Music history book club
Time: 11:00 - 12:30
Location: Keeley Street
What is the course about?
This term’s book is:
The Man Who Wrote Mozart: The Many Lives of Lorenzo Da Ponte
by Anthony Holden
Weidenfeld & Nicolson (2006)
“In June 1805, a 56-year-old Italian immigrant disembarked in Philadelphia carrying only a violin. Before dying in New York 23 years later, in his ninetieth year, he would find New World respectability as a bookseller, then as the first professor of Italian at Columbia University. Abbé Lorenzo da Ponte, a scholarly poet, teacher and priest, with a devoted wife, also had a reputation as a womanizer. He charmed all he met, pioneering the place of Italian music in American life. But his self-assurance also excited mistrust. When the first Italian opera was performed in New York in 1825, he had the nerve to claim he had written it. He had, so he said, known Mozart. Like the memoirs he had recently written to pay off more debts, the old man was so full of tall stories. The many lives of Lorenzo da Ponte—librettist of Mozart's three great operas, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Cosi Fan Tutte—begin in Venice, linger in Vienna and London and wind up in New York, where today he lies buried in an unmarked grave in one of the world's largest cemeteries.”.
What will we cover?
- The main focus of this book: Lorenzo da Ponte. How many phases of his career are discussed here?
- The role and value of the librettist in opera
- Critical reception of the book (reviews etc…)
- The function of music biography, and this book in particular
- Our personal perceptions of this work.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- discuss one or two themes in the book with confidence
- voice opinions with fellow music enthusiasts
- discuss related works (films inspired by the book, or other similar books).
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
- This book club meeting is suitable for absolute beginners. You don’t need to know lots about music to join in. However, we do ask that you read the book (or as much of it as possible) so that you can join in the discussions.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The single session will comprise combinations of mini-lecture, question-and-answer, guided listening, video and much discussion. The tutor may lead on topics (perhaps discussing a work mentioned in more detail) which the book club students will then discuss. At all times you are encouraged to present your own opinions and knowledge to the group and join in thoughtful and respectful discussion.
You may wish to enjoy extra reading after this class and suggestions will be listed on google classroom afterwards.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please bring your copy of the chosen book to the session so that you can refer to it during discussions.
You may also wish to purchase some of the other music books or recordings discussed in class, links to these materials will be available online after the session.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Music history book club is scheduled towards the end of each term.
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.
Pauline Greene studied composition at Nottingham University and then composed, performed and was Musical Director with various theatre companies. She taught flute and composition, performing her music across the UK at various venues, including the Southbank Centre and the Edinburgh Festival, with her group The Concert Party, which she managed and directed. She has taught at the Universities of Middlesex and Hertfordshire, and ran the Music Access course at Morley College. She has taught at Birkbeck since 1984, moving from Music to Arts Management, and also lectures at Goldsmiths. She has given talks at the Royal Opera House, Wigmore Hall and Glyndebourne. At City Lit Pauline teaches a wide range of music history courses, with specialisms in opera, music for dance, theatre and film, musical analysis, and music since 1900. She is still involved in the organisation of small-scale charity concerts and one-off musical events, and she sings and plays with several small groups.
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.