The 19th century was the Romantic period. The lightness of classical music gave way to music which was much more energetic, grander and more dramatic. Romantic composers broke free of the stylistic restraints of the classical period in a bid to express their tormented souls. The piano was at the heart of musical creation, given that it can be used to express all types of emotions. Operas and nationalistic music became prominent compositions during this period.
Famous composers include Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Frédéric Chopin, Franz Schubert and Hector Berlioz. Have a listen to the beautiful piece Vocalise by Rachmaninoff, arranged for solo piano: