Classical music appreciation: the orchestral ouverture
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Classical music appreciation: the orchestral ouverture

A journey through the path of this beloved genre
5.0 (5 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
16 students enrolled
Created by Giacomo Mura
Last updated 5/2020
Current price: $27.99 Original price: $39.99 Discount: 30% off
5 hours left at this price!
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This course includes
  • 4 hours on-demand video
  • 1 article
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • What is the orchestral ouverture
  • The birth, development and history of this genre
  • How to listen to an ouverture depending on when it was composed
  • Music appreciation on: Monteverdi, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bizet, Wagner and Prokofiev
  • The course is accessible to anyone

Hello and welcome!

The orchestral ouverture belongs both to the opera and the concert hall; it is one of the most played and beloved genres, and his story covers more than 300 years of history and touches many, many great composers.

Ouvertures are everywhere in classical music and it is really worth investing time getting familiar with this genre and building a solid, in-depth understanding of it!

In this course we are going to learn about its birth, development and transformations through the centuries, discovering together and listening to several unforgettable pieces of music. How can we ever be sated of diving into this art and getting to touch its core?

Join and enjoy!

Who this course is for:
  • All who want to broaden and deepen their knowledge and train their listening of the ouverture and orchestral music in general
Course content
Expand all 25 lectures 04:09:18
+ Introduction
1 lecture 04:16

Hello and welcome!

This introduction will show you what we will go through in this course and a clarification on the terminology used to address the ouverture.

Preview 04:16
+ The birth of the ouverture
2 lectures 21:10

Here we see the very concrete and somewhat trivial reasons which made the invention of the ouverture necessary and when it happened.

The invention of the ouverture and why it was necessary

In this lecture we listen to the first, great ouverture ever written and how it ingeniously absolves its role in a perfect way.

Claudio Monteverdi's "Toccata", the ouverture to "L'Orfeo"
+ Evolution of the ouverture during Classicism
5 lectures 53:16

The first significant changes we have in the ouverture, much later after his birth, when it could not be anymore a simple "theme song".

Mozart and the ouverture

One of the most famous pieces ever written, the ouverture to "Le Nozze di Figaro". We will listen to it and analyze it with fresh ears in order to understand the reasons behind Mozart's choices. In this lecture and the following one we talk about the first part of it.

Preview 11:07
Ouverture of "Le Nozze di Figaro" - part 1/3 (2/2)

The second part of the ouverture is the main body of the piece. Let us see what happens here.

Ouverture of "Le Nozze di Figaro" - part 2/3

I chose to separate the analysis of the final climax from the rest because there is a lot to underline on how Mozart pulls off such a jaw-dropping and exciting ending.

Ouverture of "Le Nozze di Figaro" part 3/3
+ The split of the path: Beethoven's (accidental) impact
4 lectures 43:14

Beethoven is a turning point for many things and many reasons, and the path of the ouverture is among them. Still, in this case it happens in an unexpected way.

The turning point

The "Coriolan" ouverture was one of the first ouvertures by Beethoven which rose to fame after his death. It is a perfect example of Beethoven's style and a good way to introduce him as an author. In this lecture and the following one we take a look at it.

Preview 09:40
The "Coriolan" ouverture - part 2/2

Not the most famous ouverture by Beethoven, "The consacration of the house" is still an unforgettable symphonic page and a perfect example of occasional ouverture.

"The consecration of the house" ouverture
+ The birth of the concerto ouverture with Mendelssohn
6 lectures 01:06:05

Here we talk about the consequences in early Romanticism of Beethoven's unwilling action with this genre: the concert ouverture is officialy born by the hand of Felix Mendelssohn.

Felix Mendelssohn inspired by Beethoven and Shakespeare

The "Sommernachstraum" ouverture is the masterpiece which first is explicitly meant to be played in symphonic concerts. It is an adventure which depicts and tells the Shakespearean comedy incredibly vividly. In this lecture and the following one we will take a look at the first part of it: the exposition.

Preview 13:26
"Sommernachtstraum" ouverture - part 1/3 (2/2)

After the exposition we have the central part, called development: here and in the next lecture we will go through it and live the most dramatic and stormy moments of the composition.

"Sommernachtstraum" ouverture - part 2/3 (1/2)
"Sommernachtstraum" ouverture - part 2/3 (2/2)

A comedy must have an happy ending: this third part features the reprise, which is the repetition of the exposition, and a final breath-taking part which closes the piece while the dream fades away.

"Sommernachtstraum" ouverture - part 3/3
+ The ouverture in late Romanticism
3 lectures 29:17

What happens after the birth of the concert ouverture? In this lecture we take a look at the evolution of both the concert ouverture and the opera ouverture and how they develop trough the XIX century.

Tone poem and potpurri ouverture

The famous ouverture to "Carmen" by Georges Bizet is fully a potpourri ouverture: we listen to it and go trough all the themes which will show up in the opera too.

Ouverture to "Carmen", by Georges Bizet

Since Wagner is the last great composer starting his operas with an ouverture I spend a lecture giving some information about his conception of this genre and its role in how he sees musical theater. We listen to the ouverture to Lohengrin, a good example of wagnerian atmospheric ouverture.

Richard Wagner's view of the ouverture: "Lohengrin"
+ The destiny of the ouverture in the 20th century
3 lectures 30:04

What is the destiny of the ouverture in the XX century?Let us find out!

Death of the opera ouverture, survival of the concert ouverture

As the last piece we work on in this course I chose the "Ouverture on Hebrew themes" by Sergej Prokofiev. It is a typical example of how this genre is seen by composers in the XX century and also of pretty peculiar music.

The "Ouverture on hebrew themes" by Sergej Prokofiev - part 1/2

Thank you for joining me in this journey!

The "Ouverture on hebrew themes" by Sergej Prokofiev - part 2/2