Beethoven's Piano Sonatas : The Great Courses: Fine Arts & Music

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Robert Greenberg
  • Series: The Great Courses: Fine Arts & Music
  • 18 hrs and 23 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

A revolutionary man living in a revolutionary time, Beethoven used the piano as his personal musical laboratory. The piano sonata became, more than any other genre of music, a place where he could experiment with harmony, motivic development, the contextual use of form, and, most important, his developing view of music as a self-expressive art. Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas include some of his most popular works as well as some of his most experimental. More than any other of his amazing works, Beethoven's piano sonatas are his personal testament, expressed in his own voice.
These 24 marvelous lectures touch on every one of these fascinating pieces, approaching them chronologically, from the terse and powerful first sonata of 1795 to the revolutionary Hammerklavier Sonata of 1818 and the radical last three sonatas of 1820-1822.
The sonatas are not simply compositions for the piano but are about the developing technology of the piano itself, an evolving instrument that Beethoven pushed to its limits and then beyond, ultimately writing music for an idealized piano that didn't come into existence until 40 years after his death.
Because Beethoven died 50 years before the invention of sound recording, we will never hear his voice or the sound of his playing. Instead, Professor Greenberg plays you hundreds of excerpts of Maestro Claude Frank's recordings over the span of the course. Truly, Beethoven's piano music is his voice, emerging from his mind through his fingers to our ears and hearts.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Amazing per ALWAYS

I cannot recommend Robert Greenberg enough. If you have even the slightest interest in music - even if it's just a general sense of appreciation and not for the topic of his/said lecture series you're considering, you'll enjoy this scholar's personality, specialized perspectives, ability to tie his broader knowledge base to the topic, contemporary references both for us and for the subjects' time periods, energy, personal insight as an academic and a composer (overlap is significant within his course subjects with university and state posts full of political intrigue and power politics as well as an artist's perspective [as we know it or evidence suggests] paired with his own experiences and so forth) and his sheer enthusiasm for the topics he teaches. If you don't like this guy's courses ya' might be a stick in the mud (or seriously just NOT into the topics or history ... I suppose it can happen! Ha.). Check him out.
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- Daniel Hauff

Entertaining and educational.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Some of this was over my non-musical head, but the delivery was very entertaining and I am inspired to learn more.


Have you listened to any of Professor Robert Greenberg’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Greenberg is very good.


Any additional comments?

This course would have been better with the written materials. However, I got by without them and for one credit, it's a heck of a deal.

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- J. Rector "jfrguru"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses