Stravinsky composed what is arguably one of the two most important musical compositions of the twentieth century, The Rite of Spring. He forged a new "musical language" to portray the sense of the ballet's primitive and earthy theme. More than a dozen excerpts of Stravinsky's works are examined.
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.
©2000 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2000 The Great Courses
Business Physicist and Astronomer
After a very disappointing Wagner course followed by a stupendous Shostakovich course, I decided to put Greenberg in the lineup once again. This course started rather pleasantly with solid biographical background and excellent musical analysis of Stravinsky's early life and works. There's the typical Greenberg train wreck at about mid way through. He launches into a sort of "whose on first" dialogue about Stravinsky and another artist discussing a new piece.
Again, the jokes. This time we get a full routine smack in the middle of a serious discussion about World War 1 and the Russian Revolution. From there out, we get the usual corny Greenberg humor but not in as strong an application as usual. Perhaps his seemingly endless parody satisfied the frustrated comedian long enough to limp through the remaining lectures without need to ham it up?
I did learn from the course and enjoyed it for the most part. I am, however, weary of Greenberg's jokes which detract much from the subject matter. If you want to learn a bit about Stravinsky and get some insight into the technical aspects of his music, buy the course knowing you'll have to endure some bad humor.
The Great Courses should consider adding a couple of other music experts to their stable. It would be wonderful to have some variety in this category.
While not a home run, the course is a hit that will get you to first base of Stravinsky understanding. It's got some solid content and Greenberg obviously knows his stuff. Scale way back on the sophomoric humor and this would be a much better course.
Greensberg is engaging, comedic and relatable in his lecture style biography of Stravinsky. He talks not only of his life but offers great education about his compositional style and insets musical samples of his work where appropriate. I wish that the book came with lecture notes but did find them on The Great Courses website fortunately in order that I might more thoroughly examine the musical works mentioned.
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