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
2. Mozart and Beethoven
3. Chopin and Liszt
5. Shostakovich and Bartok
III. Music and the Arts
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.
What and who is it -
What does it cost & Where is it -