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Our course examines the musical developments of the Viennese Classical Period. Over the course of roughly seventy-five years (ca. 1750-1825), Europe’s musical landscape is transformed by a reordering of musical conventions. The symphony and the string quartet are newly invented, and the venerable genres of opera, oratorio and concerto continue to be cultivated although in a new language. Baroque certitude has yielded to Classical irony and ambiguity.
As focal points of our study we will develop biographies of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven with emphasis on family background, training and influences, major positions and representative works. In the case of each, we will do surveys of appropriate genres, e.g. Haydn string quartets, Mozart operas, and Beethoven symphonies. All subjects will be accompanied by relevant musical examples.
Professor Emeritus of Music James Griesheimer earned his doctorate from Indiana University and was a Fulbright scholar to Munich, (1973-75) in musicology. James came to Luther after teaching a few years at Middlebury College in Vermont. At Luther, Griesheimer mostly taught music history courses, and has also done a lot of work in radio, innumerable music camps, retreats, workshops, and public talks on musical topics. By all accounts, he is a fantastic lecturer, and peppers even casual conversation with historical gems. Griesheimer has a talent for animating his material and getting students excited about it too. Griesheimer’s speaking skills are also put to good use during his sermons. Ordained as an Episcopal priest in 2010, he serves parishes in Decorah, Charles City, Waverly and Cedar Falls, Iowa. Griesheimer is president of Symra, the Decorah Norwegian Literary Society, and has also been a private pilot (Cessna 150 and 172) since 1967.