The recent addition of the "Great Courses" is, for me like an invitation to a great feast! Starting with this unbelievable "dish". Robert Greenberg is a great teacher. I have no musical training or ability, just appreciation, but I can now hold my own in a discussion of music and composers. Prof. Greenberg is able to put music in a historical context as well as the personalities of the composers. His excitement for telling the "story" draws you in and keeps you wanting more. You may find yourself wanting to learn more about the history of a country, the food, the literature, etc, just because you had a taste of the music. There is truly nothing better than a great "story" well told! I am so pleased the Teaching Company has found and featured world class instructors so you and I can enjoy the learning! And I am overjoyed they are now available at Audible! I just can not say enough about this awesome course, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Wish you knew even more about the back story, you will love this book. I listened to this book in two sittings, and would have enjoyed more. A glimpse into the way art is "made" or not. I especially loved the story about the "old guy and his treasures". This is a day in the life of a treasure hunter and how he goes about the discovery, and more besides. Sit back and enjoy.
Painter, musician, bibliophile...
If you had crossed Bizet's path in 1875, the year "Carmen" was first staged, you would have met with a plump, bespectacled Frenchman who was forever nibbling sweet delicacies. But while you might overlook this unassuming person, you could not have ignored his music.
From early childhood, Bizet possessed prodigious talent. In the Conservatoire at nine, and winning every prize going, he worked his magic on a variety of instruments. At the age of 19, he won the Prix de Rome. With innate musical taste, judgment, and imagination, he stands above his contemporaries.
As this program points out, Bizet was no "one trick pony." He'd written most of his work before anyone had heard of "Carmen," and some of this sadly neglected work deserves rediscovery and appreciation, such as his opera "The Pearl Fishers."
Harold Schonberg wrote, "Carmen is an opera of passion, power, and truth, infinitely superior to the carefully arranged, prettily served canapés of Gounod and Massenet. They were skilled professionals. Bizet was a genius."
Tchaikovsky and Brahms were fans of "Carmen," too. Wagner, having heard it, said of Bizet, "At last, for a change, someone with ideas in his head!"
All this makes it the more stunning that this perennial favorite did not meet with immediate success. "Carmen" was called "immoral," and accused of being (even worse) "Wagnerian."
In this excellent program, David Timson brings the spectacle of "Carmen" vividly to life, with reference to many important excerpts, the fast and furious scene changes demanded by the complex action, and so much more.
If you're fortunate enough to be going to see the opera or just want to understand it better while you listen at home, you can't go wrong with this exploration of "Carmen essentials."
This was the first opera I heard (at the age of nine) and it left me forever in love with opera itself. My French wasn't under firm control, and I couldn't really understand everything that was happening, but that music! I have never forgotten it. Such is the power of Bizet.