at the University of San Francisco

The Fromm Institute For Lifelong Learning


Spring 2019
Faculty Presentations



(click here for more info)



    Mon., Jan 21, 2019

    Mon., Feb 18, 2019



    Winter 2019

    Class Begin 01/07/2019

    Class End 02/28/2019

    Make-up Week  3/4 - 07


    Spring 2019

    Class Begin 04/08/2019

    Class End 05/30/2019

    Make-up Week  6/3 - 06


    Classes meet at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday - Thursday.  The Fromm Institute office is open, Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and alternating Fridays. Please call if you plan to come by the office on Friday.



    Prof. Arnold = Understanding the US Economy



    Prof. O'Sullivan =
    Our Best Presidents

    Prof. Fischer = Tagore & Gandhi : the Great Debate






Back to Handouts


Spring Term, 2018

Professor Jonathan Bailey


This syllabus is a shorter version of that found on-line at the Fromm website:  The online version contains links to the listening and printed reading assignments for each week.  There are articles for study, compositions for listening, and lyrics to accompany the musical examples.



APRIL 11, 2018

Introduction to the Seminar


In Week One of our seminar, we are introduced to Benjamin Britten’s world, noting his early years, the musical influences, and a basic chronology and understanding of the entire Britten Catalogue of works.  We hear examples of the composers and music that he most admired and most hated to give us a ‘sonic picture’ of his world.



APRIL 18, 2018

An Introduction to Britten’s Dramatic Music


In our first week of reading and listening, we focus our attention on one work:  ST. NICOLAS.  The libretto for this work is found under the ‘Reading’ heading along with notes by Jeffrey Thomas.  ‘Listening’ contains the complete work divided into nine movements with brief commentary on each. (The entire work lasts approximately 50 minutes.)  By looking intently at one work, we can explore Britten’s musical language, and experience his concern for story-telling as well as his love for amateur musicians to perform his music.



APRIL 25, 2018

The Britten ~ Pears Connection


This week we explore the personal and musical relationship of Ben and Peter – life-partners and musical collaborators.  We will listen to examples of their concertizing, examples of Pears’ artistry in interpreting Britten’s music, particularly when we delve into the “Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings.” This is a powerful musical statement and highlights Britten’s attention to the details of text and mood in this unusual setting of poems from many cultures.  The reading from Alex Ross’ New Yorker article is good background for our study.  Don’t forget to have the lyrics in front of you as you listen to the “Serenade.”




MAY 2, 2018

Music for Choirs


In our continuing study of different musical forms employed by the composer, we turn to one of his favored areas:  Music for Choirs.  Throughout his life Britten was concerned that his writing be accessible to many different musical skills.  He also found, in choral music, a vehicle for poetic expression.  This week we explore two very different works:  “Hymn to St. Cecilia” with text by W.H. Auden and “Rejoice in the Lamb” with text by Christopher Smart.  Make sure that you have the lyrics in front of you as you experience each of these unique compositions. (Each work lasts fewer than fifteen minutes.)


VIDEO SHOWING of “The Hidden Heart”  10:00 – 11:30 a.m. in the Maraschi Room.

This is a film about the life-story of Benjamin Britten




MAY 9, 2018

Peter Grimes


We now arrive at a turning point in Britten’s life and career –- the overwhelming success of his opera “Peter Grimes” which premiered in 1945.  It is a work that continues to play in houses throughout the world and provides a powerful  introduction to the principal artistic form of his creativity.


VIDEO SHOWING of “Peter Grimes”  9:30 – 12:00 in the Maraschi Room




MAY 16, 2018

Chamber Music


Perhaps the most intimate setting for exploring a composer’s works is in the small ensemble.  In our session we will study the String Quartet #3 and a little-known work, Suite for Harp.




MAY 23, 2018

War Requiem


No work of this composer has had such a stirring effect on the ears of most concert-goers than his War Requiem.  Composed in the early 1960’s for the dedication of bombed out Coventry Cathedral’s new dedication, it has retained its place as perhaps the most important statement about war in the 20th century.


VIDEO SHOWING of “War Requiem”  10:00 – 11:30 in the Maraschi Room




MAY 30, 2018

Conclusions . . .


In our final session, we ask some questions:


           1. What was Britten’s impact on the musical world of his time?

           2. What has surprised you most about this composer?

           3. What is his legacy?  What are the residual effects of his having written so prolifically in the middle

              of the 20th century on the music of today?