Centre for Continuing Education

Music in Paris Course: 1834-1842

Music. Learn, enjoy, appreciate.

This music appreciation course delves into an in-depth study of classical music in Paris in the nineteenth century. During this new course, Paris consolidates its position as the most important and exciting musical city in Europe, far outstripping the more provincial capitals of Vienna and Berlin.

This course is a continuation of a previous course in 19th Century Parisian music. Participants do not need to have attended Music in Paris: 1821-1836 in order to attend this course.


This course aims to explore a fascinating but often under-appreciated decade in music history, providing a wider understanding of the achievements of French orchestral music and opera of the period.


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

  • recognise and identify the characteristics of French Grand Opera
  • evaluate the influence of the imported Italian musical style on French comic opera
  • identify some of the radical innovations of Berlioz’s symphonic technique
  • recognise the effect of the lively Parisian salon culture on Chopin’s revolutionary style.


This course covers the following topics:

  • Auber and Hérold at the Opéra-Comique
  • Bellini and Donizetti at the Théâtre-Italien
  • Meyerbeer and Halévy at the Paris Opéra
  • the great singers – Cornélie Falcon and Gilbert Duprez
  • Berlioz’s Requiem and 'Symphonie dramatique: Roméo et Juliette'
  • Chopin and George Sand.

Intended audience

Suitable for previous attendees of Music in Beethoven’s Time with Robert Gay, or those with an interest in French music. It is not essential to have completed any previous Music Appreciation courses prior to attending this course.

Delivery style

Presented as a series of informal lectures, illustrated with musical excerpts (played on CD).


A weekly worksheet including a comprehensive synopsis of material being presented will be provided in class.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Free, expert advice
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

What others say.

  • Robert Gay, our lecturer, is outstanding. Whilst ever he is taking courses count me in!!!!
  • The teacher was exceptionally knowledgeable and extremely well prepared. Their teaching is informative and entertaining.
  • Robert is a brilliant teacher. Great erudition, great energy, great engagement. He has enriched my life.