Robert Schumann in focus
Time: 10:50 - 13:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: MD036C
Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 weeks)
What is the course about?
Robert Schumann’s career was one of high drama – and high romance. Whilst we are perhaps most familiar with his early piano pieces and the flood of Lieder he composed in 1840, the year he was finally able to marry his beloved Clara Wieck, he composed music in a host of different genres and was equally important as a critic and writer on music. We will trace the course of his life and the stop-start patterns of his compositions, between bursts of feverish creativity and slumps into writer’s block. We will also consider his influence on subsequent generations of musicians.
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.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- Schumann’s career path as an aspiring pianist, music critic, and later conductor and teacher (some of these roles handled with greater success than others!)
- The scope of Schumann’s output across musical genres, from chamber to large-scale
- Schumann’s musical models (particularly Schubert, Beethoven and Bach), and how these affected his own compositional style
- The importance of Clara Wieck as an interpreter and later disseminator of Schumann’s music, particularly his piano compositions.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Outline the components of Schumann’s professional career, and how successful he was in each sphere
- List the wide variety of musical genres in which he wrote, and explain why he chose to explore so many different forms
- List some of the characteristics of his compositional style, particularly in relation to the works we’ve studied in class
- Describe the ways in which Schumann’s output was important to future musical generations, and what Clara Wieck’s role was in this.
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 We will look at various scores and historical documents during this course but you do not need to read music notation to participate in these activities.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 or zoom) 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?
You will need a good internet connection and a computer with microphone & webcam. If using a tablet it will need a screen large enough for you to comfortably view the class handouts.
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.
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.