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Great Masters: Beethoven - His Life and Music | [The Great Courses]

Great Masters: Beethoven - His Life and Music

Have you ever wondered how the lives of great composers-especially when set against the social, political, and cultural context of their world-influences 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, 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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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.

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.

©2001 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2001 The Great Courses

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  •  
    Daniel Neal Florida 12-02-14
    Daniel Neal Florida 12-02-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.


    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carla Littleton Pittsburgh, PA United States 11-14-14
    Carla Littleton Pittsburgh, PA United States 11-14-14 Member Since 2012
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    "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.


    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell Bernard Salt Lake City, Utah United States 07-29-14
    Russell Bernard Salt Lake City, Utah United States 07-29-14
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    "Great lecture about a very onery guy"

    Robert Greenberg does a wonderful job. If you are into music his lectures are not to be missed. This is the seventh lecture I have enjoyed from the composer great courses.Two more to go Mahler and Shostakovich. Get them all you will love them and learn all the good stuff about how music is written and the lives of these amazing dysfunctional men.

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Stockbridge, GA, United States 09-28-13
    Paul Stockbridge, GA, United States 09-28-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Ahh... Beethoven"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Great Masters: Beethoven - His Life and Music to be better than the print version?

    n/a


    What other book might you compare Great Masters: Beethoven - His Life and Music to and why?

    Mozart, his life and music. Excellent overview


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

    That he didn't edit the ugly with the good.


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

    Laugh, and think deeply about the man who wrote the music I love to play and listen to.


    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    André ORLANDO, FL, United States 12-30-14
    André ORLANDO, FL, United States 12-30-14 Member Since 2011

    I love AUDIBLE! I never get mad at traffic jams and can listen to many different books, despite of my short time.

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    "Excellent Biography!"

    This Great Master: Beethoven-- His Life and Music is a great find. The biography is non linear, told by a prizewinner professor, Robert Greenberg. The professor is a great enthusiast of Beethoven, and that shows in his lectures. He accompanies the biography with Beethoven music, and points out why that sonata is good, or not so good, and what was happening to him in that time. Great listening!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne 12-23-14
    Anne 12-23-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Could not stop listening."

    Normally, a Great Courses audible course is a treat I indulge in when I am on the treadmill. Today I was on the treadmill and started this course. Although I've been listening to or watching Great Courses for years - many dozens of them - It is the first Great Masters course I've tried. I became so thoroughly engaged that I couldn't stop listening. For the rest of my day off, while I went to the market, folded laundry, finished Christmas gift wrapping and did some holiday baking I listened. While I made our dinner I listened. When I normally would sit down in the afternoon and read for a couple of hours, I listened instead. I finished it in one day.

    This is a fascinating. engaging, amazing story. I have always rather like Beethoven's music, but I had no idea about his life. What an amazing character! And Professor Greenburg really brought him to life and brought him into MY life. He made the man seem as real to me as John Lennon or Annie Lennox.

    The Professor is passionate about music and I learned a fair amount about how Beethoven impacted the history of western music. I will seek out some of Beethoven's work and listen with more interest and appreciation thanks to this course.

    Highly recommend.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas anaheim hills, CA, United States 12-20-14
    Douglas anaheim hills, CA, United States 12-20-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Great Course"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Great Masters: Beethoven - His Life and Music to be better than the print version?

    Yes


    What did you like best about this story?

    How Beethovan did his best works following devastating trials in his life.


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

    Yes. Greenberg is great. He has passion and his use of language is awesome and refreshing. He is a good as many professional narrators.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The ending of the 9th Symphony when the singer turned him around so he could see the reaction of the audience.


    Any additional comments?

    I like this professor. He is inspiring because he knows so much about the subject of his courses. I can't imagine how long it must take him to write these lectures. He is passionate and funny/entertaining.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carly Dondo 01-02-15
    Carly Dondo 01-02-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Superlative "lecture:""
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Excellent. Not exactly irreverent, but not worshipful, down-to-earth telling of the story of the greatest composer so far. The book is entertaining, no, very entertaining, and informative. It had me laughing aloud, to my surprise. I expect to do something I haven't done before -- when it ends, immediately start it over. Then I'll look for others by the same author/reader.


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

    Delivery occasionally over the top, forgivable.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A 12-28-14
    A 12-28-14 Member Since 2013

    Love to read. Mysteries, history, romance, biography, current events, science, classic fiction. No vampires. No zombies. No self-help. Find me on GoodReads and BookLikes.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well at least I didn't waste a credit on this one"

    I got this as a "daily Deal."

    I've managed to get through two lectures. I love Beethoven's music and would be happy to learn more about the composer himself and about music in general but I find this lecturer excruciating to listen to.

    For a couple of minutes in the first lecture, I thought maybe the man has some insights to share as to why Beethoven's music is genius (or not) but all too soon that brief insight was over and we were back to the meaningless cliches. The insights are too few and far between to continue to put up with a lecture style that is, to me, at best annoying If I were in this man's university classroom, I would be dropping the course before the end of the first week.

    I wish that I could say it as elegantly as Jerry did in his 10-16-14 review but "patronizing, supercilious" and "so desperate to be 'cool' and 'hip' " describe my reaction to a T--and I'd rather quote than plagiarize.. This guy is not for me. Jerry, I can only hope that I get as many "Not helpfuls" as you have for daring to say that I don't like this lecturer.

    My advice: Listen before you buy. This lecturer's style is not for everyone.



    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry South Hackensack, NJ, USA 10-16-14
    Jerry South Hackensack, NJ, USA 10-16-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrible lectures"
    Any additional comments?

    This lecture series is perfect for someone who wants to get a smattering of information and does not mind being treated in a patronizing, supercilious and insulting manner by a lecturer so desperate to be "cool" and "hip" that he wastes our time with redundancies, digressions and self-indulgent rants. I can't imagine why he is considered a good lecturer.

    By the way, I gave him more than one chance, having listened to three of his lecture series and each one is more grating and annoying than the last. If he just cut out some of the supercilious repetitions of adjectives and pseudo-hipster quips, he would have more time for the substance.

    Stay away.

    21 of 41 people found this review helpful
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