Close up look at the evolution of the recorded business over the past 30 or so years. Lots of great detail on personalities, as well as interesting events. I've been listening to Audible for 14 years, and the narration performed by Dennis Boutsikaris was, by far, the best reading I've ever heard. The content was 5 star. The narration was 7 star.
Mark Kurlansky did a great job of weaving the song into the history and social fabric of the day. Lots of great "factoids" and stories throughout, which provided a potent glimpse into Berry Gordy, Motown, the artists and the politics of the day. Super narration too.
This was one fantastic audiobook! This is part of the the Great Courses lecture series and if you order it through Great Courses it would cost about $300. However, if you order it through Audible.com, it costs one credit, which is about $14.00. the only difference is that you don't receive the written course material, which might have come in handy on occasion but is not necessary to enjoy this incredible experience.
So what is this great experience? It is nothing short of a 48 lecture course on, exactly as promised, how to listen to great music! Each lecture is 45 minutes, so that adds up to about 40 hours of listening time... quite a commitment. Robert Greenberg is a music professor who seems like the type of person that if you met him at party you would feel like you knew him your whole life. His enthusiasm for music is contagious. He is a great story teller and has a way of describing music in such a way that "it sticks".
Like most great teachers, he tells you what he is going to teach, teaches it, then summarizes what he just taught. As he frequently says, music is a mirror of the time, so he adds historical insight into the description of the music. He doesn't try to cover everything, that would be impossible, but takes a longitudinal approach, beginning with the ancient world and quickly moves forward to the baroque,classical and romantic period. In the process he defines musical vocabulary that conductors, composers and music producers seem to think we all understand but don't. In the process he not only clarifies our ability to perceive what the composer's intent was in the creation of the music, but also helps us to understand their brilliance in making complexity seem so simple. You could say the same thing about Professor Greenberg himself... New Jersey native that he is, he has not lost his direct and irreverent manner of speaking, even while living in California.
He is the only person who convinced me that I should really give opera a chance... I did... and sad to say... I still don't enjoy listening to the vocals, much as I like the orchestration. Each to his own, I guess.
I would definitely order another one of these (he has many..). Makes for a much more enjoyable car ride.