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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses
This was the best audible book I ever listened to. It's one of those books I plan to listen to again. I feel like it made me a better person. I can't say enough about it and have been sending the link to this to all my friends. Everyone I know has had the same reaction.
Great Courses, yes. Professor Greenberg, no.
The early chapters spent far too much time on very minor issues on music that didn't help one iota in learning different genres of music. When Professor started covering Pythagoras and his geometric theorem on a note I thought I'd run off the road out of boredom.
Give an overview in the beginning of what you intend to cover; tackle each major genre of music and don't worry about presenting a historical chronological story of how a note started to the 16 or so different pieces of a Mass. This reader wanted to learn about each genre of music, i.e. how to identify them and appreciate them. I didn't want to understand the history of how music started at a doctorate level.
Most of it.
I'd scrap it and start over.
At last a music history course, and I didn't even know I wanted one! Now I want more, and recommend this class to anyone who'd like to round out understanding of the arts. At first the narrator/writer annoyed me some, too chummy, but I got over that and grew to appreciate his earthy style and manner.
This course ties together history, people, music, and art. The world of concert music is open to me now; I have a framework and background that makes concert music sound like more than pretty sounds. In the meantime, I learned a lot about European history; fitting the history with the music helps both stick in my head. And I learned a lot about teaching - the structuring of this course is masterful. It returns to the same pieces to show new angles, it weaves individual composers into tapestries of influences and revolutions and evolution of sound.
This is, indeed, a performance.
I listened to no more than one lecture per day. You need a quiet place or noise-cancelling headphones to hear the music samples properly.
I need to capture the details better so I need to re-listen and follow along with the text in order for the information to become a permanent part of my knowledge base.
I know of no other book that contains the entirety of this information and therefore it is incomparable.
This is my first listen to Professor Greenberg
Never. Its not possible unless you are tied to a tree and spoon fed for 45 lectures. Who might even consider that anyway? These courses are not created with that idea in mind.
I learned so much about the history of music, the language of music, and the evolution of music and why my western ears feels comfortable with music in its present form and why I enjoy the music that I do. I feel edified as a result of the read/listen. I would hope everyone gets to listen to these lectures.
I learned a lot about how to dissect music.
Professor Greenberg's impassioned defense of early 20th century music. And, my friends, I mean IMPASSIONED!
It was interesting throughout.
Prof. Greenberg needs to learn what the phrase "begs the question" means.
Explication of "music as a mirror" reflecting culture of its creator.
Yes, Bach & High Baroque. This one's a bit more informal/popular.
That would be pretty tough!
I've listened through this course three times now over the years, and learned more from it each time. A few comments:
(1) Greenberg well deserves the accolades he receives for his work with the Teaching Company. Never dull, he has honed this course in particular (this is the 3rd edition!) to a razor-sharp edge to make it thoroughly engaging.
(2) I'm a Christian and Bob Greenberg is a secular humanist, so I would occasionally differ with his take on this or that. That said, Greenberg does do, I believe, a good and evenhanded job covering the history of Western music.
(3) I appreciated the balance of highlighting the most historically significant composers, and thought that Greenberg's selection of pieces to highlight was judicious. As well, he doesn't simply play and comment on a given piece, then leave it behind; often, a given piece will resurface later in the lecture series as Greenberg compares it to music of later eras.
(4) I've noticed several reviewers have said that the accompanying notes were missing. That may perhaps have been the case at the time of those reviews, but the notes are included in pdf format at this time. I had a little bit of a hard time finding them, but an Audible rep helped me.
(5) I had considered incorporating this course into our family's homeschool curriculum. However, though not prevalent, there are a number of risque/off-color comments and jokes as the course progresses, and parents should be aware of this. The course as a whole seems to be aimed to a college-level audience, and the comments/jokes reflect this.
(6) Listening to this course over a relatively short time period (say, a month) really highlights the changes in musical composition over time, especially over the last half a millennium. In conjunction with his first lecture on "music as mirror," Greenberg will often discuss how given changes in music reflect changes in thinking in the broader culture.
(7) I appreciated how Greenberg engages secondary literature at times; very judiciously (not excessively), he incorporates comments of modern musical authorities about the piece or composer under discussion. As well, he will often incorporate comments from contemporaries of a given composer, which is helpful.
The value I place on this series is reflected in the fact that I've listened through it three times over the years. For those interested in shifts in church music in particular over the span of time, and the connection of those shifts with philosophical trends, I also highly recommend Quentin Faulkner, Wiser than Despair: The Evolution of Ideas in the Relationship of Music and the Christian Church (1996). It is not an easy read, but it richly rewards the reader.
"A treat for ears and heart"
Yes, although this is quite a loaded question. When talking about music the ability to listen to the actual pieces being discussed is infinitely better than reading about what the notes sound like.
Hearing Guillaume de Machaut's "Quant en moy" from the 14th century - it captivated me almost instantly and Greenberg's wonderful way of explaining it made me realise there is so much to music from previous ages I have little or no knowledge about.
Not really applicable as this is no fictional "book". However, Professor Greenberg is the key to the whole course. His enthusiasm for the subject is embedded in every lecture and without him it would simply not work. Perfect mix between detail, humor and lecturing.
I might want to but at 48 lectures it is simply too long! Also, pauses are highly recommended to reflect on the various topics.
Even though 48 lectures might sound daunting at first, I would recommend this course to anyone interested in learning more about (concert) music. What makes this course work is not just the way it is structured - leading through the history of music from ancient times to the early 20th century - but most of all the enthusiastic lecturer, Robert Greenberg.
I found it a joy to listed to him and am now actively seeking out composers such as Josquin des Prez or Guillaume de Machaut. Before this course I had never heard of either of them. But also well known pieces become much more "understandable" (Beethoven's 5th, Hayden's symphonies, even Schoenberg!).
Greenberg follows the simple (sounding) principle that music is a mirror of its time; he uses this guideline to explain music throughout the ages.
It is not a cheap audiobook but this is where a credit becomes the payment of choice!
"Entertaining and Informative"
I was slightly apprehensive about downloading this course of 48 lectures. Would I be able to complete them all? Would they be too technical for a non-musician? I needn't have worried. Robert Greenberg is a wonderfully entertaining narrator whose enthusiasm for the music he is discussing is infectious and whose humorous asides and witty anecdotes often made me laugh out loud. The course is never boring. It helps one to hear the classics with new ears - for example, I will never be able to hear Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique again without being reminded of Erectile Dysfunction - as well as introducing the listener - well, this listener, at least - to music that would not exactly be top of the concert hall charts (I'm looking at you, Arnold Schoenberg). All in all, thoroughly enjoyable and very informative. I would recommend it to anyone keen to get a greater understanding of great music.
"Best introduction into music"
Absolutely. I never appreciated any form of concert music (see I've already leant not to call it classical) before. I was aware of nice melodies i had heard in everyday life; in tv commercials, in the movies etc. I knew it existed, but I never understood it. I can now proudly boast to know a little bit, and it made me seek this type of music out, and enjoy it.
I liked the chronological presentation of the history of music from the simplicity of the early days the the more complex forms that developed over time. Each period is nicely explained and accompanied with significant non-musical historical stories which I knew nothing about. So in a way you also get a bit of a history lesson.
Bach and Mozart
Life-enriching. Thank you.
"An absolute triumph!"
Words can't express how much I've enjoyed this course. Professor Green berg's enthusiasm for music is infectious.
"Great for music lovers"
I enjoyed listening to prof Greenberg, funny guy and very smart in his field which makes each chapter interesting.
a well structured course enabled me to keep on top when tackling new genres.
The downside however, having been drilled so hard about JS Bach and never once covered anything of Vivaldi.
"Outstanding Lecture Programme"
Truly fantastic! I have just finished to this series of lectures (almost in one sitting - that how good the course was). Professor Greenberg is incredibly knowledgeable, as you would expect, but also hugely engaging. The structure of the lectures was absolutely right for me - without treating the audience as novices, Prof Greenberg manages to tell you all the stuff that you might not know, with subtlety, as well as all the stuff that you really want to know. The production is very polished without being too obviously so. I would recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about concert music and understand it better - it certainly worked for me. I shall be investing in many more of Professor Greenberg's courses.
Getting to understand the context in which great composers lived and worked.
Not yet, but I certainly will be!
The Greatest Lecture Programme ever!
A big, big thank you to Robert Greenberg for taking the trouble to share his tremendous knowledge and experience with me in this way!
This is one of the most interesting, engaging and compelling listens that I've had.
The mixture of historical context and musical theory together with audible examples.
Greenberg's enthusiasm for his subject together with his humour.
Audible considers the additional course literature as "unnecessary" to listening to the course. I disagree. Certainly the word scores referred to would be invaluable.
"Only 1 chapter in and I'm adding a review!"
I've only listened to 1 chapter so far and yet feel a desire to add a review already. The speaker is passionate, engaging and humorous. The content exciting and thought provoking.
Whether my review will stay the same after the next 47 chapters I don't know. I haven't listened to audio books on music before and so this was a risk. One that I'm glad I took!
"Listen and Learn"
The Professor gave his lectures with humour and made them very enjoyable to listen to
It would depend on the subject - I only knew the popular classics so was intrigued to learn more
Not a story as such although the story of the progression of music through the ages was the key (please pardon the pun) part of these lectures
I was continually frustrated by the snippets of music used as illustrations and usually wanted to hear more. I now have the task of tracking down some of the pieces to hear them in full
I was amazed to find how much I needed to know about music and am very pleased that I listened to this series of lectures
"Comprehensive & Entertaining"
The narrator Robert Greenberg has such a warm, friendly, and enthusiastic personality I am sure he could make any subject interesting. He certainly manages to make this lengthy and sometimes detailed review of great music through the ages well worth listening to.
I enjoyed the musical snippets and the anecdotes, quotes and biographical components the most. Some of the technical discussions were less enjoyable but thankfully these were balanced and outweighed by an overall engaging insight into the history of great music.
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