Romantic Composers

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Romantic composers incorporated nationalism into their compositions through special instrumentation and use of local folk song themes. In many nations, they have a sense of individuality through the crafting of their own instruments. For instance the Spaniards had their own styles of stringed instruments and percussion (maracas, etc) and if a composer wanted to write music for a Spanish style, what would be more complete than to portray that style by using their folk instruments to give the song it's individual nationalistic flavor. Composers also used folk songs as recurring themes in their compositions to tie into the heritage of a nation. Most would not simply copy, but use variation in composing new forms of music to give to their countries.

Smetana's piece, The Moldau, has a clear basis for it's melody (a rushing river), while in addition create Bohemian flavor to the song by adding a peasant wedding polka song, a hunting call, and mythological water nymphs. In the story of this song we are swept by the river watching all these events pass us by.

I believe The Pursuit by Jean-Honore Fragonard on Page 421 of the Living with Art textbook depicts a certain nationalistic flavor, even though the painting was created before the romantic period. The French architecture of the garden and old style European apparel illustrate the beauty and magnificence of the French land and it's people. Abundant flowers and wispy trees add to this beauty and romantic event. A young woman is startled by a love-sick young man, where it seems she is intending to flee from him (out of flirting) as he softly offers her a flower. This chase, even though Baroque in style, is very romantic.

The United States would be one of the best places to share nationalism through artwork. One, because many people that live here are liberal, open armed citizens that enjoy the sharing of heritage. And secondly, the United States is a free country, so people would be able to express a nationalistic emotion without ridicule. A non free country on the other hand, for instance terrorists in Iraq, would give you a fistful if you portrayed any U.
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