Choral music from Handel to Weir

Course Dates: 15/09/20 - 24/11/20
Time: 10:50 - 13:00
Location: Online

This course traces the role of choral singing and composition from that master of oratorio, George Frideric Handel, through the centuries to the choirs of today and how composers write for them. This course has a scheduled break week: 27 October 2020.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.


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. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
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.

Tutor Biographies
Katy Hamilton Tutor Website

Dr Katy Hamilton is a freelance researcher, writer and presenter on music. She is fast becoming one of the UK’s most sought-after speakers on music, providing talks for a host of organisations including the Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, BBC Proms, Ryedale Festival and Oxford Lieder Festival. In addition, she regularly writes programme notes for the Salzburg Festival, North Norfolk Festival and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and is a frequent contributor to BBC Radio 3’s Record Review. Katy worked as Graham Johnson’s research assistant for his monumental Franz Schubert: The Songs and their Poets (Yale University Press, 2014) and is co-editor of Brahms in the Home and the Concert Hall (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and Brahms in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2019). In addition to her research and presentation work, Katy has taught at the Royal College of Music, City Lit, the University of Nottingham and Middlesex University, working with students in performance workshops and music history classes. She has been teaching Music History courses at City Lit since 2015. She is also Public Events Programmer at the Foundling Museum in central London.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

This course has now started

Course Code: MD036A

Started Tue, day, 15 Sep - 24 Nov '20

Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Full fee: £209.00
Senior fee: £167.00
Concession: £127.00

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.