Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas Part 2

Curtis Institute of Music via Coursera


Welcome to Part 2 of Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas!

I'm delighted to launch another set of new lectures of this course as Part 2. As before, this class is meant for people of all levels of experience with Beethoven's music (including no experience at all!). Remember that you are able to watch the lectures as many times as you like, at whatever pace is comfortable for you.
As I’ve done with the first set of Beethoven lectures, I look forward to meeting with students—online and in person, in various cities. The dates and locations will be posted in the Announcements and Events section, as part of the course content. So please remember to check back there for details.

In these four new lectures, we will explore the following sonatas:
• Sonata Op. 2, No. 3
• Sonata Op. 13 (“Pathetique”)
• Sonata Op. 53 (“Waldstein”)
• Sonata Op. 90

The Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation supports Curtis’s lifelong learning initiatives.


  • Welcome to Class!
    • We’re happy that you’ve joined us for Part 2 of Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas course! This course is considered Part 2, with a brand new and separate set of lectures. In Part 2, we will cover Beethoven's Piano Sonatas Op. 2, No. 3, Op. 13 ("Pathetique"), Op. 53 ("Waldstein") and Op. 90 . Please remember that it doesn't matter if you have taken the first part of the previous Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas course. You can jump in here with Part 2 and start learning right away. And if you'd like, you always have the option of going back to take Part 1 of the original course at any time. The items you see here will enable you to get the most out of Part 2 of the course. Please note that there are previous offerings and resources as part of Part 1, and we encourage you to reference those additional items as well.
  • Op. 2, No. 3
    • The course kicks off with Beethoven's Op. 2 No. 3, an exuberant work full of youth and ambition. The work was a huge statement for 26-year-old Beethoven, and in this lecture Mr. Biss examines how Beethoven starts to innovate the sonata as a musical form, even in his very first opus for the solo piano. In doing so, we'll also lay some groundwork for the next few sonatas to be covered in the course.
  • Op. 13, "Pathetique"
    • The course continues with Beethoven's Op. 13 Sonata, nicknamed the "Pathétique." Known for its high drama and pathos, the "Pathétique" is a gem from Beethoven's early period and is one of Beethoven's most popular piano sonatas. In this lecture, Mr. Biss uncovers how Beethoven achieves these intense characters within the context of a classical sonata.
  • Op. 53, "Waldstein"
    • The Op. 53 Sonata, nicknamed the "Waldstein," is a monumental achievement and a cornerstone of the piano repertoire. In this lecture, Mr. Biss explains how Beethoven breaks apart conventions in harmony and form to write one of the most adventurous and thrilling compositions of his middle period.
  • Op. 90
    • The final sonata in this course is Beethoven's Op. 90. As Beethoven had not written a piano sonata for five years prior to the composition of Op. 90, Mr. Biss examines this work as a beginning of a late, mature style and a harbinger of great things to come. We will also uncover how Beethoven, ever the innovator, manages to elevate the sonata form into a new, unfathomable realm.
  • Listening to the Sonatas
    • To supplement your learning during the course, enjoy free access to several of the Jonathan's Beethoven Sonatas recordings.
  • Feedback Please!
    • We hope you enjoyed the course. Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us.

Taught by

Jonathan Biss


5.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

5 rating at Coursera based on 161 ratings

Start your review of Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas Part 2

  • Anonymous
    Wonderful class! Mr. Biss is an excellent teacher (and performer) and provides wonderful insights into the Beethoven sonatas, helping the student better understand an appreciate the works.

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Someone learning on their laptop while sitting on the floor.