What is the course about?
In this, the final term of the course, we consider differing national approaches to music-making, sometimes deeply entangled with the political situation in certain countries. From the ‘Mighty Handful’ in Russia to the unification of Italy and Germany, we trace the music of Rimsky-Korsakov, Wagner and Verdi. We will also consider Scandinavian and British musical developments, and look to France, Spain, and the wider notion of the ‘orient’ in operatic and orchestral music. The course conclude with our journey beyond the end of the 1800s, into the last few decades of tonal composition, and the late works of Mahler and Richard Strauss.
What will we cover?
- Wagner and German nationalism
- Nationalist trends in Russia, Scandinavia, Italy and Spain
- British music of the late nineteenth century (including Elgar, Parry and Vaughan Williams)
- Orientalism and its shifting definitions
- Later instrumental and vocal works by Richard Strauss and Mahler, and the innovations of Arnold Schoenberg in the early twentieth century.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Describe the importance of nationalism as a determining factor in the development of music across Europe and beyond
- List the composers, and key characteristics, associated with the music of Russia, Scandinavia and Spain during this period
- Recognise the importance of the orientalism for nineteenth-century audiences and composers
- Identify the musical qualities of works by Wagner, Mahler and Strauss, and how they connect to the abandonment of tonality by Schoenberg.
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 We will look at various scores and historical documents during this course but you do not need to read music notation to participate in these activities.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?
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