Elizabeth Handley, musicologist

Beethoven was a path-breaking innovator in Western musical history. This course will show how this child of revolution wrested music from the restrained milieu of eighteenth-century classicism and drove it into the passionate turbulence of nineteenth-century romanticism. Born in Bonn 250 years ago, Beethoven settled in Vienna, then the musical capital of Europe, where he studied with Mozart and Haydn. He gained a reputation as a virtuoso pianist and brilliant composer. Combining biographical detail with musical illustrations, this course will demonstrate how Beethoven transcended anything previously achieved in originality and construction, and why he remains at the summit of musical inspiration and popularity.



1. Historical background and Beethoven’s musical fingerprints

2. Ancestry, piano playing and the scourge of deafness: the first creative period

3. Popularity and the mysterious ‘Immortal Beloved’: the second creative period

4. Struggles and illness: the final period

5. Legacy: innovations, contributions and significance of a master mind


Recommended reading

The Illustrated Lives of the Great Composers Series. 2001: Beethoven: Sydney, NSW: Ates D’Arcy-Orga

Shedlock, J.S. (translator), Eaglefield-Hull, A. (editor) no date. Beethoven’s Letters: New York, USA: Dent & Sons, J.M. , Dutton, E.P.& Co.



Date: 20–24 January
Time: 9.15 am
COURSE FEES: Full R590.00 Staff & Students R295.00
Venue: LT1 Kramer Law Building UCT