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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas by Curtis Institute of Music

4.8
stars
566 ratings
134 reviews

About the Course

Our relationship to Beethoven is a deep and paradoxical one. For many musicians, he represents a kind of holy grail: His music has an intensity, rigor, and profundity which keep us in its thrall, and it is perhaps unequalled in the interpretive, technical, and even spiritual challenges it poses to performers. At the same time, Beethoven’s music is casually familiar to millions of people who do not attend concerts or consider themselves musically inclined. Two hundred years after his death, he is everywhere in the culture, yet still represents its summit. This course takes an inside-out look at the 32 piano sonatas from the point of view of a performer. Each lecture will focus on one sonata and an aspect of Beethoven’s music exemplified by it. (These might include: the relationship between Beethoven the pianist and Beethoven the composer; the critical role improvisation plays in his highly structured music; his mixing of extremely refined music with rougher elements; and the often surprising ways in which the events of his life influenced his compositional process and the character of the music he was writing.) The course will feature some analysis and historical background, but its perspective is that of a player, not a musicologist. Its main aim is to explore and demystify the work of the performer, even while embracing the eternal mystery of Beethoven’s music itself. This season's Curtis courses are sponsored by Linda Richardson in loving memory of her husband, Dr. Paul Richardson. The Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation supports Curtis's lifelong learning initiatives....

Top reviews

M
Jun 2, 2020

This course and Mr. Biss' immense knowledge of Beethoven's sonatas and that era has given me a new interest in classical music. I can understand and speak about it more confidently than ever!

JR
Aug 22, 2016

Fascinating trip through the marvellous Beethoven sonatas.\n\nAlthough I love them since many years, I'm very happy to see that It's always possible to progress.\n\nMany thanks Jonathan.

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126 - 133 of 133 Reviews for Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas

By Rob E

Jul 11, 2016

The course is rich in information and I appreciated the fast pace of the professor's lectures (especially his enthusiasm and passion for the subject which I found delightfully infectious ha) - however I feel that for many people his very quick elocution was perhaps a bit of a minor hindrance for those that process information a touch slower. I definitely plan to resume this course as I enjoyed the professor's manner and passion.

By Abhijit B

Jul 1, 2017

It is a beautiful course for the fans of classical music and specially for the fans of Beethoven! Prof. Jonathan is really passionate about the music of Beethoven which is evident from his style of analyzing his sonatas. Although sometimes the course becomes too technical we enjoy it once we listen to the music and understand the nuances of the composition. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and will join next course too.

By Johhn W

Oct 6, 2017

The music and the pianist are as good as it gets. The structure of the course, however, is weak in that each of the sonatas focused on are really not easily taken apart and analyzed. Even if they were what would be the value of that? O suggest that Biss stress, what he actually does to a minor degree, the sonatas of other masters and show how Beethoven is the master and give plenty of comparison selections.

By Luciano A d C

Aug 22, 2018

Oh Prof Biss, you're such a great pianist ! Really gifted ! Congratulations!

I'll search some of your recordings.

Very good course. Thanks for the opportunity !

From below the Equator,

Luciano

By Marco M

Apr 19, 2017

Insightful travel throughout Beethoven's music writing style, and more generally on musical structure of piano sonatas before and after Beethoven's contribution.

By Aram G

Apr 3, 2017

Very nice time spent with an talented person... Highly recommend

By Denis M

May 7, 2020

A good form of introduction to classical music.

By Emeka N

Dec 24, 2015

Excellent.