Branch Event: High Art and Low Life: Musical Diversity in 18th Century London

Ref: C3747157

Eighteenth-century London witnessed many profound musical and social changes. Beginning with the last works of Purcell, we will trace the century’s astonishing shifts of musical opinion as far as Haydn’s last symphonies, written in London in 1795. From around 1710, the next four decades were dominated by Handel, renowned for his operas and oratorios. Then came the famous Bach–Abel concerts, noted for introducing the very latest symphonies. Finally, in the 1790s, Europe’s most celebrated composer, Joseph Haydn, produced a string of undisputed masterpieces that directly appealed to the tastes of London’s musical connoisseurs. We will also examine the social context in which all this music-making took place. For example, audience riots were frequent and diplomatic relations with continental Europe were often extremely frosty

Course aim

To explore the exciting and highly entertaining world of music-making in eighteenth-century London, and to examine its often racy significance within the cultural melting pot of what was then Europe’s most cosmopolitan city.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Appreciate the pace of musical change in eighteenth-century London
  • Recognise some of the major musical works that characterise this period in history
  • Comment confidently on the convergence of high art and low life in London’s theatres
  • Understand the role that aristocratic patronage played in introducing new music to everyone

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

No preparatory work is necessary and nothing needs to be brought, but students might find the following books to be of interest: 1. London in the Eighteenth Century, A Great and Monstrous Thing: Jerry White, Vintage, 2013 2. English Society in the 18th Century: Roy Porter, Penguin, 1991

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Branch Event: High Art and Low Life: Musical Diversity in 18th Century London


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