The romantic poets rebelled against the conventional concerns of their Classical predecessors; they were drawn to the fanciful, the picturesque, and the passionate. One of the prime traits of all Romantic artists was their emphasis on intensely emotional expression. Another was their uniqueness, their heightened awareness of themselves as individuals apart from others. “I am different from all the men I have seen,” proclaimed Jean Jacques Rousseau. “If I am not better, at least I am different.”
Romantic music was often linked with dreams and passions, to profound meditations on life and death, human destiny, God and nature, pride in one’s country, desire for freedom, and the political struggles of the age. These intellectual and emotional associations, nurtured by the Romantic movement, brought music into a commanding position as a moral force, a vision of human greatness, and a direct link between the artist’s inner life and the outside world.