55 degrees North: Music of Scandinavia and the Baltic

Ref: C2224497

Grieg and Sibelius – certainly; Nielson – perhaps; Arvo Pärt – possibly; but “who else is there?” The answer is “far more than we are perhaps aware of”. This course explores in depth Scandinavian/Baltic music from Baroque times to the present day. We shall delve into both the known and the surprisingly large number of relatively unknown composers from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Baltic States. The range of music available is vast, and the question arises as to why, in England, we are not yet more aware of, and familiar with, this huge musical library . This course will hopefully go someway to righting this wrong, exploring both the orchestral and choral repertoires, linking to influences from e.g. the bleak Scandinavian landcscapes and political backgrounds, where appropriate, Each session will include relevant audio/video examples and ample opportunity for discussion and further research.

Course aim

To introduce ‘classical’ music from the lands of fjords, lakes and Vikings, studying both the known,and the surprisingly many lesser-known composers, from Scandinavia and the Baltic States.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • Beginners will have been introduced to a wide variety of music, hopefully encouraging further exploration. Improvers may well value the opportunities for more detailed studies of selected works which will from time to time occur.

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

  • Provide examples of well-known and perhaps not so well-known pieces of music linked with each of the countries studied.
  • Identify a previously unfamiliar composer, and evaluate his/her importance in the context of Scandinavian/Baltic music.
  • Discuss how Scandinavian landscapes and legends have influenced the music of particular composers from that region.
  • Recognise and discuss the structure of selected symphonic works by Sibelius and Nielsen.
  • Reflect upon and share personal reactions to a piece of music.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member

Download full course outline

55 degrees North: Music of Scandinavia and the Baltic Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing