Over the centuries, orchestral music has given us a category of works that stand apart as transcendent expressions of the human spirit. What are these "greatest of the greats"? Find out in these 32 richly detailed lectures that take you on a sumptuous grand tour of the symphonic pieces that continue to live at the center of our musical culture. These thirty masterworks form an essential foundation for any music collection and a focal point for understanding the orchestral medium and deepening your insight into the communicative power of music. While seasoned music lovers will find the lectures a revealing journey through the repertoire, the course welcomes newcomers to orchestral music, offering a very accessible point of entry to this magnificent repertoire.You'll encounter symphonies, concertos, tone poems, symphonic poems, and suites, delving into the works through extensive musical excerpts. The course covers the major eras and stylistic periods in Western music from the early 18th- to the mid-20th centuries and highlights a wide range of European and American works. Among these: Haydn's Symphony no. 104, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, and Shostakovich's Symphony no. 5. Throughout these lectures, you'll learn about the major musical forms found in orchestral writing and how they're used in conveying expressive meanings. Knowing how these forms work allows you to grasp the structure of the music as you hear it, and also to appreciate how the greatest composers used them, extended them, and finally departed from them in sublimely original ways.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2011 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2011 The Great Courses
I have most of prof. Greenberg's courses. I buy them on CD directly from the Teaching Company (The Great Courses) and this is the first one I'm trying from Audible.
I was very disappointed with how it sounds in Audible format. The voice parts sound fine. In the musical passages however, the experience is significantly degraded because the sound is muddy and lacking brilliance. Listening to this recording reminds me of days long past listening to music on an old AM radio (and I do not mean it in a nostalgic sense...)
In my opinion, for other courses (e.g., the professional series, or the better living series) the Audible format is good but not for music courses. The content of the course is excellent as I expected from prof. Greenberg, but I cannot recommend getting this edition. If you can afford spending a little more, do yourself a favor and get a version of this course that is in a format intended for music.
I've been a musician all of my life and yet in each of these lectures there was something new to learn. I enjoyed Dr. Greenberg's delivery and found the contextual information about the composer and the time in which they lived to have a profound impact of how I heard the pieces discussed. I also came away with a new-found appreciation for some of the composers with whom I was less familiar. All in all I was sad to hear it end and will definitely look for another series.
I would not consider myself a classical music fan, I have got the great lectures on history, science, psychology and literature in the past but rolled the dice on this one. Jackpot!
The lecturer, the background stories behind the works.
Pretty damn much everything, but his references were great 'slick as brill cream on a doorknob'...'if this does not get your hear racing you have metabolic issues far beyond the ability of modern pharmacology to intervene'. Expressive cadence and modulation to his voice.
Well, no, but that's ok.
It's not your local NPR classic hour. You actually have to focus and listen to lecturer if you want learn.
I have collected quite a few classical music "must haves" over the years, but never really build up an appreciation of the music or the composers. I have purchased over the years some of these "classical music overviews" and they never seemed to stick. For me, Professor Greenburg introduces and builds depth required to appreciate classical music at a deeper level. There is some "technical music" stuff discussed and it is a little out of my depth. I can clearly hear how the techniques fit within the larger context of the work, but I 'll have to work a bit to develop a more technical understanding of music. The background on the composers, their life stories and discussion of where the work fit within their life stories, and the classical music genre really worked for me. I appreciated his narrative as he always seemed to pick out the right word with just the right enunciation. At the same time, he doesn't seem to take himself too seriously, at times being just a little "cornball" (excuse the technical term). Overall I found it to be a great introduction for novices who like classical music, but haven't developed a deep appreciation for the genre. If that is you, this selection is recommended without reservation.
I chose this title to summarize my thank you to the narrator Professor Greenberg. Obviously an expert who loves and appreciates music and creativity. His enthusiasm enhanced my enjoyment of this formidable topic. I am returning to discover more about music I have always loved from a gentleman who knows and loves great music. Thank you professor.
This is my third music class by Professor Greenberg. As always, he is a master storyteller and presenter. I started pursuing a musical education from a point of next to zero understanding or appreciation. I was goaded into beginning these courses by my daughter's school requirement that she learn to play a musical instrument. I do not want to be ignorant about anything my daughter is doing, so I started taking these Great Courses lectures to build an understanding. I confess that I did not really expect to like learning about music and just hoped for a decent experience. I have been more than pleasantly surprised by both the quality of the presentations and the subject matter. I never expected it to happen, but these courses have begun to radically change my taste in music. My music collection has grown considerably as I have purchased recordings of the various composers covered by Professor Greenberg. From these courses, I have developed an appreciation of the art form that previously was not part of my life. What started out as just a desire to learn what my daughter is learning is turning into a desire to learn for my own sake.
This course examines thirty great orchestral works. I must disagree with the word "greatest" in the title because the professor admits from the beginning that he wanted to survey orchestral works through time, starting with Vivaldi (who was born in the 1600s) and ending with Shostakovich (who died in 1975). The professor also limited his selections to no more than two works from the same author with an exception for Beethoven who was included three times, and he excluded works that he covered thoroughly in other classes. Therefore, these are not necessarily the thirty "greatest" of all time. These are, however, each masterworks. The professor discusses the context in which each work was written, focusing on either the era that the work was created or the life experience of the composer that led to its creation (or sometimes both). Each lecture includes a brief biography of the composer then analyzes the highlights of the music piece both from a technical perspective and an experiential perspective. The course is somewhat inconsistent in the amount of time the spent listening to the actual musical pieces—some works are discussed with just very brief excerpts while others include long passages. This approach is fine as long as the student is prepared to buy each of the works separately to listen to them in their entirety. Thankfully, most of these works can be purchased at a very minimal price. This is an excellent course well-worth the time.
Just a curious guy who travels the world.
+ Professor Greenberg is funny and witty
+ The biographies on the composers at the beginning of each lecture (and Greenberg's humor) make the whole series worth it.
+ I still don't understand most of the technical aspects of classical composition, but after listening to this course ... I can see that there ARE technical aspects to appreciate.
- Some of the technical aspects were way over my head.
Overall ... great course and like I've said in other reviews, the Great Courses additions are a GOLD MINE of value in our Audible subscriptions. Whoever negotiated that/figured that out deserves a raise!
Prof. Greenberg is by far my favorite of The Great Courses lecturers. He is intelligent and engaging. His lectures are detailed, but never boring. I don't even have any particular interest in classical music, but I thoroughly enjoy these lectures. I have listened to 3 or 4 of Prof. Greenberg's lectures and will very likely buy another soon.
S Burns, naturalg
It's right up there among my favorite audio books. Professor Greenberg is a fantastic speaker and the content is compelling.
His performance is very enthusiastic and he uses contemporary quips and analogies to illustrate how timeless this great music is. His arguments are compelling and the way he fleshes out the lives of the artists adds great richness to the enjoyment of the music.
This has been really wonderful, however, I recommend you download each orchestral piece in it's entirety, listen to it before and/or after listening to the lecture. Each lecture contains only portions of the music. I also find that if I listened to one right after another I would miss out. It would be better to listen to one lecture, listen to the music and wait a day or so before moving on to another. This isn't really a five hour car ride audio book. More of a daily walk kind of audio book.
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