Though unappreciated in his own time, Johann Sebastian Bach has ascended to Olympian heights, the verdict of contemporary audiences long since overruled by succeeding generations of music lovers. But what makes his music great? In this series of 32 lectures, a working composer and musicologist brings his exceptional teaching skills to the task of helping you hear the extraordinary sweep of Bach's music. You'll understand the compositional language that enabled him to compose such extravagant, unbridled music while still maintaining precise control of every aspect - beat, melody, melodic repetition, interaction, and harmony. Whether devoted admirer or casual listener, you'll gain a new appreciation of the composer and a heightened skill at listening to his work.
You begin by learning the musical traditions and composers that inspired Bach, and how he absorbed those influences to become the transcendent composer of the High Baroque, more representative of the period and its aesthetic of emotional extravagance and technical control than any other. And you'll learn how both his German Lutheran heritage and family background - at least 42 relatives professionally involved with music - helped shape him as an artist.
Above all, though, you experience an abundance of music, with Professor Greenberg highlighting his discussions by playing major excerpts from several of Bach's most important works - including the Brandenburg Concerto no. 2, the Goldberg Variations, and the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor - and also showing you how to compare Bach with other composers both before and after his time.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©1995 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1995 The Great Courses
Apart from one or two Toccata and Fugues, I really could not "hear" Bach. Professor Robert Greenberg has enabled me hear Bach's music, and has turned me into a Bach enthusiast. Professor Greenberg is a gifted lecturer who imparts both knowledge and enthusiasm for his subject. He is also a charismatic lecturer. I am so glad the Great Courses have been added to Audible. They are not only educational, they make a refreshing change from current fiction of all genres, which for the most part has become predictable and mostly uninteresting.
Johann Sebastian Bach, because of his prodigious talent and productivity. Bach's life is a clear demonstration that genius can be applied to the demands of the workaday life.
Professor Robert Greenberg himself as the lecturer. He combines depth of knowledge with enthusiasm and a polished presentation style. Always interesting.
Yes, but it is way to long, and the subject matter to meaty to be listened to in a single sitting. This is an audio product that I will listen to over and over again.
I plan to use my upcoming credits on more lectures by Dr. Greenberg. Fiction has become too boring.
webmaster - technical writer
Absolutely. Not only do I get to enjoy my favorite Bach pieces, but I get to learn about Bach, his background, the baroque era and musical styles and theories. And: with the help of modern technology, I get to listen to this superb course while gardening or performing household chores. I listened first to this course over stereo bluetooth headphones or speakers and that inspired me to order cables to run the sound through my Bose systems so I can listen wherever I am. I have already repeated many sections just because I enjoy the music and the professor's discussion so much that I hate to move on and want the course to last as long as possible.
The obvious comparison would be other books in the The Great Courses series, either the broader survey courses or the specific genre courses (symphony, concert, jazz, etc). There are not that many books that offer both music samples as well as discussions about the music, composer, and the background of both.
His enthusiasm, sense of humor, examples, but most of all, his judicious selection of music samples and detailed discussed of the samples. He is very down to earth and has a very pleasant voice.
I thought I had died and gone to heaven within the first few minutes of listening. My favorite music, favorite composer, great sound, and a friendly, intelligent voice to discuss it all. This is the most worthwhile book credit I ever used.
I can't wait to proceed with the Great Courses series.
I am only 25% in and I have to write a short review. If you have even a passing interest in Bach, this will magnify your enjoyment of the music! I can tell this is going to be one of my favorite non fiction listens in 5 years of Audible.
When Audible first listed The Teaching Company Great Courses, many reviewers lamented (or complained) that the Study Guides were not included. I was just grateful to at least have these wonderful college-level courses for audio download through Audible.
Now the Study Guides are included in PDF format, making a great deal even greater! Thanks Audible and The Teaching Company!
Say something about yourself!
Oh Bach! How have I been able to live without your music until now. Thanks to prof. Greenberg for his informative, passionate and moving explanations of Bach's work. Just like Bach's music itself, this course is a timeless performance.
Professor Greenberg's able, lucid explanations of the components of various Bach pieces and why they are so brilliant, actually allowing us to hear the brilliance for ourselves.Also, that I was able to hear so many wonderful pieces of the Baroque era (and some Renaissance pieces for contrast) with an expert to show me their beauty.
1. Hearing Bach's famous Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (the most famous piece he wrote--often played in movies, in an unfortunate stereotype, by a villain at a giant pipe organ) and understanding EXACTLY why it is SO thrilling to hear and will last for time immemorial. 2. Listening through the St. Matthew Passion with an expert's guidance--especially the turba choruses ("Let him be crucified!"). I've never had a piece of music--sans video--move me so much.3. Understanding the genius of the Goldberg variations. WOW. So much to learn there. Unending implications and aspects....
Gotta be the whole section on the Toccata in D Minor as mentioned above. This was the first time I EVER felt like I understood an indescribably beautiful piece of music as it was meant to be understood. Priceless!!!!
Oh, boy, I would have loved to! But it took me three weeks, I think.
Greenberg is a tremendous professor. That's an understatement. He repeats things just enough times so you don't forget, but not to a discomforting level. He's got a great sense of humor. He's got an easy voice to listen to. He uses words carefully but easily. Awesome guy for this course. He's got 10 or so others in The Great Courses that I look forward to hearing eventually as well.
While I enjoyed these Bach lectures, I didn't like them as much as the Stravinsky and Shostakovich lectures by Greenberg because of a surfeit of Music 101. There were times when I wish he would have said, "Anyone who ever took Music Theory and got a C+ or better can skip to the next lecture." But I guess when you're talking about Bach you can't assume everyone knows how a fugue works or what secondary dominants are or how many strings are on a violin. In spite of all that, Greenberg's presentation of the Goldberg Variations was fabulous, and I will listen to those four lectures again. Greenberg is a charming lecturer, and you want to invite him over for beers and small talk about Bartók.
Is there anyone else out there who like me has always appreciated Bach's music? I consider Bach one of the absolutely best classical composers (alongside Beethoven), and his music has always inspired me and provided great satisfaction.
If you have that background, this is really something for you. The courses are insprining and the narrator is enthusiastic about his topic, and he knows it very well. I advise you to listen one course at the time, then listen to some Bach music in between and then go on to the next course. If you try to take in all at the same time, it will be too much.
One thing that bugs me, however, is that professor Greenberg does not know how to pronounce Bach's name, at least not to a listener who like me speaks German. His consistent incorrect (=American) pronounciation ("Bock") could lead to the wrong conclusion that the good professor does not know what he is talking about. But he does and he is good at it, even though his German is deplorable (his Italian and French are possibly worse). A little language exercise: try to figure out who the composers "Wiwolde" and "Cooperand" are? (That is the way these baroque composers names are pronounced in this book).
So a really good course is tainted by bad language. However, if you can live with that, don't hesitate to buy this.
The professor is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about music and Bach. I'd recommend anyone who's interested in classical music to go through this lecture to learn about the high Baroque music and Bach's techniques in composition.
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