Exploring the music of Smetana

Course Dates: 20/02/24 - 19/03/24
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
Location: Online
We’ve probably all heard Vltava in concert, and perhaps seen The Bartered Bride – but the worklist of Bedrich Smetana includes many more operas, instrumental pieces, chamber works and songs, and he is often regarded as the inventor of Czech national music. In the year of his 200th birthday, we explore his life and compositions.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £119.00 Senior fee £95.00 Concession £77.00

This course has now started

Exploring the music of Smetana
This course has started
  • Course Code: MD036C
  • Dates: 20/02/24 - 19/03/24
  • Time: 10:30 - 12:30
  • Taught: Tue, Daytime
  • Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)
  • Location: Online
  • Tutor: Katy Hamilton

Course Code: MD036C

Started Tue, day, 20 Feb - 19 Mar '24

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)

Any questions? music@citylit.ac.uk
or call 020 4582 0412

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.

What is the course about?

Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884) was raised as a German-speaking Czech musician and worked for some years in Sweden; but from the 1860s he was at the forefront of emerging Czech nationalism and his role as a conductor and composer in Prague is hard to overestimate. His operas set the bar for younger musicians such as Dvorák and Janácek, and after his death he became an almost mythical figure in his homeland. We unpack the various stages of Smetana’s career; his conducting posts, his compositions, and the impact of his eventual deafness.

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?

- Smetana’s professional commitments and his growing interest in Czech nationalism
- The changing political position of Bohemia and Moravia in the nineteenth century
- Some of Smetana’s most important compositions, including Má vlast, The Bartered Bride, and his second string quartet
- International influences on Smetana’s development of Czech nationalism, including Wagner
- Smetana’s influence on subsequent generations of composers.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Summarise Smetana’s importance to Czech nationalist music-making
- Identify the key characteristics of Smetana’s compositional style
- List the features that Smetana himself considered a mark of ‘Czech-ness’
- Summarise the principal moments of Smetana’s career as a musician.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for absolute beginners. However, we will look at some music manuscripts and learn to identify key features of music notation (how many voices are singing, etc…) so this course will be most suitable for those who are curious and ambitious to learn.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Sessions 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?

You may also wish to purchase some of the music books or recordings discussed in class, links to these materials will be available online after each session.

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.

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.