Week 1: Dramatic Music
Although Mendelssohn never achieved his desire to compose a successful opera, his incidental music to the plays Antigone, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Athalia contain splendid music.
Week 2: Oratorio and Religious Identity
Mendelssohn's family converted from Judaism to Christianity when Felix and his sister Fanny were young. His great oratorios St. Paul and Elijah explore his conflicted feelings over his family's religious identity.
Week 3: Symphonic Landscapes
Among Mendelssohn's most beloved works, the ‘Italian’ and ‘Scottish’ symphonies are affectionate postcards from his European travels.
Week 4: Concert Overtures and Concertos
Mendelssohn's other orchestral works include his descriptive overtures Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage and The Hebrides, as well as his brilliant and popular Piano Concertos and Violin Concerto.
Week 5: Chamber Music
From the youthful Octet to the great string quartets of his maturity, Mendelssohn's chamber music shows his technical and expressive development over the course of his career.
Week 6: Piano Music
The eight books of Songs Without Words were composed over a period of more than a decade and a half, and include some of Mendelssohn's most popular pieces.
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. Some course materials may be available online.