Centre for Continuing Education

Music in the German Lands Course: 1843-1865

Music. Learn, enjoy, appreciate.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses online and in-person. Please check the delivery format of each class before enrolling.

Please note that course materials (excluding prescribed texts) are shared electronically within 48 hours of course commencement. Printing is not available.


This new course is dominated by the radical figure of Richard Wagner, who as Kapellmeister to the Saxon court composes Tannhäuser and Lohengrin before falling foul of the authorities with his involvement in the Dresden Revolt. In exile in Switzerland, Wagner embarks on his ambitious but impractical Ring of the Nibelung project, setting three massive texts to music before suddenly breaking off to compose the even more intense (but comparatively succinct) Tristan und Isolde. The course also follows the mature careers of Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann and virtuoso-turned-composer Franz Liszt, as well as the emerging careers of Johannes Brahms and violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim.

Aims

This course aims to explore the mid-century beginnings of a new musical culture in the German Lands. We observe the steady rise in musical importance of the principal German cities, especially Leipzig with its new conservatorium, and Liszt’s progressive Weimar. This period also marks the beginning of Vienna’s return to musical and cultural eminence, symbolised in the creation of the new Ringstrasse lined with sumptuous public buildings and a splendid, soon-to–be-completed new opera house.

Outcomes

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

  • identify some of the characteristics of the mature musical style of both Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann
  • identify important features of Wagner’s two ‘middle period’ operas, Tannhäuser and Lohengrin, which derive from French Grand Opera, an art form Wagner ostensibly disparaged
  • appreciate the still largely unacknowledged contribution of Franz Liszt to the advancement of serious German music in this period
  • evaluate the impact on the young Johannes Brahms of his intense relationship with both Robert and Clara Schumann
  • understand the complications, both musical and personal, surrounding the premiere of Wagner’s ground-breaking music drama Tristan und Isolde in Munich in 1865.

Content

  • The founding of the great Leipzig Conservatorium of Music
  • The formation of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Wagner as Kapellmeister in Dresden – the premiere of Tannhäuser
  • Mendelssohn’s late works, including the Violin Concerto and oratorio Elijah
  • The revolutions of 1848 and 1849 and their aftermath
  • The foundation of the Bach Society in 1850, the centenary of Bach’s death
  • The premiere of Wagner’s Lohengrin in Weimar conducted by Liszt
  • Wagner, in exile in Switzerland, begins his massive Ring Cycle project
  • Liszt’s new ‘symphonic poems’ and his single-movement piano sonata
  • Schumann’s late works, including the Third and Fourth Symphonies and Scenes from Goethe’s Faust
  • Young Johannes Brahms meets the Schumanns in Düsseldorf
  • Schumann’s attempted suicide, his incarceration in a mental institution and death
  • Wagner and the Wesendoncks in Zürich – Tristan und Isolde composed
  • The reshaping of Vienna – construction of the Ringstrasse and the new Court Opera
  • Ludwig II, the new young King of Bavaria, invites the impecunious Wagner to Munich
  • The premiere of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde in Munich

Intended audience

This course would appeal to a wide variety of music lovers.

Prerequisites

None

Delivery style

Presented as a series of informal, face-to-face lectures, illustrated with musical excerpts played on CD.

Materials

A weekly worksheet with a comprehensive synopsis of material being presented is provided.

Features

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

Music in the German Lands Course: 1843-1865

<p>{block name:"Course Tagline - Music"}</p>

<p>{block name:"Block - COVID 19 updates"}</p>

<p>This new course is dominated by the radical figure of Richard Wagner, who as Kapellmeister to the Saxon

...
Music in the German Lands Course: 1843-1865

<p>{block name:"Course Tagline - Music"}</p>

<p>{block name:"Block - COVID 19 updates"}</p>

<p>This new course is dominated by the radical figure of Richard Wagner, who as Kapellmeister to the Saxon

...
Music in the German Lands Course: 1843-1865

<p>{block name:"Course Tagline - Music"}</p>

<p>{block name:"Block - COVID 19 updates"}</p>

<p>This new course is dominated by the radical figure of Richard Wagner, who as Kapellmeister to the Saxon

...
We acknowledge the tradition of custodianship and law of the Country on which the University of Sydney campuses stand. We pay our respects to those who have cared and continue to care for the Country.