Music Appreciation: Day School - Russian Music in the 20th Century

Ref: C3741758

The course will cover a wide range of musical styles that reflect the diversity of the political and cultural mores of a turbulent century, from the opulent ballets of Stravinsky, and continuing through the dynamism that reflected initial optimism after the 1917 Revolution. The music of Shostakovich and Prokofiev accompanies the period of great uncertainty that resulted from Stalin`s iron control of the Arts, and will end with an assessment of how contemporary composers at coming to terms with the turbulent past and creating a new aesthetic.

Course aim

We will be surveying Russian Music from the start of the 20th century to the present day, taking in the Diaghilev years, the effects of the Soviet era and what has followed its demise.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • Learners with an interest in music and the general cultural history of the 20th century will find a wealth of stimulating material on offer during this Studyday.

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

  • Explain how the events that transformed Russia during the 20th Century (and during more recent times) have affected Russian music.
  • Relate how the music of composers including Stravinsky, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev and Shostakovich responded to these changing circumstances.
  • Place specific pieces (e.g. "The Rite of Spring", Prokofiev`s "Alexander Nevsky" and Shostakovich`s "Leningrad" Symphony) in relation to their musical and cultural contexts.

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
  • There will be many musical examples to listen to, and DVDs will also be used in the presentations. Learners` own encounters with the music will be welcomed in discussion.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • During the Studyday there will be opportunities for Learners to contribute their own views and experiences regarding the music we will be listening to.

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
  • Learners will find that the Studyday will provide them with new insights into the way in which the lives of the named composers and their music relate to prevailing political and cultural mores, by, for example, attending concerts of Russian music.

Download full Course information sheet

Music Appreciation: Day School - Russian Music in the 20th Century


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  • 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
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