The String Quartets of Beethoven [TTC Video]

The String Quartets of Beethoven [TTC Video]
The String Quartets of Beethoven [TTC Video] by Robert Greenberg
Course No 7240 | AVI, AVC, 640x480 | AC3, 192 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x46 mins | 5.34GB

In his 16 quartets for two violins, viola, and cello, Beethoven created a Mount Everest for string players and some of the most sublime, unforgettable music ever written. Continuing to astound listeners after 200 years, these glorious quartets give voice to the innermost landscape of the human heart and spirit. They stand, like Michelangelo's statues or the plays of Shakespeare, at the pinnacle of Western art.

These history-making pieces revolutionized the string quartet as an art form, bringing to it bold new musical resources and expressive content. In these works, Beethoven mastered, then transcended, the accepted musical norms, creating the quartets as both a trailblazing manifesto of personal expression and a daring challenge to the Western conception of music itself.

How can we get the most from these intriguing masterpieces? In their mold-breaking construction and rich complexity, how can we find our way to their essence and hear them with full understanding?

In The String Quartets of Beethoven, Professor Robert Greenberg, composer and celebrated music historian at San Francisco Performances, guides you in a deep encounter with these majestic works of art, offering you the rare opportunity to grasp the musical riches and spiritual greatness of the quartets in a clear and accessible way. Speaking with passion, profound insight, and refreshing informality, Dr. Greenberg reveals the secrets of these multifaceted works in twenty-four 45-minute lectures, aided at every turn by the masterful interpretations of the Alexander String Quartet.

Decoding Genius

In this compelling inquiry, you uncover the musical underpinnings of the luminous beauty, emotional depth, and dramatic scope that make these quartets legendary, and you probe the inner workings of one of history's most innovative minds.

This is not formal, academic analysis, but rather a directly accessible entry into the real substance of the quartets, giving you both an intelligent way to listen to them and follow their structure as well as an understanding of what makes them expressively impactful, dazzlingly original, and ultimately great as works of art.

The String Quartets of Beethoven gives you a way of knowing these quartets that opens the door to years of pleasure and insight into great music.

One Man Transforms an Art Form

As the course opens, Dr. Greenberg plunges you directly into the exciting atmosphere of Vienna in the late 18th century. In Vienna and Italy, the string quartet evolves from the earlier "trio sonata" into what many consider the single most intimate and conversational of musical genres. You learn the "ritual template" of the Classical string quartet, and you probe the seminal innovations of Haydn and Mozart within the template, as they set the stage for the explosive arrival of Beethoven.

At the heart of the course, Dr. Greenberg takes you on a movement-by-movement exploration of the individual Beethoven quartets, revealing the arc of the composer's fierce independence and imagination, as he brings to the string quartet an expressive, formal, and narrative range undreamed of by earlier musicians.

Your exploration includes extensive listening and study of these landmark quartets:

  • Opus 18, no. 6: The most radically innovative of the early quartets. Here Beethoven alters the Classical structure of the string quartet, forcing listeners to think and hear in new ways.
  • Opus 59, no. 1: Proceeding from his "heroic" self-reinvention of 1803, in Opus 59, no. 1 Beethoven unveils string quartet writing of symphonic scope and dramatic power, demonstrating his mature compositional innovations.
  • Opus 127: The haunting, exquisite lyricism of this quartet, set within a work of dramatic contrasts, is one of the high points of Beethoven's work with the genre.
  • Opus 130 and the Grand Fugue: A rich, unfolding sequence of diverse movements, culminating in the monumental Grand Fugue, is the epitome of Beethoven's personal, subjective vision of fugue.
  • Opus 131: Plumbing the multiple expressive milestones of this seven-part, operatically conceived quartet, you devote three lectures to what many consider to be Beethoven's single "most perfect" work.

Professor Greenberg's many provocative insights deepen your understanding, as in his suggestion that you hear the structure of Opus 130 as "circular" rather than linear, relating each individual movement organically to the Grand Fugue.

Revolutionary Music, Conceived for a Later Age

Your immersion in the musical "meat" of the individual quartets grounds the story of Beethoven's artistic trajectory with the quartets as a whole. You delve deeply into the musical innovations that underlie Beethoven's phenomenal, unfolding creativity in these works:

  • "Motivic" development: You learn how Beethoven created entire movements using the simplest musical ideas or "motives"—how his core focus was not the musical material per se, but what the material could become, through transformation.
  • Ongoing dramatic narrative: Throughout the quartets, you see how Beethoven conceived of a multimovement instrumental composition telling a single, narrative story.
  • Originality: You observe how Beethoven pursued an uncompromising ideal of artistic growth and personal inventiveness, and how his refusal to "stand still" redefined the role of the composer.
  • Contextual use of form: You see how, in the quartets, Beethoven altered and extended musical forms such as sonata, fugue, and theme and variation, bending them to his own expressive purposes or "contextual" needs.

Vivid Details of a Path of Creation

Professor Greenberg brings out details of Beethoven's personal life as they relate to the writing of the quartets, showing how multiple aspects of his difficult circumstances and personality—in addition to practical and commercial matters—contributed to the specific direction he took with these works.

You learn how Beethoven arrived in Vienna at the time of a public mania for string quartets, and how his Opus 18 quartets gave him the chance to wrestle with the form and prove himself, as both a master of the Classical quartet "template" and a boldly original voice.

You see how in late 1802, driven close to suicide by his oncoming deafness, Beethoven managed to reinvent himself with the Enlightenment-inspired identity of a hero triumphing over fate—and how this "new self" took direct and dynamic musical form in the quartets of Opus 59.

You learn how Beethoven's personal belief in redemption through struggle and perseverance is reflected in the "cathartic" narrative structure of Opuses 95, 131, and 132.

And you observe how, in his last years, ill, isolated, and poverty stricken, he poured his remaining resources of body and spirit into the magnificent late quartets, creating them as the "last revelations of his spirit."

Professor Greenberg's gift as a teacher is his ability to make the abstraction of great music directly comprehensible, while speaking to a range of experience in his listeners. Seasoned musicians will find the lectures an ingenious and far-reaching illumination of the quartets and of Beethoven's unfolding innovations. Newcomers to Classical music will find them a very welcoming and accessible path to the heart of these extraordinary creations.

Throughout the course, the quartets come to vibrant life in the playing of the renowned Alexander String Quartet—a group that has lived these works deeply, praised by The New York Times for the "power and poignancy" of its interpretations.

"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world." —Beethoven

In The String Quartets of Beethoven, Dr. Greenberg offers you a rare and life-enriching opportunity: to grapple with the inner workings of musical genius, with the creation of the deepest and richest of human expression, in your encounter with these works that define the power of art.

With a rare melding of nonverbal "voices," Beethoven gives expression to the poignant depths and heights of human experience; to the anguish, awe, and ecstasy of living—and to a liberating, transcendent domain of the spirit, beyond place and time.

Take this opportunity, in The String Quartets of Beethoven, to know the scope of Beethoven's genius, his most unforgettable music, and the profound humanity and beauty that live through them.

The String Quartets of Beethoven [TTC Video]

Beethoven's Piano Sonatas [TTC Video]

Beethoven's Piano Sonatas [TTC Video]
Beethoven's Piano Sonatas [TTC Video] by Robert Greenberg
Course No 7250 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 160 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x45 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 7.04GB

Beethoven was a revolutionary man living in a revolutionary time. He captured his inner voice—demons and all—and the spirit of his time, and in doing so, created a body of music the likes of which no one had ever before imagined. "An artist must never stand still," he once said. A virtuoso at the keyboard, Beethoven used the piano as his personal musical laboratory, and 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.

Pushing the Piano to Its Limit and Beyond

Spanning the length of his compositional career, Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas provide a window into his personal musical development, and they show the concept of the piano as an instrument and the piano sonata as a genre undergoing an extraordinary evolution.

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 some 40 years after his death.

An Engaging and Exhilarating Professor

As in his previous courses, Professor Greenberg combines his perceptive analyses of musical excerpts with historical anecdotes, metaphors, and humor. He shows what goes on inside a musical composition: how it came to be written, how it works, and how—as is often the case with Beethoven—it may break all the rules to achieve a new and powerful effect. This course is somewhat technical and although musical knowledge is helpful, it is not necessary.

Popular, Experimental, Revolutionary, Shocking

Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas include some of his most popular works as well as some of his most experimental. This course touches 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.

In addition to the Hammerklavier, you will explore in detail the other sonatas that, by virtue of their popularity or other special qualities, have been bestowed with evocative nicknames. These include:

  • Pathétique (Piano Sonata no. 8 in C Minor, op. 13): The modern popularity of this piece has obscured its shocking originality, which led a contemporary to characterize Beethoven's work as "lots of crazy stuff."
  • Funeral March (Piano Sonata no. 12 in A-Flat, op. 26): Beethoven's first 11 piano sonatas challenged and eventually broke the bonds of the 18th-century Classical style. In this work, he fully embraced a genuinely experimental, avant-garde approach to the sonata.
  • Moonlight (Piano Sonata no. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, op. 27, no. 2): The composer Hector Berlioz wrote that the haunting first movement of this famous work is "one of those poems that human language does not know how to qualify."
  • Tempest (Piano Sonata no. 17 in D Minor, op. 31, no. 2): Although Shakespeare's The Tempest reportedly inspired this sonata, the thematic parallels between the two works are elusive. But like the title of Shakespeare's play, Beethoven's sonata must qualify as one of the most expressively "tempestuous" in the repertoire.
  • Farewell (Piano Sonata no. 26 in E-Flat, op. 81a): Also known as Les Adieux and Das Lebewohl, this programmatic work commemorates the departure from and return to Vienna of Beethoven's close friend Archduke Rudolph.

Not all of Beethoven's greatest piano sonatas have nicknames. The last three are conventionally known by their opus numbers—109, 110, and 111—and are among Beethoven's most pathbreaking works.

"Oh, to Have Heard Him Play!"

Beethoven first achieved fame as a thrilling and unorthodox pianist who treated the piano, according to his contemporaries, in an "entirely new manner."

"When Beethoven played, expression always came first," says Professor Greenberg. "Beethoven was no more capable of slavish adherence to a steady beat than he was able to follow the constructs and rituals of Classicism. Oh, to have heard him play!"

To be present while Beethoven played was considered by contemporaries to be a revelatory experience. Johann Wenzel Tomaschek, a rival piano virtuoso, observed: "Beethoven's magnificent phrasing and particularly the daring of his improvisation stirred me strangely to the depths of my soul; indeed, I found myself so profoundly bowed down that I did not touch my piano for several days."

Piano manufacturers saw things differently. According to Andreas Streicher, Beethoven was so violent at the keyboard that he was "unworthy of imitation. ... He carries on in a fiery manner, and treats his instrument like a man who, bent on revenge, has his archenemy in his hands and, with cruel relish, wants to torture him slowly to death."

Nonetheless, once he became famous, Beethoven rarely if ever had to buy his own pianos, as piano builders vied with each other to lend him instruments. Nor did Beethoven let shortcomings of contemporary pianos limit his creativity. In his Piano Sonata no. 7 in D, op. 10, no. 3, he expands two musical phrases into high and low registers that didn't exist on the keyboards of the day.

Transferring Despair into Musical Action

Beethoven's childhood was dominated by abuse and loss. Already a bundle of gastric ailments and psychological neuroses, he went deaf over the course of his young and middle adulthood. He was desperately unlucky in love. Desiring a child, he did everything in his power to steal his nephew Karl from the boy's mother; when he succeeded, Karl attempted suicide.

As he entered his final decade, Beethoven became genuinely paranoid. And yet, says Professor Greenberg, Beethoven translated his experience into action—musical action—by composing pieces that by some amazing alchemy universalized his problems and his solutions.

Analyzing Beethoven's "Game"

Professor Greenberg analyzes many musical passages, taking you note-by-note, phrase-by-phrase through different movements of the sonatas, showing how Beethoven plans and achieves his surprising effects. Beethoven paid scrupulous attention to all aspects of his compositions, and Professor Greenberg elucidates these features and brings them vividly to life, such as thematic development, tempo, large-scale dramatic progression, and psychological manipulation by the performer.

You will learn a wealth of musical vocabulary: terms such as Viennese Classical style, sonata form, theme and variations, exposition, modulating bridge, recapitulation, cadence, minuet, rondo, fugue, and scherzo.

What You Will Hear: Extraordinary Performances by a Celebrated Pianist

Beethoven died 50 years before the invention of sound recording, so we will never hear his voice or the sound of his playing.

You will hear literally hundreds of excerpts of Maestro Claude Frank's recordings over the span of the course. Frank's recording of the 32 sonatas was originally released for the Beethoven bicentennial in 1970, and was hailed as "one of the year's 10 best" by Time magazine.

Truly, Beethoven's piano music is his voice, emerging from his mind, through his fingers, to our ears and hearts. And his piano sonatas are, more than any other of his amazing works, his personal testament, expressed in his own voice.

Beethoven's Piano Sonatas [TTC Video]

Greek 101: Learning an Ancient Language [TTC Video]

Greek 101: Learning an Ancient Language [TTC Video]
Greek 101: Learning an Ancient Language [TTC Video] by Hans-Friedrich Mueller
Course No 2280 | MP4, AVC, 1024x576 | AAC, 90 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 4.91GB

Ancient Greek is a language like no other. It records an astonishing array of great works in different genres, stretching across a thousand years of history. Homer, the most influential poet ever, recited in the matchless cadences of the epic literary Greek dialect. The Apostle Paul, the Four Evangelists, and the other authors of the New Testament also left their accounts in Greek, using Koine, the beautifully clear conversational Greek spoken in the eastern Mediterranean of their day. Likewise, Sappho, Euripides, Aristophanes, Herodotus, Plato, Demosthenes, and many other ancient authors wrote in Greek, each with a distinct style that makes their individual voices live across the centuries.

After just a few hours of Greek 101: Learning an Ancient Language, you’ll understand why no translation can capture the expressive power of this incomparable tongue. In some ways simpler than English, in other ways more complex, Greek is a delight to study. As you work through these 36 engaging half-hour lessons, mastering the graceful alphabet, the precision of the nouns and verbs, the endlessly flexible syntax, and a vivid vocabulary, you’ll learn words and phrases such as these:

  • μῆνιν: Pronounced mēnin, the first word of Homer’s Iliad means wrath, setting the tone for the entire epic, which is about the consequences of Achilles’ anger and how it leads the Greek army to the brink of ruin in the Trojan War. In this course, you read the first 125 lines of the Iliad—in Greek.
  • ἥρως: Once sounded out—hērōs—this word is obviously hero, and such larger-than-life warriors from Greek mythology are the chief characters in the Iliad. After learning the Greek alphabet and diacritical marks, you suddenly see the wide influence of Greek on English.
  • μαθηταὶ: That’s you, the students, pronounced mathētai, and it’s how Professor Hans-Friedrich Mueller addresses you throughout this course. It has the same root (a verb that means “to learn”) as our word mathematics, and in the New Testament it comes to mean disciples.
  • μὴ γένοιτο: Pronounced mē genoito, it means literally, may this not happen. More colloquially, it translates, God forbid! and it isone of St. Paul’s favorite expressions, used in Romans 7:13 and elsewhere. In this course, you read many such extracts from the New Testament—in Greek.

Read Greek from Two Monumental Works

With no prior experience required, Greek 101 gives you direct access to a remarkable heritage. Covering all of the topics in a typical year of introductory ancient Greek at the college level, these user-friendly lessons focus on teaching you to read unadapted passages from Homer’s Iliad and the New Testament—two of the most important works in the Greek language, which have for centuries inspired people from all walks of life to learn ancient Greek.

Your guide is Professor Hans-Friedrich Mueller of Union College in Schenectady, New York, an award-winning educator who gives classical language teaching a whole new image. Gone is the drudgery of glacially slow progress that is associated with traditional instruction in ancient languages. Instead, Professor Mueller quickly introduces you to authentic Greek, and he presents his subject with charm, wit, and consummate skill in making Greek logical and understandable.

A Unique Introduction to Ancient Greek

With Greek 101, Professor Mueller has created a course that offers the following advantages for students and self-learners of ancient Greek:

  • Video course and textbook in one: Keyed to each lesson, the accompanying guidebook includes hundreds of pages of explanations, charts, vocabulary, and exercises with answers. Also included are summary charts, a grammatical index, and glossaries, plus resources for further study.
  • Multisensory: As Professor Mueller recites in Greek, you see onscreen sentences and charts, highlighting what he is saying and encouraging you to recite along with him. This multisensory approach—hearing, seeing, and speaking—is an ideal way to learn a language.
  • Ready review: Professor Mueller’s lessons are so entertaining and packed with information that you will want to watch them multiple times. His explanations and the accompanying review and practice materials in the guidebook bring clarity to Greek conjugations and declensions.
  • A unique approach: Your focus in this course reflects the outlook of the great American classicist Clyde Pharr, who almost 100 years ago wrote, “Homer offers an unexcelled preparation…for all later Greek literature.” No other introductory course combines the study of Homer with the New Testament, as this series does.

You begin Greek 101 by mastering the pronunciation of this beautiful language, using the restored classical (Erasmian) pronunciation. Then you start building your vocabulary and grammatical fluency. By Lesson 7, you are reading the first sentence of the Gospel of John. In Lesson 14, you tackle the first five lines of the Iliad. In Lesson 15, you learn to read Homer aloud metrically. You’ll crack the code of dactylic hexameter, the epic meter that Homer made famous, and will soon be reading his lines with the intonation and rhythms that help you feel the poetry in a way that no translation can imitate. From here on, you read unadapted Greek.

After you finish these 36 lessons, you will have worked through the first 125 lines of the Iliad as well as scores of verses from the New Testament. Think what it will mean to have read these ancient passages just as they were written down some 20 centuries ago and more!

Learn to Read the Clues in Greek Masterpieces

Greek is an inflected language, which means that the base form of a word is altered to show grammatical relationships, such as number, case, and gender for nouns; and person, number, tense, voice, and mood for verbs. Although English uses some inflections, most grammatical information is conveyed by word order or by auxiliary words. This can make Greek challenging for English speakers. The trick is to learn to read the clues. Professor Mueller is a master at showing you how to spot grammatical tip-offs in sentence after sentence of Greek, using as examples some of the finest passages from Greek literature. A sampling:

  • Iliad, Book 1, lines 1-5: The first sentence of the Iliad evokes wrath over and over, while using the word only once. This is possible thanks to word endings that identify wrath as the direct object of the sentence and connect it to a series of nouns, adjectives, and pronouns.
  • Iliad, Book 1, lines 43-47: This short scene is alive with participles, or verbal adjectives, describing Apollo’s priest praying for vengeance, and the god’s response—burning with rage, holding his bow, bestirring himself, and resembling in his descent from Mount Olympus the shadow of approaching night.
  • Matthew, chapter6, verses 9-10: The Lord’s Prayer contains a series of aorist imperatives, used to denote the urgent need for a pure and simple action. The commands are literally, let it be made sacred, let it come, and let it be produced, with more aorist commands following.
  • John, chapter 2, verse 12: After the wedding at Cana, Jesus goes to Capernaum. Professor Mueller analyzes different translations of the simple sentence that describes Jesus’s entourage, highlighting the difficulty of rendering the subtle meaning of the Greek.

The inadequacy of even the best translation is a theme you encounter throughout the course. No translation can equal the hypnotic effect of Homer’s verse or the mysterious depth of John 1:1. You will discover that there is much you can appreciate while you are still a beginner. After completing Greek 101, you can go in many different directions. The beauty of Sappho’s lyrics, the graceful dialogues of Plato, the stirring historical narrative of Xenophon, the influential translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek called the Septuagint, and many other experiences await you. As Professor Mueller says, “Even when we fail to understand everything, we understand something. And this magic allows the dead, even those who have not breathed this air or looked on the light of this world for thousands of years, to speak to us in their own words.”

See also: Latin 101: Learning a Classical Language

Greek 101: Learning an Ancient Language [TTC Video]

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