Louis (Ludwig) van Beethoven (1770-1827) was product of a violently dysfunctional upbringing. In the fall of 1802, at just the time his name and fame were beginning to spread across Europe, he suffered a suicidal depression. Through equal parts self-delusion and sheer will, Beethoven managed to reinvent himself personally and artistically as a hero battling fate itself. Thus armed, he emerged from his funk in early 1803, and proceeded to create a body of work unlike anything anyone had ever before imagined. Central to Beethoven’s new compositional vision was his conviction that his music be a vehicle for profound self-expression: his therapist’s couch. This program will explore Beethoven’s life and times and will then focus on his Symphony No. 5 as an example of how a piece of instrumental music can become—literally—a highly personalized confessional.
*Sessions may be edited for content and to preserve confidentiality*
ROBERT GREENBERG, PHD, is an American composer, pianist, and musicologist. He has composed more than 45 works for a variety of instruments and voices and has recorded a number of lecture series on music history and music appreciation for The Teaching Company. Greenberg has received numerous awards, including three Nicola De Lorenzo Prizes in composition, and three Meet the Composer grants. Additionally, he has received commissions from the Koussevitzky Foundation of the Library of Congress, the Alexander String Quartet, XTET, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. He has lectured for some of the most prestigious musical and arts organizations in the U.S. and is the resident composer and music historian for National Public Radio’s “Weekend All Things Considered.” He also hosts the "Saturday Morning Series" (a lecture combined with performances) with the Alexander String Quartet.