Expanded descriptions of Fall 2017 courses


Lawrence Archbold: Symphonies from Mozart to Mahler

Symphonies from Mozart to Mahler both introduces the student to one of the great genres of Western art music and introduces and cultivates proficiency in listening skills and the building of a musical terminology and basic music theory concepts, apart from score reading, which this course does not employ.  In other words, the course focuses on the perspective of the listener rather than the performer.  This historical survey posits a “great conversation” among the leading composers of symphonies during the time period 1750 to 1900 in which many significant new musical techniques were introduced, critiqued, expanded upon, and ultimately surpassed (or passed over).  Some of the works will be heard as complete symphonies; most works, however, will be studied through discussion of individual movements.

Composers and works likely to find a place in the course include (but are not limited to) Haydn, “London” Symphony;  Mozart, Symphony No. 40; Beethoven, Symphony No. 5, Symphony No. 9 (“Choral”); Schubert No. 8, “Unfinished:” Berlioz, “Symphonie fantastique;” Brahms, Symphony No. 1; Bruckner, Symphony No. 8; Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 4; Dvorak, “New World Symphony;” Mahler, Symphony No. 8, Symphony No. 9.

Topics and techniques include: sonata form, great and perfect music, tableau form, thematic cyclicism and modal narratives, sonata form themes as gendered discourse, symphonic poems, “resounding into the void,” wave form, music and nationalism (in Russia and the United States), “panromanogermanic” music, and others.

We will try to make use of possibilities for listening outside class with YouTube.