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.
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©2005 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2005 The Great Courses
Some of this was over my non-musical head, but the delivery was very entertaining and I am inspired to learn more.
Greenberg is very good.
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.
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.
The music and Professor Greenberg's analyses.
Professor Greenberg gets in the way of his own material by interjecting asides and cracking jokes which triviializes the lectures.
This course is a great companion piece to the biography of Beethoven. I found myself understanding the man more and appreciating the innovation and complexity of his music.
Dr. G's enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment is so infectious that I found myself trying to "cross bridges" and to understand music and artists that had previously been intimidating and unapproachable.
I wanted to hear the music and then about how it worked. Instead I got a lots of talk from someone who is full of himself and likes to hear himself talk.
Greenberg's annoying attempts to be funny and to use silly metaphors to try to explain the music. He sounded like he has spent too many years trying to appeal to uninterested undergraduates. He talked down to his audience and did not explain the music. I finally quit listening.
Disappointment. And annoyance that I spent the money and did not get value.
I will not purchase any Great Courses again as this one is such a dud.
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