Great Masters: Beethoven - His Life and Music : The Great Courses: Fine Arts & Music

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Robert Greenberg
  • Series: The Great Courses: Fine Arts & Music
  • 6 hrs and 5 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Have you ever wondered how the lives of great composers - especially when set against the social, political, and cultural context of their world - influenced their music?
After listening to this perceptive series of eight lectures on the life and music of Ludwig van Beethoven, you will likely find that you hear his work in an entirely different way, with your insight informed by new knowledge of how Beethoven was able to create masterpieces from the crises of his life.
You'll learn about the years of progressive hearing loss - ultimately to produce total deafness - and the understandable agony and rage such a fate would bring upon a composer. About his deep depression over the end of his relationship with the woman he calls his Immortal Beloved. About his pathological hatred of authority, his persecution complex, even delusional behaviors.
But you'll also learn how each of these crises, and many others, served to drive Beethoven inward, to reinvent himself and redeem his suffering through art, creating disruptive works of profound passion and beauty that reinvented the nature of musical expression in the Western world.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The strangest rabbit hole yet!

What did you love best about Great Masters: Beethoven - His Life and Music?

I have been journeying with Dr. G for several months now. Whenever I feel at a loss, I grab a supplemental lecture and jump down the rabbit hole. So I have learned about the lives of Bach and Mozart, and about the concerto and look forward to learning about the symphony—while using “How to Listen to and Understand Great Music” as my foundation. I just got back from the life of Beethoven—amazing music, amazing but wild gent—not at all what I expected--his life was more difficult, more sad. But I am stunned by how he changed the course of music despite the struggles of his own life. I will listen to his music with a different ear.


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- JaneN

Comprehensive and entertaining

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

This audiobook covers Beethoven thoroughly and with humorous asides that are interesting.


What did you like best about this story?

I really like the inclusion of first hand materials such as excerpts from letters and legal documents that give Beethoven and his contemporaries voice in the lectures.


What does Professor Robert Greenberg bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Professor Greenberg is spectacular at using voice and tone to express emotion. This further brings to life the readings of first hand sources in a way I wouldn't necessarily experience by simply reading the material myself.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I found myself laughing at several points in the lecture due to the turn of phrase or exuberant interjection of emotion in the lecture. i also found that the professor was as good at expressing the sad portions of the lectures as well, such as Beethoven's frustration over his hearing loss.


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- Carla Littleton

Book Details

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