Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5: Innovation with Attitude

Ludwig van Beethoven is generally considered to have been the single most disruptive force in the history of European-based music. His extraordinary compositional innovations and his ideas regarding originality and artistic responsibility remain a cornerstone for the modern artist. Beethoven was also a man of his revolutionary times; having witnessed the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era he harnessed his inner demons and those of his age, creating a body of music the likes of which no one had heard before. Central to Beethoven’s radical compositional vision was his belief that music must be, above, a vehicle for self-expression.

This program will explore Beethoven’s life and times in order to understand the environment of change and innovation in which he lived. It will then focus on his Symphony No. 5 as an example of his self-expressive priorities, and the degree to which all aspects of the piece – from thematic content and development and harmony to musical form – serve his self-expressive ends.

GOALSThis session creates meaningful and useful (to say nothing for entertaining) metaphors for many of the same issues of creativity, innovation, development and strategy facing individuals and institutions today.

Session length: a single 2-hour session, three 40-minute sessions, or 2 1-hour sessions.