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.
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 We will look at various scores and historical documents during this course but you do not need to read music notation to participate in these activities.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?
Each class will involve a combination of spoken presentations from the tutor, recorded and live musical examples, and class discussion and activities. These will include tasks for pairs and small groups, whole-class discussions and individual activities. There will be some small tasks to complete between classes (usually brief reading and/or listening tasks), and all materials for these – such as video links and texts – will be made available online.
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?
We recommend: MD036C - The long 19th century III
To find out more about music appreciation classes and to read some of our recommendations, please see the blog post Music history and appreciation: the 2018/19 programme which lists our full programme of classes listed by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details