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Publisher's Summary

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 is it a matter of pure inspiration? Does the composer hear the music in his head before even picking up a pen, or does the music in fact begin on that blank sheet of staff paper? Most important, can lay listeners like us, untrained in music's technicalities, learn how to open our ears to a composer's creative intentions?

Happily, the answer is a resounding "yes!" And in this series of 32 lectures, a professional composer and accomplished teacher will give you a new level of sophistication as a music listener - using as his teaching tools some of the most memorable works in all of music, by geniuses whose work has not only withstood time, but transcended it.

Through listening to these lectures, you'll gain a new grasp of the intricacies of musical purpose, structure, and narrative content that you will then be able to hear in any piece of music. And though this is a demanding course, with a deeper look into musical structure than untrained listeners are likely to have experienced, it is not an intimidating one. Professor Greenberg vividly positions each composition and its composer in the social and musical fabric of its period, so you can understand the music in its proper societal and artistic context and feel its emotional power in the same way as did its original audiences.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©1995 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1995 The Great Courses

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  • Andrew
  • Las Vegas, NV, United States
  • 11-05-13

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 exactly what another composer would be listening for in each of these works. The result is eye-opening, even for someone who regularly attends orchestral concerts.

If you've listened to Professor Greenberg's "30 Greatest Orchestral Works" in the same series, Concert Masterworks is deeper and more engaging in every way.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Down the rabbit hole with Dr. G!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

<br/>My first attempt to break into the world of really enjoying music came when my husband bought. The Concert Masterworks. Until then, I knew my favorite music was Bach’s and Mozart came second and Beethoven and Vivaldi and Teleman were in there somewhere. I was pretty much a Baroque girl. When I listened to the first two lectures, I realized I was missing a lot. So, I got the How to Listen and Understand Great Music. Loved it. Listened until I got to the Classical Period and went back and did Bach and the High Baroque. Then on with the Classical Period--which I have not finished yet because I did Great Masters: Mozart and am about to start The Concerto. And then, either The Chamber Music of Mozart or The Symphony. I am enjoying Dr. Greenberg’s expertise and attitude so much that I keep diving down new rabbit holes!<br/>

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Very Well Done

I have criticized Professor Greenberg's "over the top" approach to his lectures. For those who have felt the same as me, I encourage you to have a listen to this set of lectures. Greenberg is restrained, professional and not constantly trying to be funny. Indeed, these lectures are very technical, historical detail is precise and informative and the overall tone is one of a deep regard for what constitutes "art".
My only critique is that these lectures do not include the word scores that Professor Greenberg rightfully feels the listener should follow along with. I went to my local library and luckily found the DVD's that included the printed word scores. It greatly enhances the listening experience. I therefore gave the overall rating of 4 stars.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • eddie
  • ROSWELL, GA, United States
  • 11-18-13

ERA OF TRANSFORMATION CLASSICAL-ROMANTICISM

Would you consider the audio edition of Concert Masterworks to be better than the print version?

Absolutely yes...it is essential to "...get it in our ears," says Professor Greenberg, as he teaches the thematic development in various forms of composition, he walks us through each work playing key parts, as if sitting at our side discovering the original intentions of each great master he reviews. Audio lends itself very well to great learning enjoyment...I augment the lessons by listening further online to entire works Dr. Greenberg introduces.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Concert Masterworks?

The section on Paganini and Franz Liszt...the influence of mastering technique to the extreme capability of an instrument and the inspiration of virtuoso on generations centuries forward was fascinating...one could then see how musical composition became transformed to accommodate the extremes in performance.

Have you listened to any of Professor Robert Greenberg’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes...Mozart: His Life and Music...in contrast, Concert Masterworks was much broader in scope covering select works of many great composers spanning from and including Bach, Haydn, and Mozart's era through the 19th century, Beethoven, Chopin, Paganini, Brahms, Liszt, Dvorak, and into the early 20th century, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff. Dr. Greenberg does give attention to biographical details as well as social cultural changes as they influenced changes in compositional and thematic forms in music.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Change We Can Believe In

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Encore The Great Courses

After completing the courses I felt like rushing out to buy a piano and restart my playing career which ended 60 years ago.Professor Greenberg is a Master in all senses of the word and I recommend this series to any and everyone who has the slightest Interest in Classical music.Bravo

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great series

This has been well reviewed by others and it is a great series. The only negative is the lack of the supplemental material which could easily be provided but is not. Why the publisher has denied purchasers this material is a mystery. It is technically very easy and would cost nothing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Extremely well done and exciting

I was mesmerized from the beginning. Dr Greenberg's presentation and energy carried me along. I learned so much and had fun doing it. His sense of humor was wonderful. Enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you.

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Really loved this. Prof. Greenberg Always great.

fascinating, yet accessible and detailed exploration of some amazing masterpieces with helpful background and humor.

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  • Pablo
  • Pittsburgh, PA, United States
  • 02-08-14

Really great course, loved it and learned so much!

Would you listen to Concert Masterworks again? Why?

Yes, it was very well presented, very informative and really interesting.

Who was your favorite character and why?

There weren't really any characters, but I enjoyed all the pieces that were chosen.

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

Prof. Greenberg was great, he really knows his material and he made the listening very entertaining.

Any additional comments?

It would be even better if they included the word scores with the audiobook.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful