Music Appreciation

Julian Williamson
Victoria Hall
Wednesdays 10.30am - 12.30pm

This course is for anyone who enjoys music and would like to understand more about its development, the composers and their social context.

Classes are in the Victoria Hall with its excellent sound system. The lectures will be accompanied throughout by audio excerpts from key works.

Autumn Term: Henry Purcell – A beacon of light for British Music
This course will investigate the life and times of this great composer and compare his work with that of his contemporaries and show how he shone a bright light on the music of this nation, while those around him could only occupy the shadows.

Spring Term: The wonderful world of Song - a brief history of Lieder
We will look at the amazing variety of music produced in this medium, Renaissance times to the present day. We will delve into the work of the many composers who have produced songs – some of which have become favourites the world over – from Monteverdi through to Shostakovich and Britten.

Summer Term: Nicolo Paganini Violinist extraordinary
There is no doubt that Paganini was one of the most extraordinary characters in the history of music. Not only was he probably the greatest violinist the world has ever seen – his almost unplayable feats of technique were akin to tight-rope acts in a circus – but he was much more than that. Not many people know that he had great skill as a guitarist, and there are many aspects of his life which are still enthralling to us today. We will follow all sides of his work and character to build a complete picture of this fascinating man.

15 September - 08 December 2021 (Half term Wednesday 27 October)
Non-Members: £163 (12 weeks)
Members: £132 (12 weeks)
Concessions: £10 (contact the office for details)

No courses currently.

Spring Term

The Great British Resurgence

British music began to feel wind in its sails at the turn of the twentieth century. Two great works of Elgar showed the world that this was not ‘The land without music’. A succession of composers would make this possible, with the most famous (apart from Elgar) Vaughan Williams, Walton, Britten, and Tippett, but many others contributed to this renaissance, among them Bax, Holst, Delius, Finzi, Moeran, Bliss, Coleridge Taylor, and Havergal Brian. We will follow this renaissance and discover how the work of many brilliant musicians helped lift British music out of the gutter in which it had existed since the time of Purcell.

Summer Term

A Brief History of conducting

Conducting is an art which only emerged comparatively recently as part of music history. As music became more and more complex during the 19th Century it became vital to have someone in front to control the twists and turns of Wagner’s operas, Mahler’s symphonies etc. Hans Von Bülow was one of the first of these, followed by a whole string of famous names, including Bruno Walter, Henry Wood, Otto Klemperer, Arturo Toscanini, Herbert von Karajan, and Colin Davis. We will look at some of these and investigate their influence on the history of music.