UCC ACE Short courses

A Musical Journey: An Introduction to Classical Music from Schubert to Mahler COURSE CLOSED

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    A Musical Journey: An Introduction to Classical Music from Schubert to Mahler COURSE CLOSED

  • Code


  • College

    Adult Continuing Education

  • Duration

    Eight weeks, Tuesdays 7-9pm, from 28 January to 24 March

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    Cert of Attendance

  • Fees

    €200 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    Students must be minimum eighteen years at course commencement See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Friday 17 January 2020

  • Venue

    Western Gateway Building, Room G16, UCC

  • Start Date

    Tuesday 28 January 2020

Course Outline

This course will take students on an entertaining and instructive musical journey from the Vienna of Schubert to the Vienna of Mahler. The great symphonic tradition is illustrated by the works of composers such as Schubert, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Bruckner and Mahler; the rise of the virtuosi is considered in the music of Chopin and Liszt; the operatic rivalry of Verdi and Wagner is revealed through their respective masterpieces while music generated by nationalistic fervour is considered in the works of Dvořák and Grieg. These and many other composers will feature throughout the course while each lecture highlights the cultural context by reference to the art, literature, history, science, etc. of the time. This course is ideal for people who want to know more about classical music. The course will consist of eight lectures. The student will gain an overview of classical music in the nineteenth century and its cultural background. He/she will come to appreciate (and be entertained by) key works by some of music’s greatest composers.

1. From A Winter Journey to a Witches’ Sabbath: Schubert and Berlioz.
Schubert who died in Vienna in 1828, just a year after Beethoven, is one of the first great romantic composers, famed for his songs, chamber music and symphonies. In complete contrast, Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique (1830) heralded Berlioz as a self-proclaimed heir of Beethoven, taking romanticism in new directions.

2. From the Hamburg Docks to Vienna: The Life and Times of Johannes Brahms.
Brahms’ musical life began in the seedy bars and bordellos of the Hamburg docks and ended in elegant Vienna. His great symphonies and concertos perpetuate the great classical tradition while his turbulent relationship with Robert and Clara Schumann reveals two key characters of the time. The musical wars between Brahms and the “New German School” of Liszt and Wagner cast a light on the different directions that music was taking at this time.

3. The Rise of the Virtuoso: Paganini, Field, Chopin and Liszt.
The 19th century was the great age of the composer-virtuoso. The exploits of Paganini the violin virtuoso led him to be accused of being in league with the devil while the piano music of Field, Chopin and Liszt dazzled and enchanted audiences. Meanwhile the "long 19th century", from 1789 to 1914 saw drastic social, political and economic changes initiated by the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.

4. From Bohemia to the New World: Dvořák, Grieg and the Rise of Nationalism.
A characteristic feature of late 19th century music is its nationalistic fervour, as exemplified by such composers as Dvořák, Grieg and Smetena. Dvořák’s music in particular, is grounded in his native Bohemia, combining the symphonic tradition with folk influences, as seen in his Slavonic Dances, Violin and Cello Concertos, and symphonies.

5. The World of Opera: Verdi and Wagner.
Wagner revolutionised opera in the second half of the century, from The Flying Dutchman to Tristan and Isolde and the four operas of the Ring of the Nibelung. In compete contrast, Verdi, the last great Italian composer of the 19th century, wrote pieces in a less revolutionary style which allied spectacular show and subtle emotions. Aida, La Traviata, Falstaff, etc. are full of memorable music while the searing Requiem has often been called Verdi’s ‘greatest opera’.

6. Tchaikovsky, Russia and ‘The Five’.
Tchaikovsky’s symphonies, concertos and ballet music (The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, etc.) are famed for their charged emotional content and romanticism. He had a mixed relationship with The Five - composers of the contemporary nationalist movement (Balakirev, Cui, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin), who also shaped a new Russian music. The golden age of Russian literature (Gogol, Tolstoy, Chekov, Dostoyevsky, etc.) parallels these new directions in Russian music.

7. La Belle Époque and Impressionism.
French composers in particular during the late 19th century had a major impact on European music, moving it from romanticism toward impressionism and modernism. Bizet’s Carmen, Saint-Saëns’ 3rd Symphony, Massenet’s Manon lead on to more modern, experimental composers such as Debussy, Satie and Ravel. The glorious paintings of the Impressionists form a colourful background to the music.

8. Romantic Twilight: The Symphonies of Bruckner and Mahler.
Bruckner’s symphonies evoke great Alpine scenery in their scale and visionary power, reflecting Wagner’s influence and Bruckner’s fervent belief in a deity while Mahler’s turbulent symphonies bring the form into the 20th century, dramatising a totally new symphonic world. Mahler’s Vienna is a ferment of experimentation in the arts, architecture and philosophy.

Course Practicalities

Lectures will be of two hour duration and a bibliography/discography will be given each week to guide students. 


Short courses are non-assessed

Who Teaches on this Course?

Anthony Hartnett holds a master’s degree in English literature and has taught English in many parts of the world including the UK, Ireland, the USA, Spain, Luxembourg, Belgium, Bahrain, China and Mexico. He has also taught Geography and History and has a special interest in teaching across the disciplines - linking such subjects as art, music, literature, history and science.

Why Choose This Course

The course gives students a rare opportunity to appreciate some of the most famous works in classical music of the nineteenth century in the broader context of the art, literature, history and science of the period. It is a special opportunity for those who are beginners to ‘Classical’ music.



Fees and Costs

The fee for this course is €200.

How Do I Apply

The closing date for applications is Friday 17 January 2020. Fees are listed in each course description. Students register and pay fees before course commencement as follows:

1. Register and pay online by clicking the Apply Now button below. Course commencement is subject to sufficient enrolment. In the event of a course not commencing applicants will be informed and their fees will be returned.

2. Payment may also be made by credit or debit card, cheque, postal order or bank draft made payable to UCC and these should be returned together with a completed application form to Short Courses, Adult Continuing Education, The Laurels, Western Road. Application forms are available from the office or they may be downloaded from the link below.

3. Students may also hand in completed application forms to the office at ACE between 9:15am and 5pm each day prior to the closing date. We regret we are unable to accept cash.




Year 1 Modules

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact