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Publisher's Summary

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.

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

©2005 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2005 The Great Courses

What listeners say about Beethoven's Piano Sonatas

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  • Daniel H.
  • 10-01-2015

Amazing per ALWAYS

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.

15 people found this helpful

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  • J. Rector
  • 06-10-2013

Entertaining and educational.

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

Some of this was over my non-musical head, but the delivery was very entertaining and I am inspired to learn more.

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

Greenberg is very good.

Any additional comments?

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.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Victoria
  • 22-02-2021

Beethoven Piano Sonatas

This book is a treasure trove of profound insights mixed with humorous commentary which in no way diminishes the quality of those insights. The author reveals the inner workings of Beethoven’s musical technique and creativity in a manner that can be understood by the professional musician and those who simply appreciate music and wants to discover more about it.

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  • William C. Giauque
  • 19-01-2021

Magnificent

This is a magnificent series of discussions on Beethoven’s lifelong development on his most important instrument. Insightful, passionate, learned and humorous, Robert Greenberg is beyond wonderful in his presentation. Most highly recommended.

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  • kjjs
  • 19-04-2017

Spectacular

What did you love best about Beethoven's Piano Sonatas?

It seems that often the newest audiobook from Robert Greenberg and The Great Courses becomes my favorite. Not always. Very occasionally they seem too rushed or too forced. But this one is spectacular. Why? Partially it is his passion for the material and partially it is the amazing subject matter: the piano sonatas of Beethoven. I'm fairly new to classical music but not so new as to be thrown off by all the musical terminology. The fact that I am no longer scared off by it it due almost entirely to listening to other of his audiobooks. The main point I'd make though is that the music of Beethoven, especially his piano sonatas, is a gift to the world. To just be exposed to it is incredibly worthwhile. But this course does more than that. It tries to make it more approachable or perhaps just more enjoyable in the sense of getting some glimmer of Beethoven's intents and accomplishments. What more can be said about something that helps you understand and appreciate one of the wonders of the musical world!!

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

Probably the best, though the String Quartets of Beethoven was my previous favorite. It too was my favorite as I listened to it.

Any additional comments?

I should add that I listen and relisten to each chapter many times. There is so much there. Too me that is a benefit. I'm sure some listeners would prefer something more breezy. But it you like substance Robert Greenberg is the author to go to.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 26-07-2015

Another jewel!

What did you love best about Beethoven's Piano Sonatas?

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.

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

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Joan W. Witkin
  • 30-10-2013

Style and delivery

What made the experience of listening to Beethoven's Piano Sonatas the most enjoyable?

The music and Professor Greenberg's analyses.

Any additional comments?

Professor Greenberg gets in the way of his own material by interjecting asides and cracking jokes which triviializes the lectures.

3 people found this helpful

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  • KathrynVB
  • 24-12-2021

Listen to B's sonatas and learn about B

A loving review of Beethoven's 32 sonatas and how they reflect how he developed his musical genius.

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  • Allegra Stevens
  • 07-07-2018

Beethoven like you never thought of him!

I so enjoyed this Book. The narration was excellent and there was never a dull moment. Yes, I did learn a lot and look forward to listening to all 32 sonatas and reviewing my notes from the course. I will definitely be listening to parts of the book several times as I attempt to play my favorite Beethoven sonatas. Thank you, Professort Greenberg, for this excellent course! I'm looking forward to listening to your course on Beethoven's life and then his symphonies.

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  • Brian
  • 16-12-2016

Excellent Course

Again an excellent course from Dr Greenberg. Thank you for sharing your vast knowledge of music.

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  • jock
  • 21-10-2015

Lots of insight if you want to go deeper

Is there anything you would change about this book?

no really , as i expected

Would you be willing to try another book from The Great Courses? Why or why not?

I have listened to 20+ from the great courses ( from audible) if you go direct to their website they are £20 - £150

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

Like all his books Professor Robert Greenberg is fun to listen to and his enthusiasm comes across in every sentence

Could you see Beethoven's Piano Sonatas being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

na

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  • SL
  • 02-10-2018

Amazing set of lectures

This is a wonderful series of interesting and insightful lectures on an amazing body of work. possibly the best of all Greenberg lectures.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Muzak
  • 18-07-2022

Journey through the mind of a genius.

Comprehensive and highly detailed analysis of Beethovens piano sonatas presented with great enthusiasm by Robert Greenberg. A must for any fan of his music.

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  • Barry
  • 21-03-2022

A phenomenal deep dive into the greatest composer

This audiobook was very engaging from start to finish. There are some discrepancies with historical facts such as Beethoven trying to forcibly take custody of his nephew from. the mother, when the law of the time was that a woman was not seen as capable of raising a child alone.

That can be forgiven when there is so much well-researched detail that goes into every lecture.

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  • MP
  • 16-08-2021

Fascinating passionate lectures

Ruined by poor speech quality so makes me search to find the original. I thought Audible
had different quality downloads but can’t find them.

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