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Music Appreciation for All Ages

Great Courses: The Symphony

From its humble beginnings in the 17th-century Italian opera overture and the Baroque ripieno concerto, the symphony has evolved into one of the longest lived, and perhaps the most expressively inclusive, genres of instrumental music. Along the way, it has embraced nearly every trend to be found in Western concert music.

Your tour of the symphony includes

  • an examination of how the simultaneous development of the orchestra and the opera were crucial to the birth of the symphony as a genre;
  • a look at the earliest true symphonies that were exponents of the galant style that emerged in the period between the High Baroque and Viennese Classicism;
  • an exploration of Haydn and Mozart, the titans of the Classical age;
  • the sublime and iconoclastic Beethoven and his Fifth Symphony;
  • a study of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, which combined the extreme emotions and drama of the opera house with an explicit, intimately autobiographical narrative; and
  • national developments in France, Russia, Vienna, Bohemia, Scandinavia, America, and Great Britain.

This program is led by Joan Jamison, MME. Share Joan’s enthusiasm for great music and discover a different artist or genre of music each month. A short DVD will provide information and background. Major works will be presented and discussed.

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