at the University of San Francisco
The Fromm Institute For Lifelong Learning
FROMM INSTITUTE STUDENT ASSOCIATION
(click here for more info)
Thurs., May 17, 2018
Mon., May 28, 2018
Class Begin 04/9/2018
Class End 05/031/2018
Make-up Week 06/04 - 07
Class Begin 09/10/2018
Class End 11/01/2018
Make-up Week 11/5 - 08
Classes meet at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday - Thursday. The Fromm Institute office is open, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
SPRING CLOSED CLASSES
"Music of Britten"
"Writing for Self"
Back to Handouts
BENJAMIN BRITTEN SEMINAR
Spring Term, 2018
Professor Jonathan Bailey
This syllabus is a shorter version of that found on-line at the Fromm website: http://fromm.usfca.edu/course-materials.html. 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
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
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
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?
The Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning - University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton St - San Francisco, CA 94117-1080