Centre for Continuing Education

Music Course in Beethoven's Time Part VII: Composing for Posterity (1820-1824)

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'Music in Beethoven’s Time' seeks to present Beethoven’s life and music in a rich historical and musical context.

As we begin the penultimate section of this course, Beethoven enters the final stage of his epic struggle to gain control of the fortunes of his beloved nephew. He is also now profoundly deaf, and although composing fewer works, what he does compose breaks all previous boundaries of length and complexity – the ‘Missa Solemnis’, the ‘Diabelli Variations’ and the Ninth Symphony.

His home city of Vienna is ruled with an iron fist by Chancellor Metternich, and the Viennese bourgeoisie avoid confrontation by retreating to their comfortable homes and local cafes.

In this oppressive environment, the young Schubert continues to produce heartwarming chamber music and songs, and even flirts with the possibility of becoming a composer for the stage. However, during this period he succumbs to a serious illness which will drastically shorten his life.


This music course covers the following content:

  • Metternich and ‘Biedermeier’ Vienna
  • Schubert’s chamber music and songs
  • Aspects of German Romanticism
  • Influence of Scott and Byron
  • First Romantic operas
  • Schubert’s works for the stage
  • Carl Czerny and Ignaz Moscheles
  • Composing the 'Missa Solemnis'
  • Completing the 'Diabelli Variations'
  • ‘Rossinimania’ in Vienna
  • Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas
  • Schubert’s 'Unfinished Symphony'
  • ‘Rosamunde’ and ‘The Fair Maid of the Mill’
  • Weber premiere in Vienna
  • Composing the Ninth Symphony
  • The death of Napoleon

Intended Audience

This music course is suitable for those who have previously attended Music in Beethoven’s Time with Robert Gay, 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 playing musical excerpts on CD.


Lecture notes, in the form of a continuous narrative which follows the course content closely, are handed out at each lecture. Recommended books will also be noted at appropriate points and details of recommended CDs are provided at all lectures.


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