The Catholic University of America

The Romantic Song Cycle

Dr. Andrew H. Weaver

 

This seminar shall be an in-depth examination of the seminal song cycles of the early-nineteenth century, focusing solely on the giants of German Romanticism. The primary works to be studied are Beethoven's An die ferne Geliebte, Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise, and Schumann's Frauenliebe und -Leben and Dichterliebe.

Each song cycle shall be approached from a variety of angles, including textual and musical analysis, historical and cultural context, and musical meaning (in individual songs and in the cycle as a whole). Throughout the course we will also be discussing larger issues that cut across all of the works to be studied, applying the same basic questions to each work; included among these are the issues of coherence and narrative. Equal emphasis shall be placed on our own examinations of the works and on existing scholarship; discussions of our own ideas will be just as important as discussions and critical analyses of studies by other scholars.

Classes shall be conducted primarily as discussion, with frequent student presentations; students will receive weekly reading and listening assignments and will also occasionally write short papers. There will also be a final independent research paper, preferably on a work not covered in our class material. Term papers on works that technically lie outside the scope of the course (such as works from other countries or from the twentieth century) will be permitted, provided the paper deals with issues similar to those covered in class.

 

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