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Back to Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas Part 2

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas Part 2 by Curtis Institute of Music

155 ratings

About the Course

Welcome to Part 2 of Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas! I'm delighted to launch another set of new lectures of this course as Part 2. As before, this class is meant for people of all levels of experience with Beethoven's music (including no experience at all!). Remember that you are able to watch the lectures as many times as you like, at whatever pace is comfortable for you. As I’ve done with the first set of Beethoven lectures, I look forward to meeting with students—online and in person, in various cities. The dates and locations will be posted in the Announcements and Events section, as part of the course content. So please remember to check back there for details. In these four new lectures, we will explore the following sonatas: • Sonata Op. 2, No. 3 • Sonata Op. 13 (“Pathetique”) • Sonata Op. 53 (“Waldstein”) • Sonata Op. 90 The Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation supports Curtis’s lifelong learning initiatives....

Top reviews


Apr 26, 2017

This is an outstanding course due to Mr. Biss' extensive knowledge and passion for the Beethoven sonatas. I can only dream that someday he'll conduct a course on the Beethoven piano concertos too.


May 2, 2020

An excellent course beautifully presented by Jonathan Biss. I learned a lot and found it immensely enjoyable. It gave me an appetite to learn more about Beethoven and the sonata form.

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1 - 25 of 46 Reviews for Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas Part 2

By Jose C

Jul 2, 2020

All three courses I have taken have really helped to enhance my delight and understanding of Beethoven's music. Bliss transmit his admiration and passion for this music.

By Vedran S

Aug 29, 2017

This is an excellent class. It is a great continuation of the first part of the lecture series and ties into them nicely. I would highly recommend taking this class.

By Bill D

Mar 4, 2018

The problem with this course as with all evaluations of musical works is that there is just not the vocabulary to deal with his greatness. It might be insightful to a professional musician to point out all the key changes, tricks with the sonata form, chord progressions, etc., but for an amateur, these technical tricks add nothing to the music itself. The mystery remains why, with all their technical expertise and cleverness, no analyst of Beethoven's works has ever explained just WHERE he got his themes and melodies from. Biss tries his best, but, after a while, if you don't play the piano, it isn't very satisfying to learn (in a cursory way) about the construction of Beethoven's sonatas, no more than it would be to learn the grammar of Tolstoy's novels.

By Eduardo A d C L

Apr 16, 2017

I suppose a coarse yet hopefully functional metaphor is we get to fly "in the cockpit". Mr Biss guides the student through the inner workings of pieces covered, points to some of the the twists and turns and plants the seeds of perhaps a lifelong contemplation of some of the motivations, feelings and hopes embedded into their architecture. As great as the source material is, I would like to add that Mr Biss is a very eloquent, warm and insightful guide. This journey into rich sonic landscapes, is doubtlessly something not to be missed. One of the best life experiences available on Coursera, highly recommended.

By Lau C K

Sep 27, 2020

Am truly grateful of Mr. Biss for giving such lovely lectures. I never had a chance to further study at the music college. Hence, these lectures have given me much more understandable of the topic itself. And truly thanks for the Curtis Institution of music for providing this platform. I sincerely hope that there will be more of such music classes regards the classical music. So can help people out there who couldn't make their way to the tertiary institution for further study. Once again, thankyou so much.

By Heidi M

Oct 23, 2021

I just love taking these courses on Beethoven from Mr. Biss. Not only is he a wonderful pianist, but his love for Beethoven's music is obvious. Mr. Biss is also a good teacher. He is able to engage me easily with his knowledge of Beethoven's music. I like that he doesn't just talk about Beethoven's sonatas, but also other composer's music if it pertains. Also any of Beethoven's symphonic, or string music is also talked about in relation to the sonatas. Thank you Mr. Biss for sharing with us.

By Richard H

Dec 14, 2017

An ear-opening series of lectures, in which a gifted pianist generously shares his knowledge. Jonathan Bliss concentrates on form, bringing out how the powerful emotional effects of the piano sonatas are in large part due to Beethoven's misuse of sonata form. I worried that listening more intellectually might diminish the sonatas' emotional effects, but the opposite is true: with understanding comes intensification. A profound thank you to all who made this series possible.

By Maria E H

Feb 26, 2017

If you are looking to increase your appreciation of music, and specifically of Beethoven's piano sonatas, this is the course to take! It does not require highly technical knowledge, other than a tiny understanding of harmonic progressions. However, Professor Bliss love and knowledge of Beethoven's music, coupled with his ability to explain its beauty, provides the fuel to push the student to the next level of love and appreciation for classical music.

By Susan L

Oct 23, 2020

Mr. Biss is exceptionally qualified to teach such a course, and it is an absolute pleasure to listen to him share his knowledge and personal experience with the Beethoven sonatas. It goes without saying that he can demonstrate every phrase he refers to immediately on the piano is incredibly helpful as a learning tool and as a great part of the excellence of the course. I look forward to participating in the next course in the series.

By Soorya D

Jun 11, 2020

Thank you so much, Mr. Biss, for teaching me about the Beethoven Sonatas that I love. I personally know the first movements of both the "Pathètique" Sonata and the "Waldstein" Sonata. The way you played, analysed, and described them just gave me a whole new perspective on the piece and blew my mind.

Once again, thank you so much ,and I will watch all the six courses that you have offered!

By Anne E

Aug 5, 2022

You know that feeling when you're lucky enough to get a teacher that you feel is speaking directly to you, that clicks with your brain in ways that make total sense to you, that inspires you with a love for their subject deeper than you had before? That's how this course made me feel. Biss continues to provide insight into these sonatas that feed my brain and my heart. Well done.

By Muskan C

Jun 3, 2020

The first course in this series was brilliant enough to encourage me to continue. This course was even more amazing and Mr. Biss' profound knowledge opens the gates to the very depths of Beethoven's every Sonata. My understanding of the pieces and classical music terms in general have become clearer now and I am sure every music enthusiast would find this course a blessing!

By Carol R

Mar 7, 2020

Jonathan Biss taught me a lot about listening to music. In 14 years of lessons none of my piano teachers ever taught me about chords, etc. On March 24 2020 I am taking my grandson, age 11, to the Perlman Center in Philadelphia to listen to Mr. Biss. This will be my gson's birthday gift. I hope we will get to chat with Mr. Biss after the concert in the green room. Carol Riley

By Joshua L

Jun 3, 2020

Excellent survey of 4 Beethoven masterpieces, Jonathan Biss brings these works to life and who provides a helpful guide to tell us why they are such great and unique pieces. Eloquently delivered. And to make sure that we get it, he devises simple but important questions at the end of each sequence to ensue that we don't lose the thread.Enjoyable.

By Angelina W

Jul 15, 2020

Johnathan Biss is an excellent lecturer from Curtis. This course continues analyzing Beethoven's piano sonatas and goes more in depth with his style as it matures. Prof. Biss' in-lecture demonstrations and lecture notes reinforce the quality of the videos.

By Jerrold S

Feb 11, 2018

Mr. Biss' presentations and playing were excellent throughout. I gained more insight into the sonatas, Beethoven's compositional technique, his life, and music composition in general. I cannot praise this course highly enough!

By Fran K

Sep 1, 2021

Jonathan Biss is an excellent teacher. The course went into tremendous depth and detail. I thoroughly enjoyed his demonstrations on the piano interspered with his dialogue. Thank you for an informative course!

By Ramon M

Oct 2, 2018

I will be revisiting the course since many things require re-re-re-revising over and over again. The way Mr. Biss explains the sonatas is concise and yet manages to bring into words the inexplicable.

By Tom M

Apr 26, 2017

This is an outstanding course due to Mr. Biss' extensive knowledge and passion for the Beethoven sonatas. I can only dream that someday he'll conduct a course on the Beethoven piano concertos too.

By Virginia M

Mar 4, 2021

Beyond my wildest dreams! Mr. Biss is a first-rate teacher, not to speak of his performance skills. My thanks to him, to the Curtis Institute and to Coursera for providing such a wonderful course.

By Jonathan B

Feb 23, 2021

Very interesting and fascinating course about one of the best masters of music ever, Beethoven.

The passion is palpable in Jonathan's teaching and he does it very well. Congratulations!

By Chris B

May 2, 2020

An excellent course beautifully presented by Jonathan Biss. I learned a lot and found it immensely enjoyable. It gave me an appetite to learn more about Beethoven and the sonata form.

By Shayne L

May 7, 2017

Exceptional throughout. Beautifully played, analysed and discussed at both detailed and structural levels with reverence and deep appreciation. Highly recommended.

By Patricia J

May 3, 2022

This course was very informative. I enjoyed listening to the lecturer and doing the quizzes. It encourages me to listen to Beethoven's Sonatas more in depth.

By Jeffrey T N

Jun 6, 2020

Outstanding in-depth analysis. Quiz and exam questions at the right level of difficulty. Thoroughly enjoyed the course, looking forward to Part 3.