die Soldaten (1776)
  • Friedrich Maximilian Klinger (1752–1831):
    • Das leidende Weib (1775)
    • Sturm und Drang (1776)
    • Die Zwillinge (1776)
    • Simsone Grisaldo (1776)
  • Gottfried August Bürger (1747–1794):
    • Lenore (1773)
    • Gedichte (1778)
    • Wunderbare Reisen zu Wasser und zu Lande, Feldzüge und lustige Abenteuer des Freiherren von Münchhausen (1786)
  • Heinrich Wilhelm von Gerstenberg (1737–1823):
    • Gedichte eines Skalden (1766)
    • Briefe über Merkwürdigkeiten der Literatur (1766–67)
    • Ugolino (1768)
  • Johann Georg Hamann (1730–1788):
    • Sokratische Denkwürdigkeiten für die lange Weile des Publikums zusammengetragen von einem Liebhaber der langen Weile (1759)
    • Kreuzzüge des Philologen (1762)
  • Johann Jakob Wilhelm Heinse (1746–1803):
    • Ardinghello und die glückseligen Inseln (1787)
  • Johann Gottfried Herder (1744–1803):
    • Fragmente über die neuere deutsche Literatur (1767–1768)
    • Kritische Wälder oder Betrachtungen, die Wissenschaft und Kunst des Schönen betreffend, nach Maßgabe neuerer Schriften (1769)
    • Journal meiner Reise im Jahre (1769)
    • Abhandlung über den Ursprung der Sprache (1770)
    • Von deutscher Art und Kunst, einige fliegende Blätter (1773)
    • Volkslieder (1778-79)
    • Vom Geist der Hebräischen Poesie (1782–1783)
    • Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (1784–1791)


In music

The Classical era music (1750-1800) associated with Sturm und Drang was predominantly written in a minor key conveying a sense of difficult or depressing sentiment. The major themes of a piece tend to be angular, with large leaps and unpredictable melodic contour. Tempos change rapidly and unpredictably, as do dynamics in order to reflect strong changes in emotion. Pulsing rhythms and syncopation are common as are racing lines in the soprano or alto registers. For string players, tremolo is a point of emphasis, as are sudden and dramatic dynamic changes and accents.

History

Musical theater stands as the meeting place where the literary movement Sturm und Drang enters the realm of musical composition with the aim of increasing emotional expression in opera. The obligato recitative is a prime example. Here, orchestral accompaniment provides an intense underlay capable of vivid tone-painting to the solo recitative (recitative itself being influenced by Greek monody—the highest form of individual emotional expression in neo-platonic thought). Christoph Willibald Gluck's 1761 opera, Don Juan, exemplifies the emergence of Sturm und Drang in music including explicit reference in the program notes that the intent of the D minor finale was to evoke fear in the listener.Jean Jacques Rousseau's Pygmalion (1770) is a similarly important bridge in its use of underlying instrumental music to convey the mood of spoken drama to the audience. The first example of musical melodrama, Goethe and others important to German literature were influenced by this work.

Nevertheless, in comparison to the influence of Sturm und Drang on literature, the influence on musical composition remained limited and many efforts to label music as conforming to this thought current are tenuous at best. Viennamarker, the seat of the major German-speaking composers—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn specifically—was a cosmopolitan city with an international culture. Hence, those writing instrumental music in the city were writing more expressive music in minor modes with innovative melodic elements as the result of a longer progression in artistic movements occurring throughout Europe. The clearest connections can be realized in opera and the early predecessors of program music such as Haydn's Farewell Symphony.

Haydn

A Sturm und Drang period is often attributed to Austrian composer Joseph Haydn between the late 1760s through the early 1770s. Works during this period often feature an impassioned or agitated element, although pinning this as worthy of inclusion in the Sturm und Drang movement is difficult. Haydn never states this self-conscious literary movement as the motivation for his new compositional style. Though Haydn may have not considered his music as a direct statement affirming these anti-rational ideals (there is still an overarching adherence to form and motivic unity), one can draw a connection to the influence of musical theatre upon his instrumental works with Haydn's writing essentially two degrees removed from Goethe and his compatriots.

Mozart

Mozart's Symphony No. 25 (1773), otherwise known as the 'Little' G Minor Symphony, is unusual for a classical symphony as it is in a minor key, being one of two minor symphonies written by Mozart in his career. Beyond its minor key, the symphony demonstrates rhythmic syncopation along with the jagged themes associated with musical Sturm und Drang. More interesting is the emancipation of the wind instruments in this piece with the violin yielding to colorful bursts from the oboe and flute. Exhibiting the ordered presentation of agitation and stress expected in the literature of Sturm und Drang, it is the influence of Vanhal's manic-depressive minor key pieces on Mozart's writing rather than a self-conscious adherence to a German literary movement which can be held responsible for Mozart's harmonic and melodic experiments in Symphony No 25.

Notable composers and works

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
  • Symphonies, keyboard concertos and sonatas


Johann Christian Bach

Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
  • Adagio und Fuge in D minor Falk 65


Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Christoph Willibald Gluck

Luigi Boccherini
  • Symphony in D minor La Casa del Diavolo G. 506 (1771)


Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
  • Symphonies


In visual art

The parallel movement in the visual arts can be witnessed in paintings of storms and shipwrecks showing the terror and irrational destruction wrought by nature. These pre-romantic works were fashionable in Germanymarker from the 1760s on through the 1780s, illustrating a public audience for emotionally provocative artwork. Additionally, disturbing visions and portrayals of nightmares were gaining an audience in Germany as evidenced by Goethe's possession and admiration of paintings by Fuseli capable of 'giving the viewer a good fright.' Notable artists included Joseph Vernet, Philip James de Loutherbourg, and Henry Fuseli.

See also



Footnotes

  1. Preminger, Alex; Brogan, T. V. F. (Eds). (1993) The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Princeton: Princeton University. pg. 1
  2. Pascal, Roy. (Apr., 1952). The Modern Language Review, Vol. 47, No. 2. pp. 129–151. pg. 32.
  3. Pascal. Pg 129.
  4. Heckscher, William S. (1966–1967) Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art, Vol. 1, No. 2. pp. 94–105. Pg. 94.
  5. Leidner, Alan. (Mar., 1989). C. PMLA, Vol. 104, No. 2, pp. 178-189. Pg. 178
  6. Alan Liedner Pg. 178
  7. Heartz/Bruce, Daniel and Alan Brown. (Accessed 21 March 2007). 'Sturm und Drang', Grove Music Online, "http://www.grovemusic.com/shared/views/article.html?section=music.27035"
  8. Brown, A. Peter. (Spring, 1992). The Journal of Musicology, Vol. 10, No. 2. pp. 192-230. Pg. 198
  9. Wright, Craig and Bryan Simms. (2006) Music in Western Civilization. Belmont: Thomson Schirmer. Pg. 423
  10. A. Peter Brown. Pg. 198
  11. Daniel Heartz/Bruce Pg. 1


References

  • Baldick, Chris. (1990) The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. Oxford: Oxford University.
  • Brown, A. Peter. (Spring, 1992). The Journal of Musicology, Vol. 10, No. 2. pp. 192–230.
  • Heartz/Bruce, Daniel and Alan Brown. (Accessed 21 March 2007). Sturm und Drang, Grove Music Online, "http://www.grovemusic.com/shared/views/article.html?section=music.27035"
  • Heckscher, William S. (1966–1967) Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art, Vol. 1, No. 2. pp. 94–105.
  • Leidner, Alan. (Mar., 1989). C. PMLA, Vol. 104, No. 2, pp. 178–189.
  • Pascal, Roy. (Apr., 1952). The Modern Language Review, Vol. 47, No. 2. pp. 129–151.
  • Preminger, Alex; Brogan, T. V. F. (Eds). (1993) The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Princeton: Princeton University.
  • Wright, Craig and Bryan Simms. (2006) Music in Western Civilization. Belmont: Thomson Schirmer.


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