Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The 23 Greatest Solo Piano Works


As a solo concert instrument, the piano enjoys an unrivaled popularity in Western music. Capable of a vast sonic range, from ethereal softness to thundering grandeur, its appeal is global and seemingly eternal. For nearly 200 years, audiences have packed concert halls and opera houses to hear performers play this single, phenomenal instrument.

The Details

In The 23 Greatest Solo Piano Works, Professor Robert Greenberg offers an in-depth exploration of the solo piano works he considers to be among the most exceptional landmarks in the literature. The 23 works you’ll study represent the selections of an internationally respected composer and music historian, carefully chosen to highlight the most significant compositional and pianistic achievements in the solo piano repertoire.

These engrossing lectures guide you through more than 200 years of music. Beginning with the towering figure of Bach, followed by Mozart and Beethoven, you encounter the piano music of such great 19th-century masters as Chopin, Schumann, and Liszt, before moving forward to visionary modernists including Scriabin, Debussy, and Prokofiev. In Professor Greenberg’s trademark style, each lecture focuses on a single work in a fresh, accessible encounter with the musical substance of the piece, welcoming listeners new to concert music as well as experienced concert music lovers.

In addition to your study of the music, the lectures expose you to a rich panorama of music history. You dig deeply into the artistic and social environments that the compositions reflect, shedding light on what inspired these great works and how they were created. As a third key layer of the course, you delve into the extraordinary history of the piano itself, discovering the ways in which the evolution of the instrument directly affected the music that composers wrote for it.

In The 23 Greatest Solo Piano Works, you’ll delve deeply into a body of works that have enthralled, astounded, and profoundly moved generations of listeners. An educational journey you won’t find anywhere else, these twenty-four, 45-minute lectures give you the knowledge and insight to enjoy and appreciate the stunningly diverse literature of the piano.

Join a master composer and musicologist in discovering these great works of art, which make the solo piano tradition one of the superlative, enduring riches of our culture.

The 23 Greatest Solo Piano Works Lectures

  1. Piano Starts Here!
  2. J.S. Bach—The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book One
  3. J.S. Bach—Goldberg Variations
  4. Mozart—Piano Sonata in C Minor, K. 457
  5. Beethoven—The Appassionata Sonata
  6. Beethoven—Diabelli Variations, Op. 120
  7. Schubert—Piano Sonata No. 21 in B-flat Major
  8. Chopin—Préludes, Op. 28
  9. Chopin—Ballade in G Minor, Op. 23
  10. Schumann—Kreisleriana
  11. Liszt—Years of Pilgrimage
  12. Liszt—Sonata in B Minor
  13. Brahms—Handel Variations, Op. 24
  14. Brahms—Six Pieces for Piano, Op. 118
  15. Mussorgsky—Pictures at an Exhibition
  16. Debussy— “The Sunken Cathedral”
  17. Debussy— Préludes, Book One
  18. Albéniz—Iberia
  19. Ravel—Valses nobles et sentimentales
  20. Scriabin—Piano Sonata No. 5
  21. Rachmaninoff—Etudes-tableaux
  22. Prokofiev—Piano Sonata No. 7
  23. Copland—Piano Variations
  24. The A-List