What is the course about?
Following our introduction to the early Romantics in term one, we now move to the next generation, beginning with the very different definitions of virtuosity as demonstrated by Liszt and Chopin. We will also consider the development of Italian opera prior to Verdi, and explore the growing interest in ‘old’ music which led to the Bach revival. As the course progresses, we will also touch on the burgeoning ‘War of the Romantics’, as composers sought to find new (and sometimes conflicting) directions for the symphony after Beethoven.
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?
- The piano compositions of Chopin and Liszt
- The development of Italian opera pre-Verdi
- The invention of ‘classical music’ and shifts in concert programming
- The symphonic innovations of Berlioz and Liszt
- Brahms and the ‘conservative’ symphonic approach.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Differentiate the virtuosic approaches of Liszt and Chopin
- Define the principal structures of Italian bel canto opera
- Explain the impact of composers increasingly looking backwards to historical models, both on compositional approach and concert programming
- Define the ‘War of the Romantics’
- Describe the different approaches to symphonic writing taken by Berlioz, Liszt and Brahms.
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 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 We will look at various scores and historical documents during this course but you do not need to read music notation to participate in these activities.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?
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?
We recommend: MD036C - The long 19th century III
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.