Princeton Course Info

"Artistic Lateness and the Music of Beethoven"    
Scott Burnham, PhD, MM ’82
Scheide Professor of Music History Emeritus, Princeton University, and Distinguished Professor of Music at the Graduate Center, City University of New York
Mondays, October 15 - November 19, 7- 8:30 p.m.
Location:  Johnson Education Center, D&R Greenway, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton, NJ

Pre-class socializing will start at 6:30 p.m. (optional but encouraged)

Registration              $395.00

Course Description: 

We will address the fabled late-style music of Beethoven, as well as discuss prominent views of artistic lateness as an aesthetic phenomenon. The primary musical compositions we will cover include the piano sonatas Opp. 101, 106, 109, 110, and 111; the Diabelli Variations for piano, Op. 120; the Ninth Symphony and the Missa Solemnis; and the String Quartets Opp. 95, 127, 130 (including the Grosse Fuge), 131, 132, and 135. Musical issues that arise from this repertoire notably include stylistic contrast to the point of discontinuity, genre mixing (e.g. vocal styling in instrumental music), extremes of affect, the threat of incomprehensibility, and a renewed commitment to  older forms such as fugue and variation.
Visual artists and literary artists with notable late periods will also be considered in an ongoing comparison with the issues that arise in Beethoven’s late music. We will discuss critical takes on lateness and on Beethoven’s late music in particular, by authors such as Edward Said, Theodor Adorno, John Updike, Maynard Solomon, Donald Francis Tovey, Joseph Kerman, Lewis Lockwood, and others.

Full syllabus will be provided following registration.


Course schedule (all classes run from 7-8:30 p.m.):

Week 1- October 15

Week 2- October 22

Week 3- October 29

Week 4- November 5

Week 5- November 12

Week 6- November 19




Scott Burnham, PhD, MM ’82

Scott Burnham, PhD, MM ’82, is Distinguished Professor of Music at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and the Scheide Professor of Music History Emeritus at Princeton University, where he taught from 1989 to 2016.  His best-known book is Beethoven Hero (1995), a study of the values and reception of Beethoven’s heroic-style music.  His most recent book, Mozart’s Grace (2013), explores aspects of beauty in Mozart’s music.  In 2013, Burnham was granted Princeton University’s Howard T. Behrman Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities.  He has also been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Humanities Center.  He taught the beloved Yale Alumni College course, “The Viennese Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven,” in Princeton in 2016, to great acclaim, and now returns to Yale Alumni College.