The Legend of Beethoven

1 day or 4 weeks

Ludwig van Beethoven, 1820

For over two hundred years, Beethoven’s music has spoken to us and moved us in ways no previous composer had ever achieved. Born at a pivotal point in European social and musical history, he took the conventions of the classical period and moulded them into the beginnings of Romanticism in music. This one-day course will tell the tragic and inspiring story of Beethoven’s life, richly illustrated with pictures, readings, and the music of this great composer.

Course Outline

Session 1

  • Beethoven’s Place in History
  • Beethoven’s Musical Style
  • Historical and Social Background: The Classical Period
  • The Pathetique Sonata

Session 2

  • The First Period (1770-1802)
  • Moonlight Sonata and the Pathetique
  • Beethoven's deafness
  • The Heiligenstadt Testament (1802)
  • The Moonlight Sonata
  • Early symphonies and concertos

Session 3

  • The Second Period (1802-1816)
  • The Eroica Symphony
  • The Fifth Symphony
  • The Sixth "Pastoral" Symphony
  • Fur Elise
  • The Fifth Piano Concerto "Emperor"
  • The Violin Concerto
  • The Immortal Beloved

Session 4

  • The Third Period (1816-1827)
  • Missa Solemnis
  • The late string quartets
  • The Hammerklavier Sonata
  • The Choral Symphony

Music we will listen to includes:

  • The “Moonlight” Sonata
  • The “Pathetique” Sonata
  • The “Hammerklavier” Sonata
  • Fidelio
  • The Violin Concerto
  • Piano Concerto No. 5 (‘Emperor’)
  • The Fifth Symphony
  • The Pastoral Symphony
  • The Choral Symphony, Ode to Joy
  • The Diabelli Variations
  • The Missa Solemnis
  • Für Eilse
  • The Rasumovsky Quartets
  • The Archduke Trio
Book cover The Legend of Beethoven

Buy the course notes for this class

In hard copy book form, through Lulu Press
$18 + postage


“Meticulous preparation and excellent presentation with interesting historical background and delightful musical interludes”

“I knew very little about Beethoven as a person. I have learned about his life and how it is reflected in his music, and also a lot more about his music”

“I thought the course was very well presented and gave us much general knowledge, also historical, as well specific details about Beethoven. Slides and recordings also added much value as did the detailed course notes and also the presence of a piano.”

“Extremely worthwhile day, well paced/varied. (As an ex-teacher, the presentation was much appreciated!)”

“The course was excellent – very informative. Thank you so much Susan – loved every minute!”

“A truly excellent teacher – a brilliant day. Thankyou.”

About Susan Deas

Susan Deas is a professional musician, lecturer and teacher. She has been teaching music appreciation courses for more than twenty years, through Sydney University’s Centre for Continuing Education, WEA Sydney and at other venues. Her training includes a Bachelor of Music with a major in Performance (Piano) and Musicology, a Master of Music Studies (Studio Pedagogy), a Bachelor of Arts (Communications), and an A.Mus.A in Musicianship. Susan teaches piano and music theory to adults and children, and plays piano and organ at various venues around Sydney. Susan is an accredited piano teacher and musicianship teacher, and is on the Council of the Music Teachers’ Association of NSW.

More about Susan’s qualifications

Read what people have said about Susan’s other courses

Susan’s other music courses