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Great Masters: Haydn-His Life and Music

Explore the unqualified musical success of Franz Joseph Haydn with an esteemed music historian.
Great Masters: Haydn-His Life and Music is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 73.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good overview A clear and balanced exposition of the life and works of this seminal composer.
Date published: 2024-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thank you once again, Dr. Greenberg, for your very informative presentation. I will be purchasing many of your recommendations.
Date published: 2023-06-21
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Lost me when he compared Haydn to Jello In the first ten minutes of this film, Professor Greenburg has repeated the notion that Haydn and the classical styles are synonymous. I counted six different times he repeated the exact same concept, over and over. Haydn is the greatest composer of his time. To repeatedly referring to his "perfection" seems a bit much. After hearing the beautiful, uninterrupted recordings of Symphony Number 42 and his string quartet, I decided to switch channels.
Date published: 2023-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Delightful As always Prof Greenberg provides information and insight is the most entertaining and instructive way.
Date published: 2022-12-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very thorough Lots of information about Haydn. Would have preferred more stress on the music and less on his personal life.
Date published: 2022-07-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Despite having ordered this course more than 3 weeks ago, and paying an unprecedented A$20.00 for handling and postage here within Australia, the item still has not arrived yet.... Otherwise, I love all the many courses I have bought over many years.
Date published: 2022-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Our favorite of the Great Masters! We knew a bit about Haydn but Professor Greenberg brings his life and music to a whole new level of knowledge for us. We have played his music in community orchestra for years but never delved deeper into his life. GREAT course. We do jigsaw puzzles while listening to the audio lectures. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2022-02-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One of Prof. Greenberg's better courses I don't know how Prof. Greenberg manages to be an expert on every composer and style of music when one considers that musicology, like other subjects, is laden with specialists who are experts in a particular genre, often spending a lifetime studying a narrow field. Nevertheless, and putting aside his usual histrionics, Greenberg provides a worthwhile and sympathetic biographical and musical introduction to one of western civilization's greatest and most prolific, though often less thought about, composers. As a professional musician, I especially enjoy Greenberg's trenchant comments regarding the abuse of musicians and how poorly members of society often treat even the very best of them. As usual, Prof. Greenberg's anecdotes, historical detours and borscht belt wit are characteristic of his overall articulate teaching style, and I do say that with a tinge of jealousy.
Date published: 2022-01-30
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Experience the musical riches of Franz Joseph Haydn, an artist so technically superb that he has come to exemplify the Classical style. In Great Masters: Haydn-His Life and Music, explore the life, works, and legacy of one of the most original and influential composers of all time. Taught by award-winning Professor Robert Greenberg, this course will reveal Haydn's extraordinary achievements not merely as technical feats or displays of pure talent-but as the work of a whole person, a triumph of generosity and the human spirit.


Robert Greenberg

For thousands of years cultures have celebrated themselves through their music. Let us always be willing and able to join that celebration by listening as carefully as we can to what, through music, we have to say to one another.


San Francisco Performances

Dr. Robert Greenberg is Music Historian-in-Residence with San Francisco Performances. A graduate of Princeton University, Professor Greenberg holds a Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of California, Berkeley. He has seen his compositions-which include more than 45 works for a wide variety of instrumental and vocal ensembles-performed all over the world, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, England, Ireland, Greece, Italy, and the Netherlands.

He has served on the faculties of the University of California, Berkeley; California State University, Hayward; and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and has lectured for some of the most prestigious musical and arts organizations in the United States, including the San Francisco Symphony, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Van Cliburn Foundation, and the Chicago Symphony. For The Great Courses, he has recorded more than 500 lectures on a range of composers and classical music genres.

Professor Greenberg is a Steinway Artist. His many other honors include three Nicola de Lorenzo Composition Prizes and a Koussevitzky commission from the Library of Congress. He has been profiled in various major publications, including The Wall Street Journal; Inc. magazine; and the London Times.

You can find more music content from Robert Greenberg on Patreon:

By This Professor

The 23 Greatest Solo Piano Works
Music as a Mirror of History
Great Music of the 20th Century
Symphonies of Beethoven
The 30 Greatest Orchestral Works
How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition
Introduction and Early Life

01: Introduction and Early Life

Haydn's name is synonymous with the Classical style. No other single composer did as much to create and standardize the Classical symphony and quartet. This lecture describes his early years at school and as a choirboy at St. Stephen's Cathedral school in Vienna. In 1749, when his voice broke, he was expelled from St. Stephen's to begin a new life in Vienna at the age of 17....

49 min
The Lean Years and the Pre-Classical Style

02: The Lean Years and the Pre-Classical Style

Haydn eked out a living for years before his compositional career took off. He absorbed the musical traditions of his day: the high Baroque, and the new rococo music of the Enlightenment. This lecture discusses influences on Haydn: the Mannheim orchestra, Italian composer Sammartini as well as Viennese composers Reutter, Monn, and Wagenseil. In 1761, he got the opportunity of his life when he was ...

45 min
Haydn's Marriage and Esterhaza

03: Haydn's Marriage and Esterhaza

Musically, Haydn's development was an unqualified success but marriage to Maria Anna Keller was not. Prince Paul Anton and his successor, Prince Nicholas Esterhazy, were genuine music lovers. Haydn became the court music director with his own orchestra to conduct and write music for. Haydn was "forced to become original."...

45 min
Esterhaza Continued

04: Esterhaza Continued

Life at Prince Nicholas's court at Esterhaza was exactly what Haydn wanted: predictable and calm. Ideas of the new Sturm und Drang cultural movement imbued his music with a greater emotional range. Haydn became famous and wealthy, and he developed a close friendship with Mozart. His music became the template by which we measure the Classical style, perfectly balancing head and h...

45 min
The Classical String Quartet and the Classical Symphony

05: The Classical String Quartet and the Classical Symphony

Haydn's string quartets and symphonies are models of the Classical style. He forged the notion of the string quartet as four individuals who collaborate to create a whole that is greater than its parts. As the years passed at Esterhaza, Haydn's fame grew throughout Europe and England. When Prince Nicholas Esterhazy died in 1790, he accepted the invitation of an English impresario to ...

46 min

06: London

Haydn went to London at the invitation of Johann Peter Salomon, a violinist and impresario. The symphonies Haydn wrote for his London audiences are among his finest. He returned to Vienna in 1792, but his reception there was mild. Moreover, he had lost his great friend Mozart and was soon to lose his old friend Marianne von Genzinger. It could not have been a worse time when the young Ludwig van B...

43 min
Beethoven, London Again, and Breakthrough

07: Beethoven, London Again, and Breakthrough

Beethoven's composition lessons with Haydn were disastrous. Beethoven was discourteous and even duplicitous toward Haydn, although he would later forgive the young and rebellious Beethoven. At his second visit to London in 1794, he was as enthusiastically received as the first time. His 12 London Symphonies, written during both visits, are the crowning achievements of his symphonic output. After h...

45 min
The Creation, The Seasons, and the End

08: The Creation, The Seasons, and the End

As he grew old, Haydn's health began to fail, but he still kept a strict daily routine. He lived in the Viennese suburbs, continuing to receive a steady stream of medals, awards, and honors. He wrote The Seasons, his last major work, which was another extraordinary success. In March 1808, a performance of The Creation was given to a distinguished audience in honor of Haydn's 76th birthday; he died...

47 min