HONORS 135 - Ideas in Honors
Section: 004 Romanticism: Literary Inspiration in the Music of Franz Liszt
Term: FA 2010
Subject: Honors Program (HONORS)
Department: LSA Honors
Course Note:
A guided journey that opens first-year students' eyes to the importance of scholarship and research in an area of the seminar leader's expertise. Subject matter and discussions are confronted from the vantage point “Why does it matter?”.
Credits:
1
Other:
Honors, Minicourse
Class Misc Info:
Meets Sept 13, 20, 27, Oct. 4, 11, 25, Nov. 1, 8. Drop/Add Deadline 09-27-10.
Advisory Prerequisites:
First-year standing in the Honors Program.
Grading:
Mandatory credit/no credit.
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

The romantic era in music history blossomed during the first decades of the 19th century, flourished throughout the first half of that century, and faded shortly thereafter. Spearheaded by such artists as Frederick Chopin, Robert Schumann, and Franz Liszt, romanticism ushered in a new era of music, characterized in part by structural, harmonic, and performance innovations, often drawing on literature for inspiration.

Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was probably the greatest pianist to ever grace the concert platform, and was a prolific and innovative composer. Besides his harmonic innovations and invention of new forms like the tone poem, Liszt wrote a large corpus of work based on programs, or non-musical narratives, and much of his inspiration was drawn from literature. Indeed, appreciation of several of Liszt’s greatest works for the piano are enhanced through an understanding of the texts that inspired them: notably, the B Minor Sonata (1853), inspired by Goethe’s Faust; Après une Lecture de Dante: Fantasia Quasi Sonata (1856), from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy; and the B Minor Ballade (1853), based on the ancient Greek myth of Hero and Leander. These three pieces of music are as beautiful to listen to as they are visually vivid: not only does the listener see the stories depicted in the music as though presented onstage, but the emotional worlds of the characters are palpable.

This course will situate the music of Franz Liszt in the context of romanticism, and explore the literary inspirations of several of that composer’s greatest works. Interpretations will be largely based on those of Claudio Arrau, a student of Liszt’s student Martin Krause. Arrau’s detailed analyses of the Sonata and Ballade are found in Joseph Horowitz’s Conversations with Arrau (1982). No technical knowledge of music will be required. Students will read and analyze excerpts from the literature concerning events, themes, emotions, and character relations, and then learn how Liszt portrays them in his music. Time permitting, other pieces of Liszt to be examined include: the two Legends, Vallée d’Obermann, and the three Petrarch Sonnets. These pieces are based on the legends of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Francis of Paola, the novel “Obermann” by Etienne Pivert de Senancour, and Petrarch’s 47th, 104th, and 123d sonnets, respectively. Class time will be devoted to listening and discussion; short excerpts from relevant texts will be read outside of class.

HONORS 135 - Ideas in Honors
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
27537
Open
1
2LSA Hnrs Y1
-
W 3:00PM - 4:00PM
Note: Regenerative Medicine's Moral Achilles Heel Does not meet first week of classes.
002 (SEM)
P
32429
Closed
0
 
-
Tu 5:00PM - 6:30PM
Note: Rwandan Genocide Does not meet first week of classes.
003 (SEM)
P
27539
Open
4
4LSA Hnrs Y1
-
M 2:00PM - 3:00PM
Note: All's Fair in Love and Sport Does not meet first week of classes.
004 (SEM)
P
27541
Closed
0
 
-
M 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Note: Romanticism Does not meet first week of classes.
005 (SEM)
P
29099
Closed
0
2LSA Hnrs Y1
-
W 5:00PM - 6:00PM
Note: Politically Incorrect Does not meet first week of classes.
006 (SEM)
P
29113
Open
2
2LSA Hnrs Y1
-
Th 4:00PM - 5:00PM
Note: From Throw-Away Fun to Morality Play Does not meet first week of classes.
007 (SEM)
P
30871
Open
1
2LSA Hnrs Y1
-
W 3:00PM - 4:00PM
Note: Thalidomide and Other Case Studies Does not meet first week of classes.
008 (SEM)
P
32431
Closed
0
 
-
Tu 3:00PM - 4:00PM
Note: The Financial Crisis for Dummies Does not meet first week of classes.
009 (SEM)
P
43797
Open
1
2LSA Hnrs Y1
-
M 3:00PM - 4:00PM
Note: The Physics of the Fascinating Does not meet first week of classes.
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