Centre for Continuing Education

Music Course: Music in Beethoven's Time Part VI: Beethoven and Schubert (1815-1820)

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This music course, focused on Music in Beethoven’s Time, seeks to present Beethoven’s life and music in a rich historical and musical context.

In this Music in Beethoven’s Time course Part VI, the Napoleonic Wars finally come to an end with the Battle of Waterloo and Europe attempts to return to the ‘status quo ante bellum’. In ‘Biedermeier’ Vienna, Beethoven embarks on an epic five-year legal struggle over the guardianship of his young nephew, Karl. This highly charged emotional situation, exacerbated by his near-total deafness, dramatically affects his creative output during this stressful and unhappy period.

Meanwhile, Franz Schubert, a young Viennese-born composer operating entirely without patronage or aristocratic connections of any kind, begins to make his presence felt. Initially known for his prolific output of remarkable songs, Schubert writes convivial music which is perfectly suited to the new bourgeois salons, whereas Beethoven’s works are increasingly found to be unnecessarily complex and overly demanding of both performer and listener. In the larger musical world, Rossini rapidly becomes the most famous composer in Europe.


This music course covers the following content:

  • The Congress of Vienna continues
  • Cantata 'The Glorious Moment'
  • Napoleon returns – 'The Hundred Days'
  • Battle of Waterloo
  • Metternich and ‘Biedermeier’ Vienna
  • Legal wrangle over Beethoven’s nephew begins
  • New publishers in Vienna and London
  • The last two cello sonatas
  • A new piano sonata and a song cycle
  • E.T.A Hoffmann & Carl Czerny
  • Rossini moves to Naples
  • Schubert’s early symphonies and songs
  • Rossini’s two Roman comedies
  • Schubert’s 'Trout Quintet'
  • Six-octave Broadwood piano and a sonata to match
  • ‘Diabelli Variations’ begun
  • ‘Missa Solemnis’ begun
  • Archduke Rudolph becomes Archbishop

Intended Audience

This music course is suitable for those who have previously attended Music in Beethoven’s Time Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV or Part V or those who have an interest in music and Beethoven. It is not essential for participants to have completed the previous Music in Beethoven’s Time courses prior to attending this course.

Delivery Style

This music course will be presented as a series of informal talks, illustrated by extensive musical excerpts on CD.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion

What others say.

  • These courses enrich one’s experience and enjoyment of classical music immensely. The enthusiastic and stimulating presentation and thoroughly researched material are interspersed with musical examples of both familiar and less familiar works. Students develop an appreciation of major composers and their works in their historical and musical context.