Note: I'm a classically trained musician.
While I was able to follow this with no problem, I had difficulty keeping myself engaged, even with the supplemental materials.
Part of the problem was in the Audible format: it was somewhat difficult to rewind and repeat recordings, which meant I lost patience and stopped bothering after a few sections. Thus, his point was lost, and when he later elaborated, I just didn't care.
I will try this another day, however, and see if I like it better then.
Smetana. I am still reeling over his pronunciation. Smetnah instead of SmehTAHnah. I sat in shock for a full 4 minutes when this section began because I had never heard of Smetna and was embarrassed at myself.
Then I realized it was a funny accent. Come on, dude, Wikipedia's got recording you could use to check your pronunciation. He got Ralph right, at least.
Read the last chapter 2nd. Trust me.
I listened to the work in order and was really frustrated by the heavy emphasis on the old dead white guys from hundreds of years in the past.
"You are the reason the orchestra is dying! WHY ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT BEETHOVEN for THREE episodes? WE ALLLL KNOW ABOUT BEETHOVEN!" and I may have growled every time he repeated a composer.
The last lecture makes up for it, however. Had copyright issues not arisen, I am encouraged to believe much more time would have been spent on recent works. Works that we need to learn about if we want there to be a next generation of great composers at all.
I accept that this is just the nature of the beast, but I really and truly wish we could have listened to the complete works discussed, before or after each lecture. The excerpts were much appreciated, but I'm too lazy to go back and forth between Audible and Rhapsody every time he mentions a work. So my extreme reaction was frustration. It was like reading about art and only seeing small portions of the painting.
I loved the lecturer's obvious passion for the subject and his various silly jokes.
Wish he had chosen to call the class 30 greatest Composers of Orchestral works... but I am pleased with what I got-- it would have done me a LOT OF GOOD had I listened to this before taking Music History or Theory in college -- I remember some truly embarrassing essays I wrote on sonata form.
Obviously this is a classic, and while I have to confess up front that I haven't finished the listen yet, it is a fascinating account from a contemporary.
Be aware, though, that this book does not have 21st century sensibilities as regards homosexuality. Shirer therefore skips discussing anything bad that ever happened to them, and instead focuses on Nazism's original acceptance.
It does make me wonder what else he ignored or glossed over... I'll let you know if I find out.
One other thing, I heard one "Please put in Disk 2," but no others so far-- guess that one slipped through editing for Audible.
I enjoyed the read, but doubt I'll ever read it again.
* Excessive use of the word "slouched"
* Overly predictable story progression
* The assumption that just because a behavior/opinion (in the book, it's anti-smoking) is a fad at the time, that there is no validity behind it.
* Inclusion in the Science-Fiction section
Otherwise, there were several hilarious moments involving office-life and the horrors of interacting with a younger generation. Also, sheep. Flip deserves her own sequel-- I wish she had been a bit more fleshed out in this one, but she is fantastic as a background character.
I intend to look into other Connie Willis books, but I wouldn't suggest this one if you strongly dislike smoking.
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