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Unit of study_

MCGY3630: New Germans: Wagner and Liszt 1848-76

The New German School was a controversial term coined in 1859 to legitimise the self-consciously progressive art of figures such as Wagner and Liszt. This course explores the music and aesthetic theories of these two composers against the backdrop of contemporary debates and reception politics. Their personal relationship will also be scrutinized in detail. Works to be studied include selections from Liszt's symphonic poems and piano works, Wagner's Tristan, Die Meistersinger and Ring tetralogy.

Code MCGY3630
Academic unit Musicology
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge:
It is expected that students will have some knowledge of harmonic and formal practices up to 1850.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. describe the aesthetic program of the New Germans and how it relates to the musico-political environment of the day
  • LO2. recognise key works by Wagner and Liszt and analyse the harmonic and formal structures they employed
  • LO3. show specific mastery of two topics, having delivered a presentation on one, and created a research essay project exploring the other (the latter will constitute a contribution to original knowledge, however modest)
  • LO4. understand why the performance of Wagner’s works remains a sensitive issue today, having explored the relationship between his art and ideas on the one hand with discourses of nationalism and anti-Semitism on the other
  • LO5. engage respectfully with the views of others through discussion and structured debate

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 2 weeks before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.

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