Our FREE monthly lecture series dives into the world of music. This series of discussions brings you closer to the music with a different topic each month. Each topic and speaker is chosen to specifically enhance our MasterWorks concert series. The atmosphere is casual and engaging.

Bring your lunch, relax, and enjoy!

Opera or Poetry? Classical Choral Music

Due to Covid-19, we had to cancel the in-person lecture for this topic. Thankfully, Dr. McGuire was able to record his lecture and still share it with us. View the video below!

One of the most fractious debates in Romantic music was about how demonstrative it should be. Should music just be music and give pleasure in and of itself, or should it serve broader ends, relating ideas beyond the notes by helping to emphasize ideas of a picture, emotions, or a story? Dr. McGuire examines Romantic choral and instrumental music by Brahms, Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Verdi, and Wagner, investigating the tension between what music could do and what composers wanted music to achieve.


Charles Edward McGuire is Professor of Musicology at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. His areas of scholarly interest are the music of Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, the British music festival, sight-singing techniques, and the intersection of choral singing and moral reform movements. His publications include Music and Victorian Philanthropy: The Tonic Sol-fa Movement (Cambridge University Press, 2009), Elgar’s Oratorios: The Creation of an Epic Narrative (Ashgate, 2002) and The Historical Dictionary of English Music (Scarecrow, 2011), which he co-authored with Oberlin colleague Professor Steven Plank, as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. McGuire has been a Fulbright Scholar at the Department of Music of the University of York (2012-2013), and a Humanities Writ Large Fellow at Duke University (2015-2016). He is the Principal Investigator of the Musical Festivals Database, and is writing a history of British musical festivals from 1695-1940.

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