Euterpe Disrobed



Of all the arts, classical music takes a peculiar position. In some ways it is omnipresent: we hear snatches of it on many occasions, and only few could claim to have avoided hearing any at all. At the same time, however, compared to literature or theatre, it is a form that many people feel very remote from, not knowing what kind of rules apply to it, what it is all about, whether it is perhaps tainted by snobbery. Thanks to education as well as to films and television, many great works of literature are to some degree familiar to most of us. The same familiarity is much less common with classical music, for many reasons. Perhaps its international nature is a factor, or its abstraction, or its associations with social habits of the past. But most common is the perception that classical music requires knowledge to be enjoyed, a knowledge that not many people have.

These courses aim to impart some of that knowledge through which classical music can be enjoyed more fully, and also to demonstrate the incredible variety of music that exists, how exciting and fascinating it can be, and how it can enrich the life of anyone who delves into it. In a time that seems to strongly value health and fitness of the body, the health and fitness of the heart, soul and mind can easily be overlooked. As well as explaining salient features, listening to recordings and discussing the more subjective sides of music, the sessions will draw on many other genres to clarify and illustrate matters such as other arts, philosophy, history and psychology. This is your chance to give some time to something beautiful which will reward you for a lifetime.

The courses aim to adapt to your particular situation, knowledge and interest. They are limited to five sessions but can of course be extended if desired. It is hoped that courses can on occasions tie in with concerts in the local area, as live experience can never be replaced by recordings! Sessions can be paced to suit individual convenience and working hours, and can be shared between couples or small groups.

The courses can be tailored to suit individual interests. Below are four standard courses, each of which can be adapted for novices or seasoned listeners.


Single sessions are also welcome to cover specific areas. If you play an instrument, you may want to know more about the pieces you are playing and where they come from. If you just really like Rachmaninov, and want to know more about him and what else he wrote besides the Concerti and the Paganini Rhapsody—this is where you can find out.


I. The Matter of Music
   1. Harmony and the Cycle of Tonality
   2. Symphonies, Sonatas and Suites – Forms and Structures in Music
   3. Music History and Styles
   4. The Beauty of Notation
   5. Music and the World Around Us

II. Some Great Composers
   1. Bach
   2. Mozart and Beethoven
   3. Chopin and Liszt
   4. Wagner
   5. Shostakovich and Bartok

III. Music and the Arts
   1. Song
   2. Opera
   3. Tone Poetry
   4. Painting in Music
   5. Music and Philosophy

IV. Nasty Modern Plink Plonk
   1. Why? Why listen to it?
   2. Why Schönberg?
   3. Stravinsky, Bartok and Messiaen
   4. Stockhausen, Boulez and Xenakis
   5. Today and Tomorrow

The courses are given by concert pianist Béla Hartmann, who has given recitals and concerto performances internationally as well as published on musical and artistic matters. More information can be found here.



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