Join us as we explore the lives and works of three of the most famous composers of the late eighteenth centuries

Designed as a sequel to ‘Men and Women in History: Musicians and Composers’, this course sets three famous composers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in the context of their time. Mozart is considered in terms of marketing strategies of his day; Beethoven is discussed with regard to performers and performance practices; and Schubert is situated in early 1800s Vienna.

Course outline

Session 1: Marketing Mozart: this lecture, discussion, and slide show considers how Mozart’s music was marketed in his day. The emphasis is on early editions of his works with decorative title pages. We explore how publishers of the time capitalised on Mozart’s name, and helped with the development of various Mozart myths; and how Mozart, in turn, benefitted from contemporary developments in print culture.

Session 2: Performing Beethoven: we look at the performers in Beethoven’s circle, the ways they helped to shape his music, and the ways in which he pushed new limits in performance. There is a focus on historical performance practices ca. 1800: we consider how these differ from practices today. Listening examples range over orchestral and chamber music.

Session 3: Situating Schubert: Schubert and Beethoven lived almost contemporaneously in Vienna, and composed in similar genres; yet their careers were almost completely separate. We explore musical Vienna as Schubert knew and shaped it, comparing it to Beethoven’s Vienna and considering how his experiences affected his work, and the reception of his music.


Learning outcomes

On completion of the course participants will be able to demonstrate an understanding of specific works, composers, and technological and cultural phenomena explored in the course

They will be able to identify various ways in which composers ca. 1800 can be contextualized and related to cultural changes, socio-politics and specifically musical developments.

Course participants will have an enriched understanding of music history ca. 1800, and will be able to utilise the listening and critical skills developed in this course in the further study and appreciation of music in context.

Who should attend?

This course is designed for those with a love of music and who are looking for a course that explores the wider cultural context for music written in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

About the presenter

Nancy November is a senior lecturer in musicology at The University of Auckland.  Her research and teaching interests centre on music around 1800. She has published on such topics as Haydn and musical melancholy and the intersection of music and art in the nineteenth century. She recently completed a monograph entitled Beethoven’s Theatrical Quartets:  Opp. 59, 74, and 95 (Cambridge University Press, 2013). Her current research project, funded by a Marsden Grant from the NZ Royal Society, is entitled Cultivating Chamber Music in Beethoven’s Vienna.