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Publisher's Summary

In his 16 quartets for two violins, viola, and cello, Beethoven created a Mount Everest for string players and some of the most sublime, unforgettable music ever written. In this musically rich 24-lecture series, Professor Greenberg guides you in a deep encounter with these majestic works of art, offering you the rare opportunity to grasp the musical riches and spiritual greatness of the quartets in a clear and accessible way.
You'll uncover the musical underpinnings of the luminous beauty, emotional depth, and dramatic scope that make these quartets legendary; examine the inner workings of one of history's most innovative minds; learn the "ritual template" of the Classical string quartet; and probe the seminal innovations of Haydn and Mozart within the template, as they set the stage for the explosive arrival of Beethoven.
The heart of this series is a movement-by-movement exploration of the individual Beethoven quartets, revealing the arc of the composer's fierce independence and imagination as he brings to the string quartet an expressive, formal, and narrative range undreamed of by earlier musicians. You'll delve deeply into the musical innovations that underlie Beethoven's creativity in these works, including "motivic" development, originality, and contextual use of form.
Each of these lectures is a rare and life-enriching opportunity to know the scope of Beethoven's genius, his most unforgettable music, and the profound humanity and beauty that live through them.
©2009 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2009 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Sean on 05-15-15

Another excellent series

Professor Greenberg once again guides you through a difficult subject with sharp insights and great wit.

Like his symphonies, Beethoven's string quartets span his entire career and offer great diversity in terms of composition and expression. Having an authority like Dr Greenberg walk you through them and provide context makes them that much more enjoyable.

BONUS: The Alexander String Quartets' recording is available for free in Amazon Prime Music.

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful


By David on 08-17-17

Detailed; semi-technical; historical context

Greenberg sprinkles his usual silly jokes throughout, and of course follows the constricting Great Courses format with its fake applause, etc., but *unlike* other Greenberg courses this one is supported by excellent performances and sound reproduction -- and there is a lot of music.

(From the accompanying PDF download:
All of the musical examples from the Beethoven and Mozart string quartets incorporated in this lecture series are performed by the Alexander String Quartet. Many are drawn from the quartet’s recordings for the FoghornClassics label.)

My Audible purchase includes a helpful 157-page PDF download, dated 2009, including a good bibliography.

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