He composed his first symphony at the age of 8. His middle name means "loved of God." And Austrian Emperor Joseph II accused his music of having "too many notes." This course is a biographical and musical study of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), who composed more than 600 works of beauty and brilliance in just over 20 years.
Johannes Brahms was a man of contrasts. His serious Teutonic music was balanced by joyful dance music. His miserliness with himself by exceeding generosity with family and associates. His kindness to working people with a biting, malicious wit reserved for those he encountered in artistic and aristocratic circles.
The life of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893) exhibits as close a link as you will find anywhere between an artist's inner world and the outward products of that artist's creative activity. As a man, Tchaikovsky was defined by and indivisible from his music, which became an outlet for all the shifting moods of his turbulent soul. As Professor Robert Greenberg says, "If Tchaikovsky felt it, it found a way into his music."
Almost from the moment it was first set to paper, the music of Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) - technically superb, rich in quality, and widely imitated - has exemplified the Classical style, creating not only the Classical-era symphony but setting the standard, through his own 68 string quartets, against which that form has ever after been judged.
More than anyone before him - more than Beethoven, Byron, even the preternatural Paganini - it was Franz Liszt who created one of the most enduring archetypes of the Romantic era: that of the artist, "who walks with God and brings down fire from heaven in order to kindle the hearts of humankind."
When it comes to creative longevity, brilliance across a range of styles, and near-universal fame, Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971) is nearly unrivaled among 20th-century artists. As told by Professor Robert Greenberg, Stravinsky's career is a dizzying, enthralling progression across the miles and the decades from fin de siècle Czarist Russia to Southern California in the 1960s.
The music of Franz Joseph Haydn (1732–1809) is so technically superb, so widely imitated, and so rich in quality and quantity that almost since the moment of its creation it has exemplified the Classical style. More than any other single composer, it was Haydn who created the Classical-era symphony. And his 68 string quartets? They are the standard by which all other Classical string quartets were and are judged. No less an expert than Mozart wrote that it was from Haydn that he had learned how to write quartets.