Centre for Continuing Education

Music in Paris Course: 1841-1851

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.

This course continues an in-depth study of classical music in Paris in the nineteenth century that began with the previous two courses. During this new course, Paris continues its reign as the most brilliant and exciting musical city in Europe, though Leipzig, Dresden and Berlin begin to challenge its supremacy.. Participants do not need to have attended Music in Paris: 1821-1836 and Music in Paris: 1834-1842 in order to attend this course.


This course aims to consolidate the findings of the two previous courses by examining yet another fascinating but underrated decade in the history of French music. By employing principles already learnt in the two previous courses, a more complete understanding of the achievements of French orchestral music and opera of the period can be established.


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

  • understand how French Grand Opera mesmerized the young Richard Wagner
  • appreciate the continuing fascination of the Parisian public for the great Italian opera singers
  • continue to trace Berlioz’s development as a master of new forms and orchestral colours
  • draw comparisons between the very different styles of Liszt’s and Chopin’s piano music
  • describe how the French monarchy finally ended, and how the 1848 Revolution impacted on Parisian cultural elites, especially artists and musician.


  • The arrival of Wagner and Verdi in the French capital.
  • Donizetti’s brief monopoly of the three Parisian opera houses.
  • The first great French ballet – Adam’s ‘Giselle’.
  • Auber succeeds Cherubini as Director of the Paris Conservatoire.
  • Berlioz’s ever-evolving mastery of orchestral colour – ‘La Damnation de Faust’.
  • The piano music of Liszt’s middle period and Chopin’s last years.
  • A great new French mezzo-soprano – Pauline Viardot.
  • The 1848 Revolution and the end of the French monarchy.
  • The nephew of Napoleon returns to lead the Second Republic.

Intended audience

Anyone who has an interest in the rich musical culture of France, centring on the vibrant cosmopolitan milieu of the Parisian capital.



Delivery style

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


A weekly worksheet with a synopsis of material to be presented will be distributed.


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

What others say.

  • I absolutely love Robert’s unique courses. Can’t wait to continue the musical journey into the next decade of 'Music in Paris'.
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