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MUS 131 — Beethoven’s Nine Symphonies

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 7 weeks
Date(s): Feb 6—Mar 20
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Feb 19
Unit: 1
Tuition: $365
Instructor(s): Ilias Chrissochoidis
Limit: 40
Status: Open
7:00—8:50 pm
Feb 6—Mar 20
7 weeks
Drop By
Feb 19
1 Unit
Ilias Chrissochoidis
The nine symphonies composed by Ludwig van Beethoven (c. 1770–1827) comprise the most influential body of music in modern times. They brought a distinguished tradition of orchestral music to its peak and became the paradigm of the symphonic genre ever after. Behind their craftsmanship and affective power lies Beethoven’s ability to turn abstract sound and harmonic processes into ecumenical dramas. For the first time in history, music as pure sound could claim the same universality as the monuments of Sophocles, Michelangelo, and Shakespeare. This course will combine a survey of Beethoven’s symphonies with a critical probing of their intellectual power and spiritual depth. We will explore how a four-note motif can generate a movement several minutes long (as in the Fifth Symphony), how Beethoven manipulates the sonata form to create dramatic effects, and the way he incorporates voices in the finale of his Ninth Symphony.

A basic knowledge of this repertory is expected.

Ilias Chrissochoidis, Research Associate, Department of Music, Stanford

Ilias Chrissochoidis is a music historian, composer, and pianist. The recipient of numerous research appointments and fellowships, he has authored dozens of articles on Handel and opera, and, together with Steffen Huck, has introduced cognitive perspectives in opera analysis. He is also the editor of Spyros P. Skouras’ memoirs and has released the music albums Inspiratorio, Ringtones, Hellenotropia, and Eviva!.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.