Great music is a language unto its own, a means of communication of unmatched beauty and genius. And it has an undeniable power to move us in ways that enrich our lives - provided it is understood.
If you have ever longed to appreciate great concert music, to learn its glorious language and share in its sublime pleasures, the way is now open to you, through this series of 48 wonderful lectures designed to make music accessible to everyone who yearns to know it, regardless of prior training or knowledge. It's a lecture series that will enable you to first grasp music's forms, techniques, and terms - the grammatical elements that make you fluent in its language - and then use that newfound fluency to finally hear and understand what the greatest composers in history are actually saying to us.
And as you learn the gifts given us by nearly every major composer, you'll come to know there is one we share with each of them - a common humanity that lets us finally understand that these were simply people speaking to us, sharing their passion and wanting desperately to be heard. Using digitally recorded musical passages to illustrate his points, Professor Greenberg will take you inside magnificent compositions by Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Verdi, Wagner, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, and more. Even if you have listened to many of these illustrative pieces throughout your life - as so many of us have - you will never hear them the same way again after experiencing these lectures.
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses
Robert Greenberg is fabulous as an instructor. His insights instruct and enlighten with humor and grace. I have listened to all of his great composer series.
How to listen to great opera is also very intertaining.
His enthusiasm for the subject and his encouragement that we expose ourselves to music.
Listen to all his lectures you will be enlightened and have wonderful journey into the lives of these great composers.
I started listening to Dr. G about three months ago. I started with his masterworks lecture and then switched to this how-to-listen lecture. Along the way I’ve listened to lectures on composers or forms when they fit chronologically and/or when I needed more information before moving on. I’ve wondered what I should listen to next—and as I write this review, I know. My next area of ignorance is symphonies. Dr. G got me through concertos and sonatas so before I go back to masterworks, I’ve got to understand symphonies.
This has been such a surprising journey—I've learned so much about history and cultures of different countries and people and ideas and I've enjoyed so much music. More music than when I started—I even listen to Beethoven and Bartok now!
The way it was presented. it was very well organized and full of interesting information about the composers and the music itself. I especially liked the way he related the music to the historical background.
none that I have read.
his enthusiasm and his sense of humor. I loved listening to his way of presenting what might have been a dry series of lectures. I kept saying while listening "what a great lecturer!" He certainly changed my way to listen and understand music.
he referred many times to a booklet accompanying the audio. I know this has been mentioned by other reviewers, so I add my voice to previous requests on the subject
That's great music?
(does that count as three?)
When I was a very young being (yes, before the war ...) I was convinced that, one day, within the span of my lifetime, I would be able to understand why "that guy in the orchestra is threatening the girl with a stick - and if he is not, why the heck she doesn't stop screaming".
This course has fulfilled one of my great wishes: To understand what some people consider "great" with that "old" music. For this I am grateful. Really, deeply, honestly grateful. I found an approach to Mozart (and more important composers) that I would not have considered possible (since I don't find Mozart's music that impressive - although I LOVE orchestral music).
What I still do not get is: Why this music types should be considered "greater" than any (and I mean: ANY) other type of professionally composed, orchestrated, conducted and played music. While I do "understand" now, what some people find interesting in Mozart, Wagner(?!) or Schönberg, the examples provided in the course weren't able to demonstrate the "greatness" of the music (or their composers) to me. Sorry. I like some stuff of it, I dislike others - but I frankly don't care if it is "great" music or just "good" music, if it tells me something and moves me.
Ok: Just take "great" out of the title and this course is a "no-brainer" (how strange that expression seems ...). Get it. Listen to it. I did - I did not skip a singe minute.
I would, can and already have done several times: Recommend this course to ANYONE who feels even the slightest interest in "understanding that kind of music". The course is approachable, understandable, moving, pulls you with it, gives ideas and inspirations for "further listening" and, not the least point, each lecture ends before it gets too hard to keep up with the enthusiasm of Prof. Greenberg!
I really loved the ideas about how Mozart might have reacted to later music compositions, although I somewhat doubt he would have done it the way presented here. Still, the idea of how he might have felt is very believable.
The sheer length of the course doesn't make listening to it in one "tour de force" unlikely. Besides, you need time to think through, iterate over and "try out" what you heard. You have to listen to different (in many cases: better) recordings of the music excerpts presented.
This book is for people interested in the matter - not for people wanting to get "smart" by listening to a course and "be done".
A complex course and shortened overview over such a huge matter as it is presented in this course cries for discussion. There are many, many things that I can not agree on with Prof. Greenberg (having some historical education myself). Examples would be the role the (Christian) Church has played according to Mr. Greenberg in regards to preserving art (his point of view) instead of actively destroying it or concentrating it on a minimalistic "mainstream" (mine).
A point that Prof. Greenberg seems to love is "musical typology is driven by spoken language", which does make sense to some extend. The examples of (German) spoken language he presents don't resemble typical "German" to me, though. One could be mean and counter with "Well, if what Prof. Greenberg says is true, then typical contemporary American music must be ugly, arhythmic, stuttering - because that is the way that I speak American". German does have variations (dialects) and even sub-types. German has not been the "language of art" through all centuries, so basing musical typology on "German" as an American speaks it today is irritating at best.
Sure - nitpicking I am. These are just examples of topics I would like to discuss, which, unfortunately, does not work in a one-way-communication like this course. There are many hickups begging to be pointed out, yet, none of these render the course any less worthy.
Get it. Listen to it. Open up a world you did not think interesting or worth examining ever before!
(Well, if you DID understand classic, romantic and whatsnotic music before, you probably bought the course for the fun of being doped with ecstasy for the topic by the tutor, didn't you?)
Professor Greenberg delivers a well produced and enjoyable set of lectures full of information, wit and enjoyment. His ability to interest the mind and to connect the listener with the construct is amazing. I enjoyed every minute.
He made each piece of music come to life and illustrated the teaching objective very well.
I am better for listening!
Bob Greenberg is very entertaining and charismatic. What I especially liked about this book is the biographies of the composers that you get with the music... and the music! There are great music samples throughout. The only reason I knocked a star off is because it does get a little tedious at times. I actually stopped listening for a while and listened to another book, but I did come back and finish it.
This course is thorough without being overwhelming. It contains interesting antidotes which give the information personality. The benefit of the audiobook format is being able to listen to the selections of the music being discussed.
This is the first "Great Courses" selection that I've made, but this one has piqued my interest in purchasing other Great Courses.
I cannot choose a "favorite" section. There are so many sections that gave me the sense of traveling through time to "witness" the culture and social structure of the period influencing each category of music.
The narrator, Professor Robert Greenberg, is very entertaining. This was important because the course is 33 hours long.
The only improvement I would suggest is a companion quiz or exam to test how well I've retained all of the information.
Ahhhh this is fantastic. I can learn as I walk & do other things. I think this audible version specially with the entertaining way that professor Greenberg presents the lectures is the best way to approach this course. It has brought meaning to a world that I could not ever imagine to understand.
None. This is unique.
No But I have purchased his other audible books and can't wait to dive into opera.
Music made easy
As one of the viewers mentioned, thank you for making this wealth of information affordable for the masses (the enlightenment of masses). I truly wish you would develop and add more material to this section. I find professor Greenberg's style very appealing. His background historical information drives the point home and gives the information a textural depth that would come across very dry in a historical written work. I only wish you could provide supplementary course material as well. I am happy to pay for it.
The contextualization of music development with social, religious, and political events/
I would have today ch 31. I will never listen to Beethoven's 5th in the same way!
Music history is one of the fields of knowledge which I have never had any exposure to. (Shame on the public school system!) I was afraid it would be dry and inaccessible, but this has been a very fun listen and I will listen to more of the same.
When I got so lost in the lecture that I had to slam on the brakes to avoid committing a major traffic violation while driving.
Somewhere in the middle of this course I realized that Professor Robert Greenberg wasn't lecturing, he was performing. He has a knack for knowing just when the material is getting dry and taking funny little detours to wake up your mind again.
There are laugh out loud moments in these lectures.
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