What is the course about?
We will explore Beethoven’s symphonies as a way to discuss the artistic movements of the 18th and 19th centuries: classicism and romanticism in music. It is also a way of exploring the different stages of Beethoven’s career and ultimately investigating the impact on our conception of music, composers and artists of Beethoven. Tutor:Edward Henderson [external website].
What will we cover?
- The 18th century symphony and Haydn
- Early Beethoven and classicism
- Beethoven Hero
- Unity and narrative
- Programmatic music
- 18th century forms: the sonata, theme and variations, rondo
- ‘Bad Beethoven’
- Late Beethoven.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- understand the key foundational ideas behind classicism and romanticism music and how they are made manifest in Beethoven
- understand the transformation of the symphony in this period
- understand forms in Beethoven’s symphonies and how he uses them.
- understand some of the critical discourse around Beethoven and his work.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No prior knowledge of the subject is required. You do not need to read music to take this course (although we will look at music notation and scores occasionally). Some experience thinking and talking about movements in art and culture in 18th and 19th century would be useful but not necessary.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Tutor presentation and explanation, including handouts, powerpoint slides or writing on a whiteboard
Guided listening and watching of audio and audio-visual examples
Class discussion and debate
Listening and reading outside class is encouraged and once enrolled further online resources will be recommended.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please bring a notebook and pen.
You may wish to buy some of the music or books recommended in class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
To find out more about music history classes and to read our year-long selection of courses, please see the blog post Music history: your guide to the 2019/20 programme which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.