Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Chamber Music of Mozart


Nowhere is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s maturity and mastery more apparent than in the chamber music he wrote during the last 10 years of his life. Studying his chamber music provides a lens into what made him perhaps the most complete composer in music history.

The Details

Study and enjoy a variety of chamber works drawn primarily from Mozart’s “golden years” in Vienna, 1781–1791. The centerpiece of the course is the set of six Haydn string quartets that Mozart dedicated to his friend, the great Joseph Haydn. Across the span of the course, you will explore works that represent the three types of chamber music that Mozart composed:

  • Any chamber group consisting, in whole or in part, of a string quartet: two violins, a viola, and a cello.
  • The “piano plus” combination: works for keyboard and some other instrument or instruments.
  • Everything else: combinations that employ neither a string quartet nor a piano.

Professor Robert Greenberg takes you deep inside the structure of Mozart’s chamber masterworks to reveal his hand at work. You will learn the basic language that all 18th-century composers used to write their music. In addition, you will explore the subtleties of Mozart’s technique as a composer. Professor Greenberg covers significant aspects of Mozart’s life, from birth to death.

At the end of this course, you will come to understand Mozart’s full impact on the chamber music genre. He changed forever the nature of the violin and piano sonata. He essentially invented the piano trio, piano quartet, and string quintet as we understand them today. His Haydn Quartets reached a range and intensity of expression that would not be achieved again until Beethoven 20 years later.

The Chamber Music of Mozart Lectures

  1. A Blessing of Inconceivable Richness
  2. “The Hunt”
  3. “The Hunt,” Part 2
  4. The Flute Quartet in D Major
  5. Vienna
  6. Haydn and Inspiration
  7. Exclusively for His Friends
  8. Duos for Violin and Viola
  9. Not Just a Pretty Face
  10. Blowin’ in the Winds
  11. The Piano Trios
  12. The Piano Quartets
  13. String Quartet in A Major, K. 464
  14. The String Quintets
  15. Dissonance—Musical and Financial
  16. Basset Horns and Harmonicas