What is the course about?
Ever since Handel’s great oratorios and anthems in the eighteenth century, choral music has been a particularly popular musical genre, especially in Britain and Austro-Germany. The opportunity to involve large groups of people and the joy of participation makes it an effective medium for involving non-professional musicians – which in turn presents its own challenges for a composer. We will examine music from the Baroque period through to the present day, and explore the ways in which music has been written for choral singers (amateur and professional), as well as the performance traditions that have developed and changed around this repertoire.
This is a live online course. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- The overwhelming popularity of Handel’s choral works and how these are constructed
- Handelian traditions taken up by Mozart and Haydn
- The emergence of choral festivals and massed choirs in the nineteenth century
- Choral commissions in Britain and Germany, including works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Stanford, Elgar
- Choruses in symphonies by Vaughan Williams and Mahler
- Twentieth and twenty-first century choral music by Judith Weir, James Macmillan, John Rutter, Eric Whitacre, György Ligeti and others.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Identify some of the key choral genres used during this time period
- Summarise some of the challenges and opportunities of writing for a large chorus
- Recognise a wide variety of musical styles as exemplified in our case studies.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course in intended to be accessible for anyone with an interest in, and basic knowledge of, western classical music. We will look at various scores and historical documents during this course but you do not need to read music notation to participate in these activities. All texts will be in English, or accompanied by an English translation. Musical scores are all available free online via IMSLP.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
This is an online course:
Sessions will be held via video-conference (google meets) and comprise combinations of lecture, discussion, quizzes, guided listening, video and score study. Course materials (handouts, scores, links to online videos) will be shared via google classroom.
You will be encouraged to do extra reading outside class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
All classes, learning materials and online resources are included in the price. Those who wish to continue their learning outside the classes will be offered suggestions for further reading and listening, but this is not compulsory in order to complete the course.
You will need to bring paper and writing implements to take notes and participate fully in group activities. All presentation material and class handouts will also be made accessible in digital format.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
To find out more about music history classes Music history courses in London and online 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.