Beauty and balance, disorder and intimacy: music in Vienna 1784-1824


I’ve been invited to give a guest talk on Viennese music within the context of an art history course run by the excellent Sian Walters.  Here’s details of the course, and this is a run down of what I’ll be covering:


Mozart:  String Quartet No. 17 in B flat K.458 “the Hunt” (1784)

Beethoven: Symphony no. 3, “Eroica” (1804)

Schubert: Moment musical no 6 in A flat D.780 (1824)


In this music-centred session, guest speaker Sandy Burnett examines Viennese music at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and assesses the popularity of this “Classical” era of classical music which is so celebrated right up to this day? In doing so, he co-opts three masterful works, each written twenty years apart. First comes a stunning example of writing for string quartet, the most highly prized musical medium in the eyes of Viennese cognoscenti, courtesy of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Then a product of the limitless imagination of Ludwig van Beethoven, who applied Classical forms and techniques to his own musical and extra-musical concerns in works such as the Eroica symphony, originally written with Napoleon Bonaparte in mind.  And finally to Franz Schubert, whose music looked inward rather than out:  an approach which chimed perfectly with the Biedermeier mentality of post-1815 Vienna.