Course Description:  
This course will examine Mozart’s precociousness, his impressive assimilation of Italianate and Germanic styles, and his relationship to the turbulent social transitions of his time. Divided between biographic study and music analysis, the course will discuss seminal masterworks including the operas Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro, the piano concertos, and the Jupiter Symphony. Music literacy is not required.

Printable Syllabus

Week 1

Ÿ  Leopold Mozart

Ÿ  Mozart the prodigy

Ÿ  “The Grand Tour” 

Week 2

Ÿ  Travels to Italy · assimilation of Italian opera

Ÿ  Early operas

Ÿ  Early career in Salzburg

Ÿ  The violin concertos; early piano sonatas

Week 3

Ÿ  Mozart in Paris

Ÿ  Mozart’s first lover, Baesle

Ÿ  Death of Mozart’s mother

Ÿ  “Trouble in Paradise” (Maynard Solomon)

Week 4

Ÿ  Early maturity

Ÿ  “Jeunehomme” concerto

Ÿ  Mozart leaves Salzburg · rift with Leopold

Ÿ  Freemasonry

Ÿ  Religious music: masses, etc.

Week 5

Ÿ  Mozart the family man

Ÿ  Journeys to Prague and Berlin

Ÿ  “Prague” Symphony; string quintets

Week 6

Ÿ  Complete mastery: Six quartets “dedicated to Haydn”

Ÿ  Mozart’s reputation and relationship with contemporaries

Ÿ  Mature piano concertos

Week 7

Ÿ  The Da Ponte operas: The Marriage of FigaroDon GiovanniCosi fan Tutte

Ÿ  Mozart and the politics of his time

Ÿ  Don Giovanni  as autobiography

Ÿ  Transformation of operatic styles

Week 8

Ÿ  The last symphonies

Ÿ  Requiem

Ÿ  The Magic Flute

Ÿ  Mozart’s death

Ÿ  Mozart’s legacy


  • The Cambridge Companion to Mozart (Cambridge Companions to Music)

    Cambridge University Press

  • Mozart

    by Peter Gay

  • Mozart and His Piano Concertos

    by Cuthbert Girdlestone

  • Famous Mozart operas;: An analytical guide for the opera-goer and armchair listener,

    by Spike Hughes

  • 1791: Mozart's Last Year

    by H. C. Robbins Landon

  • The Creative World of Mozart

    W.W. Norton & Co.

  • Letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven

    by Charles Rosen

  • Mozart: A Life

    by Maynard Solomon