Week 1: Piano music
The first decade of Schumann's composing career was dedicated to music for his own instrument, the piano. His most popular works from this period include Papillons, Carnaval and the Fantasie in C Major.
Week 2: 1840, The Year of Song
The year of Schumann's long-delayed marriage to Clara Wieck witnessed a remarkable outpouring of songs for voice and piano, including the magnificent cycles Frauenliebe und -leben and Dichterliebe.
Week 3: Symphonies
Schumann's four symphonies demonstrate a vivid and poetic orchestral imagination, and rank among the greatest works in this genre between Beethoven and Brahms.
Week 4: Concertos and overtures
The Piano Concerto in A Minor and Cello Concerto in A Minor are beloved by soloists over the world for their lyricism and virtuosity. We will explore these in detail, along with some of Schumann's lesser-known shorter works for orchestra.
Week 5: Chamber music
Schumann's three string quartets, Piano Quintet and Piano Quartet are masterworks of the chamber music literature that deserve to be better known.
Week 6: Choral and dramatic music
Schumann's most ambitious large-scale works include the oratorio Das Paradies und die Peri, the opera Genoveva and the Szenen aus Goethes Faust. We will consider the importance of these works to the composer's output and the reasons for their unjust neglect.
For certificate students only:
Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay, which you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”
Textbooks and learning materials
Reading material (if applicable) will be available in class.