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The Great Courses: Fine Arts & Music
Books in series27
ORIGINAL
(4.6 based on 1174 ratings)
  • Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks to Fusion

    • ORIGINAL (5 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Bill Messenger
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    Jazz is a uniquely American art form, one of America's great contributions to not only musical culture, but world culture, with each generation of musicians applying new levels of creativity that take the music in unexpected directions that defy definition, category, and stagnation.

    Now you can learn the basics and history of this intoxicating genre in an eight-lecture series that is as free-flowing and original as the art form itself.

    Saud says: "Get a video course"
    Get a video course

    This course points out charts the professor was displaying on a white board or a projector, which lost me after 3 lectures.

    Interesting topic..Show More »

    Reviewed on February 27 2014 by Saud (United States)
  • How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (36 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (360)
    Performance
    (323)
    Story
    (315)

    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.

    Lee the reader says: "Wonderful, I've wanted this for so long...but..."
    Wonderful, I've wanted this for so long...but...

    There is no print version!

    Reviewed on October 11 2013 by Lee the reader (Port Richey, FL United States)
  • The 30 Greatest Orchestral Works

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (109)
    Performance
    (98)
    Story
    (96)

    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 30 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.

    Jacob says: "Really happy with the format"
    Really happy with the format

    I'm very pleased with how they have formatted these lectures. Each 45 minute lecture discusses the composer's life and current circumstances while t..Show More »

    Reviewed on July 10 2013 by Jacob (United States)
  • Concert Masterworks

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (22)

    Have you ever thought about the creative process that boiled inside geniuses like Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorák, Strauss, Brahms, Mendelssohn, or Liszt-or any composer, for that matter?What goes through a composer's mind when a musical composition is being set to paper? Are those magical weeks or months spent in an agonizing creative blur of ideas first tried and then discarded, or it a matter of pure inspiration?

    Andrew says: "A great way to add to your concertgoing experience"
    A great way to add to your concertgoing experience

    This is the best credit I've spent in a long time. Rather than just providing technical details and historical context, Professor Greenberg explains e..Show More »

    Reviewed on November 05 2013 by Andrew (Las Vegas, NV, United States)
  • Bach and the High Baroque

    • ORIGINAL (25 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (71)

    Though unappreciated in his own time, Johann Sebastian Bach has ascended to Olympian heights, the verdict of contemporary audiences long since overruled by succeeding generations of music lovers. But what makes his music great? In this series of 32 lectures, a working composer and musicologist brings his exceptional teaching skills to the task of helping you hear the extraordinary sweep of Bach's music. You'll understand the compositional language that enabled him to compose such extravagant, unbridled music while still maintaining precise control of every aspect - beat, melody, melodic repetition, interaction, and harmony.

    Miss DIckens says: "Bach Treasure Box Opened by a True Enthusiast"
    Bach Treasure Box Opened by a True Enthusiast

    Apart from one or two Toccata and Fugues, I really could not "hear" Bach. Professor Robert Greenberg has enabled me hear Bach's music, and has turned ..Show More »

    Reviewed on September 07 2013 by Miss DIckens (SAN RAMON, CA, United States)
  • The Symphonies of Beethoven

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (33)

    Ludwig van Beethoven is justifiably acclaimed as one of the most revered composers in the history of Western music-a genius once characterized as a "Titan, wrestling with the gods." There is no better way for you to understand the full impact of that description than to not only listen to all nine of his magnificent symphonies, but to do so with a full understanding of what this great composer was saying and the circumstances that drove him up to and beyond what had once been considered the limits of musical expression.

    Nezar says: "A Great Course with a Great Caveat"
    A Great Course with a Great Caveat

    Yes

    Reviewed on January 13 2014 by Nezar (Saudi Arabia)
  • How to Listen to and Understand Opera

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (53)

    To watch any opera lover listen to a favorite work, eyes clenched tight in concentration and passion, often betraying a tear, is to be almost envious. What must it be like, you might think, to love a piece of music so much?And now one of music's most gifted teachers is offering you the opportunity to answer that very question, in a spellbinding series of 32 lectures that will introduce you to the transcendentally beautiful performing art that has enthralled audiences for more than 400 years.

    Amazon Customer says: "Wish It Was Even Longer"
    Wish It Was Even Longer

    Yes! I loved the parallel of the historical development of opera in general with the analysis of each individual opera's context, story and music.

    Reviewed on August 13 2014 by Amazon Customer ()
  • Great Masters: Haydn - His Life and Music

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Almost from the moment it was first set to paper, the music of Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) - technically superb, rich in quality, and widely imitated - has exemplified the Classical style, creating not only the Classical-era symphony but setting the standard, through his own 68 string quartets, against which that form has ever after been judged. And yet Haydn, despite the influence left by more than 1000 works, seems to no longer get his due, Now, in a series of eight vivid lectures, you can learn to understand and appreciate the music of one of the most original and influential composers of all time.

    Russell Bernard says: "Wonderful & Inspiring"
    Wonderful & Inspiring

    Robert Greenberg's knowledge of music form and in depth information of Haydn's life. The discription of how a piece was written and how it related to ..Show More »

    Reviewed on March 21 2014 by Russell Bernard (Salt Lake City, Utah United States)
  • Great Masters: Mozart - His Life and Music

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (39)

    Even from the perspective of time, it is nearly impossible to grasp the full contribution made to music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in his brief and glorious life. He composed his first symphony at the age of 8 and reached full artistic maturity by the time he was only 20. And when he died at the age of 35, he left a legacy of more than 600 works of brilliance - symphonies, chamber music, operas, and more - most composed during an incredibly productive 20-year period.

    Amazon Customer says: "More Great Listening!"
    More Great Listening!

    After having listened to Dr. Greenberg's course on the Thirty Greatest Orchestra Works, I had to have more, and decided to give this one a try. Altho..Show More »

    Reviewed on July 23 2014 by Amazon Customer (Utah)
  • Great Masters: Tchaikovsky - His Life and Music

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    Although we often think of an artist's work as a window into their own inner world, that is not always the case.In the life of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, however, we can see perhaps the closest link to be found anywhere between a creative product and the shifting moods of a turbulent soul, which found its outlet through the glorious music created by the great Russian composer.To know his music, you must know the man, and this fast-moving series of eight lectures from an award-winning composer and accomplished teacher offers an insightful look into both the circumstances of Tchaikovsky's life and the impact that life had on his music.

    Russell Bernard says: "12000 love letters to someone you never met"
    12000 love letters to someone you never met

    I don't know if I would have the time again with all the other Dr Greenberg courses I am listening to. I have listend to about fifty four hours and co..Show More »

    Reviewed on February 26 2014 by Russell Bernard (Salt Lake City, Utah United States)
  • Great Masters: Stravinsky - His Life and Music

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    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.

    Chris Reich says: "Right Up the Middle"
    Right Up the Middle

    After a very disappointing Wagner course followed by a stupendous Shostakovich course, I decided to put Greenberg in the lineup once again. This cours..Show More »

    Reviewed on September 27 2014 by Chris Reich (Northern, CA)
  • Great Masters: Beethoven - His Life and Music

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    Have you ever wondered how the lives of great composers-especially when set against the social, political, and cultural context of their world-influences their music?After listening to this perceptive series of eight lectures on the life and music of Ludwig van Beethoven, you will likely find that you hear his work in an entirely different way, your insight informed by new knowledge of how Beethoven was able to create masterpieces from the crises of his life.You'll learn about the years of progressive hearing loss-ultimately to produce total deafness-and the understandable agony and rage such a fate would bring upon a composer. About his deep depression over the end of his relationship with the woman he calls his Immortal Beloved. About his pathological hatred of authority, his persecution complex, even delusional behaviors.But you'll also learn how each of these crises, and many others, served to drive Beethoven inward, to reinvent himself and redeem his suffering through art, creating disruptive works of profound passion and beauty that reinvented the nature of musical expression in the Western world.

    Paul says: "Ahh... Beethoven"
    Ahh... Beethoven

    n/a

    Reviewed on September 28 2013 by Paul (Stockbridge, GA, United States)
  • Great Masters: Mahler - His Life and Music

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    More than many other composers, Gustav Mahler's works are highly personal expressions of his inner world, a world of overwhelming alienation and loneliness. You'll learn, through both lectures and musical excerpts, how his symphonies are vast repositories of his intellectual, emotional, and spiritual expression that made him the first exponent of Expressionism, the early 20th-century art movement that celebrates inner reality as the only reality - but explored by Mahler using the musical language of the century just ended.

    William says: "Another home run"
    Another home run

    This is the fourth of Greenberg's composer series that I have listened to, the others being on Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and Bach. While Mahler is my ..Show More »

    Reviewed on May 25 2014 by William (Winston Salem, NC, United States)
  • Great Masters: Brahms-His Life and Music

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (18)

    Johannes Brahms was a man of contrasts. His serious Teutonic music was balanced by joyful dance music. His kindness to working people with a biting, malicious wit reserved for those he encountered in artistic and aristocratic circles. Yet you can know this enigmatic genius though this 8-lecture series, which uses biographical information and musical commentary to link the complexities of Brahms the man with the electrifying music of Brahms the composer.

    Jane says: "First class introduction to a wonderful composer"
    First class introduction to a wonderful composer

    How have I gone so long in life getting so much joy from the works of Brahms without understanding something of this great composer and his life. Ho..Show More »

    Reviewed on August 20 2013 by Jane (Darwin, Australia)
  • Great Masters: Liszt - His Life and Music

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (10)

    More than anyone before him - more than Beethoven, Byron, even the preternatural Paganini - it was Franz Liszt who created one of the most enduring archetypes of the Romantic era: that of the artist "who walks with God and brings down fire from heaven in order to kindle the hearts of humankind." For every lover of music, Liszt remains someone you must understand, and this eight-lecture series is an ideal place to begin your acquaintance with both the man and his music.

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

  • Great Masters: Robert and Clara Schumann - Their Lives and Music

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    In all the annals of Western music, there has never been a couple like the Schumanns: he a pioneering critic and composer (the only ever to achieve greatness as both), she one of the leading concert pianists of Europe, as well as a composer of no small talent herself. This series of eight lectures by an award-winning composer and acclaimed teacher includes excerpts of works by both of the Schumanns as part of an introduction to an extraordinary couple and the musical legacy left to us in spite of the difficulties that dogged their marriage.

    Russell Bernard says: "Soap Opera Lives of the Great Masters"
    Soap Opera Lives of the Great Masters

    This lecture has it all domineering father making his money from his daughters talents. Sound just like some the child stars of our lifetime. Husbands..Show More »

    Reviewed on June 09 2014 by Russell Bernard (Salt Lake City, Utah United States)
  • Great Masters: Shostakovich - His Life and Music

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (18)

    Dmitri Shostakovich is without a doubt one of the central composers of the 20th century. Drawing on both the flood of declassified documents from the Soviet Union that began in 1991 and Shostakovich's own extraordinarily frank posthumous reminiscences, Professor Greenberg shows how Shostakovich, who, in the words of a friend, "did not want to rot in a prison or a graveyard" was still unwilling to become a docile instrument of the Soviet regime.

    Cookie says: "Living the Great Terror"
    Living the Great Terror

    Prof Greenberg brings us through the life of this great composer against the backdrop of Stalin's regime during the purges before and after WW2. It i..Show More »

    Reviewed on August 14 2013 by Cookie (Anacortes, WA, United States)
  • The Operas of Mozart

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (16)

    When Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in 1791 at the age of just 35, he nonetheless left behind the defining composition in every available musical genre of his time: symphony, chamber music, masses, and above all - opera. Opera was the prestige genre of the era, and the thought of it, Mozart wrote, made him, "beside myself at once." It was a form he loved dearly, depending on it heavily for personal, professional, artistic, and financial reasons of the greatest weight.

    Doggy Bird says: "One of the best values on Audible!"
    One of the best values on Audible!

    First of all, I have several Great Courses for which I paid full price from the Teaching Company - I love the courses and get a lot of pleasure out of..Show More »

    Reviewed on April 06 2014 by Doggy Bird (Glen Ridge, NJ USA)
  • The Life and Operas of Verdi

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    The Italians have a word for the sense of dazzling beauty produced by effortless mastery: sprezzatura. And perhaps no cultural form associated with Italy is as steeped in the love of sprezzatura as opera, a genre the Italians invented. No composer has embodied the ideal of sprezzatura as magnificently as Giuseppe Verdi, the gruff, self-described "farmer" from the Po Valley who gave us 28 operas and remains to this day the most popular composer in the genre's 400-year-old history.

    Alifa says: "The Life and Operas of Verdi"
    The Life and Operas of Verdi

    I came late to an appreciation of opera, and found this course to be a fantastic adjunct to my growing knowledge. Sometimes I think the professor was ..Show More »

    Reviewed on December 06 2013 by Alifa (Jerusalem, Israel)
  • The Symphony

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (16)

    From its humble beginnings in the 17th-century Along the way, it has embraced nearly every trend to be found in Western concert music.In this series of twenty-four 45-minute lectures, Professor Greenberg guides you on a survey of the symphony.

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

  • The Chamber Music of Mozart

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (14)

    Nowhere is Mozart's maturity and mastery more apparent than in the chamber music he wrote during the last 10 years of his life. These 16 lectures take you deep inside the structure of Mozart's chamber masterworks to reveal his hand at work. This is an amazing opportunity to hear, study, and enjoy a selection of immortal musical compositions that Professor Greenberg calls "a blessing of inconceivable richness". You will learn the basic "language" that all 18th-century composers used to write Classical music. You'll also explore the subtleties of Mozart's technique as a composer: his ability to make art "artless".

    Dr. Frank A. Salamone Sr. says: "Greenberg and Mozart a match made in heaven"
    Greenberg and Mozart a match made in heaven

    Mozart is great. Greenberg explains why he is great and adds to our understanding.

    Reviewed on February 28 2014 by Dr. Frank A. Salamone Sr. (White Plains, NY USA)
  • The String Quartets of Beethoven

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (18)

    In this musically rich 24-lecture series, Professor Greenberg guides you in a deep encounter with these majestic works of art, offering you the rare opportunity to grasp the musical riches and spiritual greatness of the quartets in a clear and accessible way. Each of these lectures is a rare and life-enriching opportunity to know the scope of Beethoven's genius, his most unforgettable music, and the profound humanity and beauty that live through them.

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

  • Beethoven's Piano Sonatas

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (30)

    A revolutionary man living in a revolutionary time, Beethoven used the piano as his personal musical laboratory. The piano sonata became, more than any other genre of music, a place where he could experiment with harmony, motivic development, the contextual use of form, and, most important, his developing view of music as a self-expressive art.Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas include some of his most popular works as well as some of his most experimental.

    Jeffrey F. Rector says: "Entertaining and educational."
    Entertaining and educational.

    Some of this was over my non-musical head, but the delivery was very entertaining and I am inspired to learn more.

    Reviewed on October 06 2013 by Jeffrey F. Rector (Tokyo, Japan)
  • The Concerto

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (15)

    The concerto offers a kind of unique excitement no other instrumental music can match. Where a symphony enthralls us with its thematic variations and development, a concerto gives us human drama-the exhilaration of a soloist or group of soloists ringing forth against the mass of the orchestra.In 24 musically rich lectures, Professor Greenberg provides a guided tour of the concerto, from its conception as a child of Renaissance ideals, through its maturation in the Classical age, its metamorphosis in the Romantic era, and its radical transformation in the 20th century and beyond.

    Victoria says: "Better than "How to Listen to...Great Music!""
    Better than "How to Listen to...Great Music!"

    This course is indispensable for anyone who enjoys concert or symphonic music. Dr. Greenberg's _How to Listen to and Understand Great Music_ was my in..Show More »

    Reviewed on February 02 2014 by Victoria (Austin, TX, United States)
  • The Music of Richard Wagner

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    In these 24 lectures filled with musical excerpts, enjoy a rich and multifaceted exploration of the trailblazing works and outsized life of this historically pivotal composer. The sheer outlandishness of Wagner's life makes for an endlessly intriguing story, from his desperate escapades outrunning creditors to his obsessive personal relationships to his utopian artistic schemes.

    Jonatan says: "Wagner for "dudes""
    Wagner for "dudes"

    Extensive but bantering.

    Reviewed on August 14 2013 by Jonatan (Linköping, Sweden)
  • Great American Music: Broadway Musicals

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Bill Messenger
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (42)

    Rodgers and Hart. George and Ira Gershwin. Cole Porter. Lerner and Loewe. For most people who've grown up with and shared America's musical heritage, great songs open the floodgates to memories and feelings. Perhaps nowhere is this more profound than in the world of Broadway musicals, with their iconic melodies and memorable lyrics.Revisit the standards, originally written for the stage, that have both delighted and helped mend the broken hearts of Americans for decades.

    L. Burbach says: "The Best of My 23 Audible Purchases So Far."
    The Best of My 23 Audible Purchases So Far.

    Joy! Joy! Joy!

    Reviewed on August 22 2013 by L. Burbach (Florida, USA)
  • The 23 Greatest Solo Piano Works

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (32)

    The piano is the most popular solo concert instrument in Western music. One of the key reasons is the fact that it has inspired many of the greatest masterpieces in the concert repertoire. To study these masterworks and to understand their genius and lasting appeal is to know one of the greatest accomplishments of Western culture, works that give great pleasure even as they deepen your insight into the meaning of music.

    Numagick says: "Greenberg is the Best"
    Greenberg is the Best

    Greenberg's grasp of the subject is masterful but always entertaining. This is my 11th Greenberg Great Course purchase.

    Reviewed on June 14 2014 by Numagick ()