Centre for Continuing Education

Exploring Music Course: The Romantic Period

Music. Learn, enjoy, appreciate.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses both online and in-person. Please check the delivery format for each class before you enrol.

Please note that course materials for all classes (excluding prescribed textbooks) are shared electronically within 48 hours of a course starting. Printing is not available.

“Who can do anything after Beethoven?” Composers in nineteenth century Europe had a daunting predecessor, but the music they wrote is some of the most beautiful and dramatic of all classical music. Examining the music of the Romantic period in its historical and social context, we look at the works of composers such as Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, Liszt, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Tchaikovsky.

This course is the third of a series of four one-day music courses that will guide you through the main periods of classical music history. Over four Saturdays throughout the year you we will see the progression of music from the richness of the Baroque, through the elegant simplicity of the classical period, the passion and drama of the Romantic period to the mysterious beauty of the Impressionist period.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • list some of the main composers of the Romantic period
  • list some music from the Romantic period
  • describe some of the musical characteristics of the Romantic period.


This classical music appreciation course covers the following topics:

  • What is wonderful about Romantic music?
  • Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1
  • Romance and adventure: origins of the term 'Romantic'
  • Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2
  • Social, cultural and historical background: Europe, 1820-1900
  • The art of the Romantic period: we look at art and architecture of the times, and see parallel tastes in art and music
  • Music genres in the Romantic period: the influence of Beethoven
  • Some great names in music: Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms and Tchaikovsky
  • Compositional techniques: what Romantic composers were trying to achieve, and how they achieved it
  • Musical characteristics: what to listen for, and how to get more out of music of the Romantic period
  • Programme music: the music of life
  • Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique
  • Romantic opera: Bel Canto, Rossini, Verdi and Wagner
  • Bellini: I Puritani
  • Rossini: The Barber of Seville
  • Verdi: Rigoletto
  • Wagner: The Flying Dutchman
  • Song in the Romantic period: the beauty and charm of lieder
  • Schubert’s Gretchen am Spinnrade
  • The Piano and the Virtuoso
  • Liszt: Les jeux d’eau à la Villa d’Este
  • The Romantic concerto: virtuosic duelling
  • The Symphony and the Symphonic Poem
  • Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet

Delivery style

This classical music appreciation course in Sydney will be richly illustrated with musical examples, artworks and portraits of the times, video clips, and readings from letters and historical documents. Susan will use the piano to demonstrate musical concepts to the everyday listener. Questions from participants will be encouraged, and there will be room for discussion throughout the course.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

What others say.

  • An excellent tutor who has a thorough knowledge of the subject and has the appropriate resources to inform – presenting the course in a professional manner. I would highly recommend this course for anyone wanting to improve their knowledge of Classical Music. It is appropriate for students of all levels of knowledge.

  • I liked and appreciated the course. The tutor is very knowledgeable and very well prepared. Your venue is delightful and easy to get to. I will certainly be checking for future courses.

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