Free Online Course on Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
The course will last five weeks, with an anticipated workload of 12 hours a week. Jonathan Biss studied at Indiana University and at the Curtis Institute of Music, and he has embarked upon a multi-year project to record all Beethoven's piano sonatas.
Biss states: "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 . . . Its main aim is to explore and demystify the work of the performer, even while embracing the eternal mystery of Beethoven's music itself."
There are no prerequisites or assigned textbooks. For those who wish to dig deeper, Biss recommends the recorded performances of Arthur Schnabel and Richard Goode (footnote 1); biographies of Beethoven by Thayer and Lockwood; Beethoven's letters; and Charles Rosen's musicological analyses.
Students who successfully complete the online course will receive a Statement of Accomplishment. Registration information can be found at www.coursera.org.
Footnote 1: In related news, remastered versions of Canadian pianist Robert Silverman's complete set of Beethoven sonatas, which Stereophile editor John Atkinson recorded in 2000 and are long out of print, are available for download at 99 cents per track. File formats available are MP3, MP3-320, and FLAC.