Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Great Masters: Beethoven — His Life and Music


Ludwig van Beethoven was one of the most prolific and inspiring forces in the history of music. With his brilliant compositions and his unique approach to the piano, he changed the face of western concert music forever. After Beethoven nothing could ever be the same again. This course by Professor Robert Greenberg is a biographical and musical study of Beethoven. It puts the great musician’s life in a social, political, and cultural context.

The Details

Course Overview

First and foremost, this eight-lecture course is a biographical study, and includes excerpts from more than a dozen of Beethoven’s works. You will learn about Beethoven’s:

  • Dysfunctional family life and relationships with his mother, father, paternal grandfather, and brothers
  • Musical training, especially his unique approach to the piano
  • Appearance and attitude
  • Celebrity in music- and piano-crazed Vienna
  • Compositional successes including symphonies, piano sonatas, and string quartets, among many others
  • Hearing loss and the crisis of 1802
  • Delusions and his relationship with his nephew Karl.

You will learn about the core features of some of Beethoven’s greatest music, but without the detailed, technical analyses in the courses The Symphonies of Beethoven, or in the Concert Masterworks series.

Great Masters: Beethoven — His Life and Music Lectures

  1. The Immortal Beloved
  2. What Comes down Must Go up, 1813-1815
  3. What Goes up Must Come down, 1815
  4. Beethoven and His Nephew, 1815-1819
  5. Beethoven the Pianist
  6. Beethoven the Composer, 1792-1802
  7. The Heroic Ideal
  8. Two Concerts, 1808 and 1824