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.
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