The Baroque Spirit: Handel, Bach, and Their Contemporaries
The towering spiritual and cultural achievements of the Baroque era are nobly reflected in the work of Bach and Handel (both born in 1685). From Bach, we are bequeathed secular masterpieces of intensity, poetry, intellectual rigor, and breathtaking spiritual achievement, such as the oratorios. More grandiose and yet remarkably direct and communicative, Handel’s art is represented by orchestral concertos and his inimitable oratorios. In this course, we will examine the works of Bach and Handel, as well as those of their contemporaries Scarlatti and Vivaldi, thereby gaining a fascinating, comprehensive panorama of an important era in music history.
Wednesdays 2:00am-4:00pm starting October 2
Before and After the Great War: Music and Paris and Vienna
Before: Grandiose, fervent, sometimes decadent, the Firebird, Gurrelieder, Heldenleben, Mahler. After: Wit, detachment, elegance, Neoclassicism, Les Six, Prokofiev, Hindemith, A Soldier's Tale, La Valse, Threepenny Opera. As with every other aspect of European life, music underwent a seismic shift following World War I. With a century of perspective, we will approach this fascinating divide, mostly concentrating on the musical capitals of Paris and Vienna.
Tuesday mornings starting October 1, 2019 | Syllabus
American classical music has evolved its own heterogeneous identity, characterized by energy and optimism, from its Eurocentric beginnings, exemplified by composers such as MacDowell and Griffes, through the encounters of Americans abroad with such musicians as Boulanger and Stravinsky. We will trace this evolution from the New England School (especially Ives and his innovations) through populism (Copland, Harris) and Neoclassicism (Piston, Sessions, Schuman), into new horizons inspired by popular idioms (Joplin, Gershwin) and indigenous forms of musical theater (Bernstein). A look at highly divergent recent trends (the minimalists/neo-tonalists and academic/neo-expressionists) and a look at current directions will conclude the course. Music literacy is not necessary.
Thursday mornings starting October 3, 2019. | Syllabus
The Heroic Beethoven and the Birth of Musical Romanticism
Beethoven's middle period works (the heroic Beethoven) comprise the single most influential repertory in the history of Western music. The "Eroica" symphony, the mighty Fifth, the "Emperor" piano concerto and other works permanently established the model of artist as hero, artist as liberator, artist as sacrifice. The Romanticism of Schumann, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Mahler, and the contemporary image of musical genius is unthinkable without Beethoven's achievement. This course contextualizes these great works and assesses their impact on the course of music history.
A History of Piano Music and Concertos from Bach to the Present
With its huge and varied repertory, the piano is a unique microcosm of Western music. This course offers an historical survey of the genre, from the Baroque suite to the modern étude and concerto. Acknowledged masterworks from Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, and Rachmaninov are presented, along with great but lesser known works from the French, Spanish, and Eastern European traditions. The course concludes with a look at contemporary styles and trends in piano composition.
Jun 27, 2019 to Aug 22, 2019 Th 10:00am-12:30pm
Opera: Old and New Perspectives
Not only is the history of opera supremely entertaining, it offers a unique cultural mirror, a barometer of European and American societal evolution. This class examines the great operas, singers, and productions, assessing the operatic canon from musical, historical, and social viewpoints. Great masterpieces from Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Puccini and others are presented with many recent, but also archival performances on CD and DVD, exploring this frequently exhilarating, moving, and often provocative art.
Saturday, October 26, 2019 - 10:00am-4:00pm