Have you ever felt intimidated or perplexed by classical music?
Curious, but unsure how to dive in?
Newsflash: Just in time for his 250th birthday, Larry's analysis of the first three Beethoven symphonies have been added to the Introductory course as a bonus!
Prepare to face those fears and understand the architecture of music under the delightful instruction of classical music expert, Lawrence Rapchak. With his overflowing passion and sense of humor, Larry provides a concise blueprint through classical music’s most complex masterpieces.
The 11 Introductory programs will show you how Mozart, Chopin, Dvorak and others created their masterpieces and you’ll hear three programs on Minuet, Rondo and Harmony.
In Beethoven Rocks!, Larry takes apart and puts back together again every movement of Beethoven’s nine symphonies. The first six are in the course now with 7, 8 and 9 to be added later. No analysis like this has ever been done before.
Larry Rapchak introduces you to the course.
In these courses you will grow to understand how music works. Larry breaks it all down, providing you with the tools to hear how the architects of classical music built their most adored compositions. Larry guides you into the minds of the masters.
Our Distinguished Team of Architects
Front: (L-R) Berlioz, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Haydn. Back: (L-R) Dvorak, Brahms, Wagner (seated), Liszt, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Chopin.
Illustration: Victor Juhasz
You can apply this knowledge to the music you hear on the radio every day. Impress your family and friends with how developed your ear and musical intellect can become through these courses. You, too, can become a musical architect or, at the very least, someone who can appreciate how music is built, note by note!
- Free introductory program
- All 11 programs for only $20
- Hear how Mozart, Chopin, Dvorak and others constructed their master pieces
- Hear programs deconstructing the Minuet, Rondo and Harmony
- Gain an appreciation for how music works
- Understand why music makes you feel what you feel
- Hear an entire, captivating story, where once you only heard a series of notes
- Accessible for all ages
- Wealth of information for music students and teachers alike
- Great for beginner and seasoned music enthusiasts
- Entertaining analysis of all Beethoven symphonies
- Every movement of every symphony included
- Few programs on these symphonies have ever been done in this fashion
- Understand the techniques and compositional devices Beethoven used to create his masterpieces
- Follow Beethoven as his mastery increased from symphony to symphony
- The first six symphonies (25 programs…the 6th Symphony has five movements…) available now. 7, 8 and 9 to be added later (no additional fee!)
- This is not a biography of Beethoven’s troubled life, it’s a look inside the musical mind of a great genius
What do rhythm, ornithologists, the whack of the guillotine blade, and harmony have to do with each other? Download this free introduction to find out and for an exciting taste of what’s in store for you in the Architects of Music course! Meet your host: the charming and exceptionally knowledgeable Larry Rapchak as he breaks down how he will approach exploring the architecture of classical music’s masterpieces.Preview
2. Mozart: Symphony 34 - Analysis
In this episode, Larry brings us along on a guided tour through the architecture of the 1st movement of Mozart’s Symphony No. 34. Larry opens our minds and ears to hearing the dramatic sequencing, logic and symmetry of this festive piece. Additionally, Larry will help you brush up on your knowledge of musical terminology as he breaks down basic classical music vocabulary complete with its historical relevance at the time this symphony was composed.
3. Mozart Play-by-Play
With this lively play by play, Larry takes us through the 1st movement of Mozart’s Symphony no. 34 in real time. Larry builds upon the previous episode by keeping up with the high-spirited tempo and showing us, moment by moment, the building blocks of this piece. By the end of this play by play, you will see into the architectural foundation of this symphony.
4. Haydn: Symphony 102 - Analysis
In this episode, Larry gives the inside scoop about what precisely was so revolutionary about Haydn’s musical architecture. Larry’s analysis of this magnificent symphony, complete with historical facts about Haydn’s life, allows us to better understand this composer’s mind at work. Larry shows us how Haydn’s use of tonality and harmony reveal an attention to dramatic impact and even to the comedic effects of music. Bonus fun fact to be uncovered by listening: find out why Haydn always composed in his Sunday best!
5. Theme and Variations - Introduction
Larry describes this episode best: it truly is a “real surprise package,” on all things Theme and Variations! Dig into this smorgasbord of material on the building blocks of classical music’s architecture. What is the importance of a good theme - such as Mozart's variations on "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and how is it created? What do the familiar Pachelbel’s canon and the possibly unfamiliar Italian word passacaglia have to do with one another? What the heck does passacaglia mean? Prepare to deepen your understanding of a few, key musical terms in this episode.
6. Theme and Variations, Part Two - Chopin
Put your understanding of theme and variations to work as Larry guides us through Variations for Solo Piano and Orchestra composed by Frederic Chopin in 1827. A composer so revolutionary and adored, when performing his own works on piano, Chopin wouldn’t even be able to hear the orchestra over the audience’s ensuing applause. His grasp of melody, contrast, musical balance, and form make him an absolutely unmissable architect of music, and, in this episode, Larry tells us why.
7. Theme and Variations, Part Three - Dvorak
Meet the great composer, also known as the butcher’s son from rural Bohemia, Dvorak! In this episode, we meet the family of variations that make up Dvorak’s great Symphonic Variations. Larry offers us a roadmap to identify just how Dvorak decorates and evolves a whopping 27 (!) variations on a theme, how each variation is related to one another, but also unique in itself, just like the members of a big, musical family.
8. Theme and Variations, Part Four: Post Game Wrap-Up
As we wrap up our sojourn in the world of theme and variations, Larry completes this education with a sampler of themes and variations through a multitude of musical architects. Impress yourself with the way your ear has already grown to be able to identify the theme imbedded even in the most intricate variations. Really feel the way that you, too, can be emotionally moved by variations on a theme in this concluding episode.
Everyone has heard this word somewhere or another, but do you know what it really means? How the Minuet came to be? Larry helps deepen our knowledge of how this form evolved to be one of the premier styles of popular dance, and how various musical architects approached the delightful minuet. He presents a “gallery of minuets” from the classical era that give us a comprehensive sense of this architectural form, complete with a final piece of surprising trivia that you must listen for at the very end.
In this episode, become aware of the satisfying symmetry of the rondo form. Because of this symmetry, the rondo, though easier to grasp than the sonata form for instance, is equally weighty as one of the primary architectural formations of the classical era. One can even connect the rondo form to the form of popular music we hear today in its recalling of a kind of “chorus”. Larry assists us in building a connection between the minuet and rondo as two premier forms of popular dance music in the classical era.
Proclaiming himself as a “harmony guy,” Larry gives us his personal take on why harmonic language is the first aspect of music to which he is drawn and by which he is emotionally moved. In this episode, he brings us through the significance of the major and minor triad, of various intervals as guiding foundations of harmony, and so much more. Discover how harmony gives both context and shape to all compositions as the “life-blood” of musical architecture.
Beethoven 1st Symphony
Dive into the phantasmagoric world of one of classical music’s premier architects, Ludwig van Beethoven, with this in-depth analysis of his very first symphony. It is fitting that Beethoven premiered his first symphony at the turn of the 19th century because his influence would revolutionize the musical world for the rest of the century and beyond. From the first two chords of the 1st movement one can sense his mastery and rebellious spirit as he opens with a dominant chord, a daring statement that was unheard of for its time. Join Larry for this hour-long analysis of a work that heralded Beethoven’s arrival as one of the greatest symphonic composers in history.
Beethoven 2nd Symphony
In this segment, Larry explains why Beethoven’s 2nd Symphony is one of his favorites (partly, he says, because many skim over its beauty just to get to the Eroica). Larry gives this symphony the attention it deserves as he provides us with insights into the significance of its writing, coinciding as it did with Beethoven awareness that his hearing was beginning to deteriorate. While writing this symphony, he wrote: “My hearing, my most prized possession… (but) I will seize fate by the throat which will certainly not bend and crush me completely.” His 2nd symphony underlines this refusal to give into the onset of his disability and his commitment to his craft. Beethoven himself wrote of this time in his artistic life as his “new path,” and the 2nd symphony shows Beethoven flexing his artistic creativity with a truly revolutionary symphony waiting in the wings.
Beethoven’s 3rd: Eroica
Once again, Larry breaks it all down for us with detailed musical and historical analysis profiling precisely what was so groundbreaking about this work. Larry shows how from the very first two chords of the first movement, Beethoven does away with the “official” symphonic structure known up to this point. In this first movement, Beethoven charges forward confidently utilizing jarring chords along the way. And don’t miss the juicy piece of tongue and cheek humor referencing a popular chocolate and peanut butter candy that you’ll encounter along the way.
Beethoven dedicated his Eroica symphony to Napoleon, the “great liberator” as he was so known at the time. But his attitude of admiration changed when Napoleon made himself the emperor of France. Beethoven, so angered by this proclamation, famously erased the cover page dedication from the score, leaving a mark that can still be seen in the original. This segment takes us into the times of the French revolution; the funeral marches, the public celebrations, the disappointments and the people’s hope. Listen for the funeral procession commemorating the French revolution at the beginning of the 2nd movement and the beating of muffled drums as this movement marches onwards. Feel the shivers down your spine through Beethoven’s colorful, vivid orchestration of this moment in time and Larry’s analysis of how you can see what this time meant to Beethoven through the unfolding of the second movement.
Larry invites you to dive into this scherzo and do your best to keep up as it zips along in triple meter; the full orchestra urging you as listener to keep up. Larry points out the wealth of rhythmic instability which is somehow delicately held together by the orchestra as the music barrels along at incredibly high speed. Enjoy the ride of this segment as Larry guides you along through this heroic work.
In this final movement, Beethoven seemingly does away with logical emotional musical arc (though he has a clear logic in his composition) in this fabulous finale. This movement takes us from funereal gloom to joyful soaring heights to pastoral playfulness and back again. Larry explains how Beethoven goes back to his beloved theme and variations inspiration and surprises us at every turn. Test your abilities to find and follow the themes that Beethoven puts forth and alters again and again as he takes us to new musical, architecturally masterful heights in this grand finale.
It is a shame that the 4th symphony is often overlooked because it truly has an architectural mastery all its own. The 4th symphony begins with a fresh sound: it opens slowly, almost hesitantly, in contrast to the openings of his previous symphonies. Throughout this symphony we are again acquainted with the cherished “ephemeral, cosmic quality” that Larry feels is so pervasive and phenomenal in Beethoven’s music. Haydn’s influence on Beethoven’s work is again made clear in this symphony but especially in the first movement. Haydn was captivated by the developing science of the cosmos and Beethoven was also a man of the enlightenment; captivated by man’s search for knowledge. The symphony often oscillates between militant grandness and attention to the natural beauty in pastoral scenes. The 3rd movement is dedicated to the mastery of the hemiola as motif while the final movement pulls the entire symphony together as perhaps a celebration of the cosmos. Larry’s analysis brings us into the mind of the master architect Beethoven is or, as Larry puts it, the “musical master of the universe!”
The opening movement of the 5th symphony is “known to practically every living being on earth” as Larry reminds us from the start. Larry takes on the task of analyzing Beethoven’s most well-known symphony and the great revolutionary language present in this music. There is so much to enjoy in this detailed analysis from the 1st movement’s driving energy and brilliance as the instruments converse with one another to the triumphant end of the 2nd movement, to Beethoven’s most awesome scherzo to date, to the pro-romantic symbolism of the 4th movement, Larry shows us how the listener slips in and out of the shadowy realm of Beethoven’s creative world throughout this symphony.
This symphony introduces the listener to Beethoven’s life affirming relationship with nature. At the time he wrote, “No one can love the country as much as I do…for surely woods, trees, and rocks produce the echo that man desires to hear.” In this symphony, one might imagine Beethoven attempted this echo himself. The harmonic architecture of this symphony is transformed with the addition of the subdominant chord in the tonic to dominant progression to create hymn-like motifs. Don’t know what those terms mean? Don’t worry—Larry will tell you and even link it to a 1960s top hit by “The Crystals!” Didn’t see that one coming, did you? There is a distinct sense of reverence for nature throughout this symphony. Through attentive listening, Larry helps us envision the pastoral reveries that Beethoven so clearly crafts and to feel the religiosity of spirit with which Beethoven associated with nature. From the flowing brook in the 2nd movement delicately depicted by the 8th notes in the strings to the buildup of the storm in the 4th to the lilting triple meter of the brilliant 5th movement as the shepherds express their thanks for the storm’s passing, this is an action packed segment you will not want to miss!
❝I am excited and looking forward to Larry's lectures. Both as a musician and a scholar, Larry gets into the composer's mind, enriching every single piece in ways that make us understand the meaning of " music as architecture"-not in an academic, boring way but in a civilized and enduring and soaring way.❞
❝I found the intro to be VERY compelling. Although yes, I did know a lot of what Larry said, it was presented in a way in which I found myself thinking that I wish I had something like this available to me as a high school music student, even as a freshman college music student, to enlighten me in a less boring manner than to go through beginning harmony and theory textbooks. Would I have enjoyed this had I not been a music major? Yes, as my first impression of this is not a continuation of but rather a successor to the Bernstein New York Philharmonic "lessons" that I watched on TV as a kid. On to Mozart and other "Architects!"❞
❝Just listened to the introductory segment and it is inspiring! Larry fits so much meaningful information in just 10 minutes and so I 'am now looking forward to listening to all the segments. Thank you Larry for giving me this insightful journey and I love the character artwork too! Terrific concept.❞
❝Larry is explaining the inner workings of these pieces in a wonderful way. I'm eager to hear all of the programs in this course.❞