- This article is about the musical term, for other uses see Romance (disambiguation)
The term romance (Spanish: romance/romanza, Italian: romanza, German: Romanze, French: romance, Russian: романс, Portuguese: romance) has a centuries-long history. Applied to narrative ballads in Spain, it came to be used by the 18th century for simple lyrical pieces not only for voice, but also for instruments alone. During the 18th and 19th centuries Russian composers developed the French variety of the romance as a sentimental category of Russian art song. "Ochi Chyornie" (Black Eyes) is a well-known example.
The Oxford Dictionary of Music states that "generally it implies a specially personal or tender quality".
Georges Bizet's "Je crois entendre encore" from The Pearl Fishers (1863) is labelled a romance in the score.
As for instrumental romances, Mozart subtitled the second movement of his piano concerto no. 20 in D minor (K.466) "Romanze" and his Horn Concerto has a romanze and Rondo. Robert Schumann was particularly fond of the title for lyrical piano pieces.
So many composers in the French tradition wrote Romances sans paroles, "Romances without words", from the 1840s onwards that the radical poet Paul Verlaine in turn published a collection of his impressionistic poems as Romances sans paroles (1874).
Some instrumental music bearing the title "Romance":
- Beethoven's two Violin Romances (Romanze) for violin and orchestra, no. 1 G Major, Op. 40; no. 2 in F Major, Op. 50 takes the form of a loose theme and variations.
- Antonín Dvořák's Romance in F minor for violin and orchestra, Op. 11 (1873/1877)
- Camille Saint-Saёns' Romance in D for violoncello and orchestra, Op. 51 (1877)
- Clara Schumann's Drei Romanzen for violin and piano, Op. 22 (1853) (link)
- Robert Schumann's Drei Romanzen (for piano), Op.28. (1839)
- Robert Schumann's Drei Romanzen (for oboe or violin and piano), Op.94. (1849)
- Jean Sibelius, Romances for piano Op 24, no. 9, Op. 78, no. 2.
- Johan Svendsen's Romance for violin and orchestra, Op. 26 (1881)
- Johannes Brahms' Romanze in F major for piano, Op. 118, no. 5 (1893)
- Edward Elgar's Romance for bassoon and orchestra, Op. 62. (1910)
- Ralph Vaughan Williams's Romanza, in his Concerto in F minor for bass tuba, no. 2 (1954)
- Anonymous "Romance/ Romanza" for the classical guitar, known variantly as Spanish Romance, Romance D'Amour, etc.
- Max Bruch's "Romanze for Viola and Orchestra in F"
- Mozart's Romanze from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, the second movement.
Among Russian romances notable examples are
British singer Marc Almond is the only western artist to receive acclaim in western Europe and well as Russia, for singing English versions of Russian Romances and Russian Chanson on his albums Heart On Snow and Orpheus in Exile (the songs of Vadim Kozin).
- ^ The Oxford Dictionary of Music, Michael Kennedy, editor, 1985 (New York: Oxford University Press), sub "Romance".
- ^ Sigismond Thalberg, Henri Vieuxtemps, Gabriel Fauré, Camille Saint-Saëns, Georges Bizet, Alexandre Guilmant, Alexander Dreyschock, Cécile Chaminade, Zygmunt Stojowski
- (French) Henri Gougelot, La Romance française sous la Révolution et l'Empire : choix de textes musicaux (Melun:Legrand & Fils, 1937) [2nd ed., 1943].
- (French) Henri Gougelot, Catalogue des romances françaises parues sous la Révolution et l'Empire, les recueils de romances (Melun:Legrand & Fils, 1937)
- Russian romances on YouTube