2020 is the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth. He was born during the Age of Enlightenment and into a time of political revolution in America and France, the Era of Napoleon, the rise of humanism, and the beginning of the Romantic period in Western arts and writing. Beethoven was the leading musical revolutionary in Western music and is considered the first of the nineteenth century Romantic composers. He exerted a powerful influence on the music both of his time and after, an influence which still reverberates today.
This course will be a combination of history and music, along with attention to how Haydn, Mozart, Schiller, and Goethe (and other leading figures of the day) helped shape Beethoven’s philosophy. It will feature recordings of performances and analysis of Beethoven’s major compositions, including, symphonies, piano works, his only opera Fidelio (including its political ramifications) and string quartets as well as discussions of the world-changing events during his lifetime and how Beethoven’s music reflected the time period in which he lived.