I thought a brief, but by no means complete, outline of the topics covered in the three years we've been doing this might be interesting:
Part 1: Absolute Music as Philosophy and Religion. Economics in music ca. 1800
Part 2: The Enlightenment and Classical Greece. Orpheus and his “Eternal Recurrence”, Waldstein's “Mozart's spirit from the hands of Haydn.” Wagner's program for Op.131 and our first taste of Faust and Goethe.
Part 3: Fame and fortune in the salons of Vienna, the 1790's piano duels or “battle of the bands”. Beethoven contra Napoleon. The Heiligenstadt testament and the patterns of death and rebirth in Beethoven's “Heroic Style”. The “Grosse Fuge” is it the seed of 20th century music?
Part 4: Beethoven on the comics page: Peanuts. Music for boys and girls: is music Gender coded? Beethoven's love life and mystery of The Immortal Beloved.
Part 5: Mann's “Faustus” and Strauss' “Metamorphosen” - reactions to the catastrophic failure of the Enlightenment and “Bildung”, Clockwork Orange and the “Ode to Sorrow”, Does high culture civilize? Is Beethoven to blame?
Part 6: What other composers have to say about Beethoven. Muss es Sein? Beethoven's death, was that clap of thunder the “Divine Spark of Heaven”?