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Great Masters: Liszt-His Life and Music

Discover why Franz Liszt was known to be "a continual alternation between scandal and apotheosis."
Great Masters: Liszt-His Life and Music is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 60.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extremely enlightening The story behind Franz Liszt is almost unbelievable. I really am amazed at the accomplishments and life story.
Date published: 2022-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very interesting and informative Very good. I haven't finished viewing it yet, but so far I really like it. I didn't really know about Liszt's live and influences, so I have learned a lot.
Date published: 2022-10-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Liszt Alive! I came to purchase this course not as a historian but as a performer. Many years ago, when I was 13-14 and living in Germany, I had the good fortune to take piano lessons from the student of the student of Franz Liszt. With duets and fingering notations, my teacher took me in a little over a year from being a near drop-out to playing Brahms' First Symphony for piano. As an adult, my piano playing is nowhere near where it used to be, but I do have a Liszt bust sitting on my piano. This all said, I was intensely curious when I saw this Liszt program on sale and had to get it. I must say, despite or because of all of Professor Greenberg's ever-present hand and arm gestures, I don't recall a more energetic and enthusiastic course leader! I certainly learned a lot and especially appreciated the snippets of music (e.g., Campanella) that demonstrated Liszt's prodigious genius. Unfortunately from Professor Greenberg's account, it would appear that Liszt had hundreds of students. So while I know the name of my teacher (Frau Maria Konkowski, RIP), I now doubt I'll ever know the name of her teacher, one of Liszt's many students. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the program. Thanks for having made it one of your offerings!
Date published: 2022-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Professor Greenberg brings so much to Liszt! You will listen to the music differently after hearing this. We have had all of the Great Masters lectures and enjoyed listening to them again while doing jigsaw puzzles during the pandemic. All are excellent! We learned so much & enjoy the music more. Highly recommend for anyone wanting a historical & biographical take on this composer.
Date published: 2022-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Exploration of an Outstanding Composer I purchased this course two months ago and am extremely pleased with my decision. The eight lessons were well organized and overall presented an entertaining and informative of this outstanding and influential composer. As in all other of his courses, Dr. Greenberg was knowledgeable, professional, and entertaining. I have viewed many of his TGC courses and look forward to seeing more of them.
Date published: 2021-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Presentation Greenberg at his best. I am not a 19th century Romantic fan, but his extensive biography has made me curious to explore some of Lizst's music. I know that I am unfortunate in not appreciating the 19th century Romantics, but perhaps this may serve as an entry to enjoying music I have failed to appreciate.
Date published: 2021-11-17
Rated 1 out of 5 by from stand up comedy Greenberg is a comedian, however, when comes to information and sources, he is a mediocre user of wikipedia and online sources. I do understand why people love these lectures, but please understand that this is for amateurs and music lovers, not really for a serious musician. This shouldn't be part of Great Courses, but part of Great Comedy.
Date published: 2021-08-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining and educational Apart from a few factual inaccuracies and mispronunciations, this course was very fun and educational. It is just long enough to give you a good idea of who Liszt was without going too much into detail. Professor Greenberg has a big personality, but once I got used to those little quirks, I really enjoyed the lessons. On to Beethoven now!
Date published: 2021-01-31
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Musically, Franz Liszt is one of the most written about but least understood composers of the 19th century. Join award-winning Professor Robert Greenberg on a fascinating journey to learn the truth about this enduring composer in Great Masters: Liszt&;amp;-His Life and Music. More than anyone before him, it was Liszt who created one of the most enduring archetypes of the Romantic era: the artist "who walks with God and brings down fire from heaven in order to kindle the hearts of humankind." After experiencing Professor Greenberg's lectures, you'll have developed a thorough understanding of the life and legacy of this masterful composer.


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
Le Concert, C'est Moi-The Concert is Me

01: Le Concert, C'est Moi-The Concert is Me

Franz Liszt was an outrageous showman and a performer of musical "firsts." He was a legend before he turned 30, the embodiment of the Romantic era's vision of the artist as god. To understand Liszt, we must first learn a little history of the piano, the instrument he uniquely exploited....

49 min
A Born Pianist

02: A Born Pianist

Liszt was surrounded by music from infancy and began to reveal his musical gifts at about age five. He stunned his teachers and, at his first performance at age 11, astonished reviewers and his audience. When Liszt was 15, his father died, sending Franz into depression and apathy for three years. He was finally blasted out of his lethargy by the July Revolution of 1830....

47 min

03: Revelation

Writers, musicians, artists, and intellectuals flocked to Paris after the July Revolution of 1830. Liszt was a stellar attraction in the Paris salons. In 1833, Liszt met and fell in love with the beautiful, married, and neurotic Countess Marie d'Agoult; they had three children together. A devastating flood in Hungary prompted Liszt to go to Vienna and give a series of benefit concerts. The experie...

46 min

04: Transcendence

Liszt had been immersed in practicing and composing. His approach to composition created a technique of interchangeable fingerings, interlocking hands, and crossed hands that revolutionized piano playing in the 19th century. He had attained a level of virtuosity at the piano that would soon take Europe by storm when he went on tour. His concerts became major events, and he proved himself to be the...

47 min

05: Weimar

Marie believed that Liszt had abandoned her, and she spent the rest of her life trying to blacken his reputation. Liszt retired as a touring concert pianist in 1847, after he met Princess Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein. He took over the orchestra in Weimar and aimed to recreate the city as the hub of European culture. Liszt and Carolyne lived in a spacious house in Weimar and hosted a circle of fr...

46 min
The Music at Weimar

06: The Music at Weimar

Although Liszt was conducting and learning to compose for the orchestra, his heart still belonged to the piano. During this time, he composed one of the greatest keyboard works of the 19th century, the B Minor Sonata for Piano. Liszt's orchestral masterwork of these years is the Faust Symphony, which has modern themes to depict the story of Faust's struggle for his soul. With its completion in 185...

46 min

07: Rome

By the 1850s, Liszt became the focal point of a debate concerning program music versus absolute music and expression versus structure. Twenty years before, Liszt and his fellow young Romantic musicians had a common goal: to create a new music based on individual expression. As they grew older, many became conservative, but Liszt never lost his revolutionary spirit. But brokenhearted by the death o...

46 min
A Life Well Lived

08: A Life Well Lived

Liszt's last 12 years were filled with music, traveling, honors, and a few disappointments. He was hailed as a genius in Hungary and divided his living arrangements among Rome, Weimar, and Budapest. He spent much time teaching and helped to found the Hungarian Royal Academy of Music. His health and energy began to fail him in 1881 and he died in Bayreuth, Bavaria, on July 31, 1886....

45 min