Syllabus: Musical Rivalries

Mondays, 3–5 PM

Course themes:

  • What do people get worked up about? Why?
  • Conservative vs. progressive
  • Virtuosity vs. expressivity

Week 1: January 14 – Monteverdi vs. Artusi (Venice, 1600–1605)

Palestrina, Missa Papae Marcelli
Palestrina, Madrigali
Monteverdi, Cruda Amarilli
Monteverdi, Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610)

NB: No class January 21

Week 2: January 28 – Handel vs. Scarlatti (Rome, 1709)

Scarlatti, Sonatas K. 87, 119, 120, 141, 380
Handel, Organ Concerto Op. 4/4
Handel, Fugue HWV 611

Week 3: February 4 – Bach vs. Marchand (Dresden, 1717)

NB: This class meeting will take place in Lindsay Chapel at First Church Congregational, Cambridge. The church is located at 11 Garden Street; the entrance to the Chapel is on Mason St.

As you listen to these pieces, consider that Bach greatly admired the music of both Marchand and Couperin.  How are Bach’s works for harpsichord and organ both modeled on pieces from the French keyboard school?  How do they expand beyond their models?

Marchand, Premier livre de clavecin (1699)
Bach, French Suite No. 1
Bach, Organ Works
Marchard, Premier livre d’orgue (c. 1710)
Couperin, Second ordre de pièces (1713)

Week 4: February 11 – Mozart vs. Clementi (Vienna, 1781)

Clementi, Piano Sonata in B minor, Op. 40/2
Mozart, Piano Sonata in A minor, K. 310

NB: No class February 18

Week 5: February 25 – Liszt vs. Chopin (Paris, 1830s)

Chopin, Concert Etude Op. 25 no. 12 “Ocean”
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 17 no. 4
Chopin, Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. posth.
Liszt, Concert Etude No. 3 “Un Sospiro”
Liszt, Consolation No. 3
Liszt, Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6

Week 6: March 4 – Wagner vs. Brahms (Leipzig vs. Weimar, 1850–1895)

Some thoughts on the “Romantic”

The Song

Brahms, Abenddämmerung, Op. 49/5
Wagner, Träume, WWV 91/5

Pure Instrumental Music (?)

Brahms, Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80
Wagner, Overture to die Meistersinger, WWV 96

Narrative/Dramatic Music (?)

Brahms, Symphony No. 4 in E minor, fourth movement
Wagner, Tristan and Isolde, finale of act 3