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The 30 Greatest Orchestral Works Lecture

The 30 Greatest Orchestral Works

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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

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Performance
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  •  
    Julia L. Scott 12-01-15

    itmaven

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Intro to musical works"

    A good intro to musical works. Just wish the narrator had been a little less bombastic. His delivery reminded me of an over eager teacher giving high-fives and "good job!" When the student puts the lid back on the paste. But, I'm a boomer and none of my professors were ever so excited and enthusiastic in their lectures.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alissa McCarthy Scottsdale, AZ USA 01-13-14
    Alissa McCarthy Scottsdale, AZ USA 01-13-14 Member Since 2009
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    "An absolute delight!"
    What made the experience of listening to The 30 Greatest Orchestral Works the most enjoyable?

    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.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brendan Kharkiv 03-11-16
    Brendan Kharkiv 03-11-16 Member Since 2016
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    "A Fun, Informative Overview Of The World of Classical Music"

    So enjoyable, so fun, so informative - and this is coming from a person who didn't really know the second thing about classical music! Sure, I can distinguish my Bach from my Beethoven, but this course proved an incredibly useful help! And the professor is fabulous!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian T. Clem Orlando, FL 10-27-15
    Brian T. Clem Orlando, FL 10-27-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best format"

    I loved having a new piece and composer each chapter. Too bad it's not the top 100.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Xexox Toasthammer Dayton, OH 09-04-15
    Xexox Toasthammer Dayton, OH 09-04-15

    wintermute1

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Greenberg is just a killer lecturer"
    What did you love best about The 30 Greatest Orchestral Works?

    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!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The lecturer, the background stories behind the works.


    What about Professor Robert Greenberg’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Well, no, but that's ok.


    Any additional comments?

    It's not your local NPR classic hour. You actually have to focus and listen to lecturer if you want learn.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miguel Mejia 02-19-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Fantastic"

    You should be greatful this course exists. Listen to this course and be amazed at how much you thought you did not know.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark S. Schuyler 02-05-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Learned, Wry, Joyous"

    I hope to listen to these lectures again because they were so good. I listened to some while chopping wood, some while lying sick in bed, some while baking bread, some while driving the dog to the vet. Always riveting and yet, as you can tell from my examples, I was at times otherwise occupied. A second pass through will, no doubt, double my enjoyment, which is saying something. Professor Greenberg rocks!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eusebio NY 02-12-15
    Eusebio NY 02-12-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great, like many other courses from prof Greenberg"

    Professor Greenberg's style is quite "ornate" but I always find his courses interesting and entertaining.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert A. Fritchey 04-22-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Greenberg Does it Again"

    Professor Robert Greenberg has long been one of the most popular lecturers from The Teaching Company/The Great Courses. With this work, 'The 30 Greatest Orchestral Works' he has another hit.

    Aside from the first and last lectures, which are an introduction/overview and a collection of 'honorable mentions'/concluding statements respectively, each of these lectures stands alone, focusing on a single work. Of course, there's plenty of musical information, listening notes, pointing out notable themes, forms (A-B-A, Sonata Form, Rondo, etc.) use of rhythm and other techniques that the composer uses. But professor Greenberg is definitively NOT an adherent of the "The music stands alone" school of criticism. Quite the opposite, he makes a point of grounding each work in a larger context, starting with some biographical and personal information about the composer, some background on the times and socio-historic trends, and even goes into the impact and reception of the work being discussed. To my mind, this makes each work seem even more a vital part of our own ongoing culture today, instilling it with more life and connection to our own lives and our own future.

    I highly recommend this course, and, so far, any of the other courses by Professor Greenberg!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. E. JORDAN Paris, France 02-27-17
    J. E. JORDAN Paris, France 02-27-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Best for Classical Music Lovers w/Musical Training"

    I listened to about half these lectures while en route to a vacation destination 8 months ago.

    It's true the lecturer is passionate about his subject. However, I often fell asleep and eventually lost interest altogether. I was glad when we moved on to another book.

    I play a few instruments and am comfortable with musical terminology. However, I don't care much for classical music. My husband, on the other hand, loves classical music, but has virtually no musical knowledge. He also had difficulty following the lectures. I think it's harder for non-musicians to follow than you might expect.

    So, I suspect you need to BOTH like classical music AND have some musical knowledge to really enjoy this lecture series. The passion and humor of the lecturer cannot overcome a weakness in either of these areas, in my estimation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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