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Publisher's Summary

Ludwig van Beethoven is justifiably acclaimed as one of the most revered composers in the history of Western music-a genius once characterized as a "Titan, wrestling with the gods." There is no better way for you to understand the full impact of that description than to not only listen to all nine of his magnificent symphonies, but to do so with a full understanding of what this great composer was saying and the circumstances that drove him up to and beyond what had once been considered the limits of musical expression.
The 32 lectures that make up this detailed introduction to Beethoven explores each of his symphonies in depth, explaining the gifts of musical communication that made this composer unique. Even without any previous musical training, you'll be able to grasp the absolute directness that made his work so accessible, the sheer emotional power that could never be ignored, and the ways in which his ideas were revolutionary on every level. Beginning with an introduction to Beethoven the man and the musical and societal forces that shaped his development, you'll explore his breathtaking innovations: harmonic, melodic, rhythmic, formal, dramatic, self-expressive, and emotional. And you'll come to understand how and why this man was able to lead music into a totally new era as he dispensed with the restraint of 18th-century Classicism to usher in the era of romantic self-expression - even as his own ability to even hear what he was creating was progressively and tragically vanishing.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©1996 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1996 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Christopher James on 09-23-14

Truly the course materials MUST be made available.

Would you listen to The Symphonies of Beethoven again? Why?

Yes, because being new to music theory I didn't absorb it all the first time, but would very much like to.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Symphonies of Beethoven?

Beethoven's letter to everyone for when he died was particularly poignant, abs the explanation for the last movement of the Second Symphony was priceless.

What about Professor Robert Greenberg’s performance did you like?

He's very animated and clearly knows his material.

Any additional comments?

Smart people work at The Teaching Company and Audible. Please figure out how to make the course materials available. They are critical despite your protestations to the contrary.

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23 of 24 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Eloquent on 01-13-14

A Great Course with a Great Caveat

Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Robert Greenberg?


What did you like best about this story?

Prof. Greenberg's style is passionate and humorous which makes the course quite enjoyable. His explanations are good.

Which character – as performed by Professor Robert Greenberg – was your favorite?


If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Symphonies of Beethoven?


Any additional comments?

A great caveat is that Audible does not offer the word scores Prof. Greenberg uses heavily in this course and which are described in the very beginning as of great importance to understand the course. Not only that, but the professor skips some parts, due to lack of time, instructing the listeners to read those parts in the word scores!

When I complained, Audible said that 'The Great Courses company said the word scores are not important' and 'you can return the book if you didn't like it', which doesn't work for me because there is information in it that I need, but I also need the rest of it. When I contacted The Great Courses company they offered to sell me the hard copy of the word scores!

The question now is: Why doesn't Audible mention clearly that these courses come without the word scores that are given great importance by the instructor? And why doesn't it strike a deal with that company to sell the word scores and add their prices to the books'?

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50 of 55 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By amazoncustomer on 12-21-17

Brilliant, as expected.

Prof. Greenberg's enthusiasm and detailed explanations was deeply inspiring. He brought Beethoven alive and made his struggle and his mission for the world completely clear to me. Masterful.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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