This experience is optimized for Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

Please upgrade your browser

Video title

Priority Code

Cancel
How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition

How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition

Professor Robert Greenberg Ph.D.
San Francisco Performances
Course No.  700
Course No.  700
Share:
Sale
Video or Audio?
While this set works well in both audio and video format, one or more of the courses in this set feature graphics to enhance your learning experience, including illustrations, images of people and event, and on-screen text.
Which Format Should I Choose? Video Download Audio Download DVD CD
Watch or listen immediately with FREE streaming
Available on most courses
Stream using apps on your iPad, iPhone, Android, or Kindle Fire
Available on most courses
Stream to your internet connected PC or laptop
Available on most courses
Download files for offline viewing or listening
Receive DVDs or CDs for your library
Play as many times as you want
All formats include Free Streaming
All formats include Free Streaming

Course Overview

About This Course

48 lectures  |  45 minutes per lecture

Learning how to appreciate the unmatched beauty, genius, and power of concert music can permanently enrich your life. Why is this so? As award-winning composer and Professor Robert Greenberg explains, "Music, the most abstract and sublime of all the arts, is capable of transmitting an unbelievable amount of expressive, historical, and even philosophical information to us, provided that our antennas are up and pointed in the right direction. A little education goes a long way to vitalizing and rendering relevant a body of music that many feel is beyond their grasp.

"And why is an understanding of concert music worthwhile? I would suggest a few reasons:

View More

Learning how to appreciate the unmatched beauty, genius, and power of concert music can permanently enrich your life. Why is this so? As award-winning composer and Professor Robert Greenberg explains, "Music, the most abstract and sublime of all the arts, is capable of transmitting an unbelievable amount of expressive, historical, and even philosophical information to us, provided that our antennas are up and pointed in the right direction. A little education goes a long way to vitalizing and rendering relevant a body of music that many feel is beyond their grasp.

"And why is an understanding of concert music worthwhile? I would suggest a few reasons:

“The skills one brings to listening to music—imagination; abstract, nonconcrete thinking; intuition; and instinctive reaction and trusting those instincts—have gone uncultivated in our educational system and culture for too long.

“Music, as a universal, nonverbal language, allows us to tap into the social, cultural, and aesthetic traditions of different cultures and historical eras. We become more aware of our shared humanity and the wisdom and vision of others.

“Music allows us to transcend our own world and partake in utterly different realities.

“Last, but certainly not least, good music is fun to listen to, relatively inexpensive—we can do it by ourselves or with others—and there are any number of ways to expand our knowledge and appreciation of the art."

The Tools, the Times, the Composers, and Their Music

Grammar: Professor Greenberg gives you an outstanding grasp of musical forms, techniques, and terms—the grammatical elements that make you fluent in the language of music. These are not dull concepts. Professor Greenberg alerts us to the need for them:

"Music, like any pseudoscience, requires an adjectival palette by which we can isolate events that without proper terms we might not even be able to notice. It's an interesting question to what degree language allows us to perceive things that are not language-associated. I'm a strong believer that if you've got the right word to identify something, you can perceive it. I think my favorite pseudoscience when it comes to this kind of thing is wine-tasting, where one has to come up with an adjectival palette that is almost a cartoon unto itself. But silly as these phrases may be—'Oh, this has a hint of young tobacco, and old oak fragrant with raspberries'—silly as these terms are, they allow us to draw distinctions without which we may not be able to draw at all. So we will create a useful vocabulary."

Rich Context: Professor Greenberg teaches the powerful influence of social context on musical creation. Bestselling author James Collins, writing in Inc. magazine, explains: "The Greenberg series combines a history of Western civilization with a history of great music from ancient Greece to the 20th century. Greenberg's 48 lectures come alive with passion and knowledge. The course illustrates the interplay between societal change and innovation and offers a unique perspective on the acceleration of change wrought by the 20th century."

Professor Greenberg's lectures show how musical creativity has provided, throughout the history of our civilization, a vibrant means of expression for grand spiritual, intellectual, political, social, and economic forces.

Whether it's the profound influence of Lutheran spirituality on Bach or the effect of the French Revolution on Beethoven (to give just two examples), you'll see how such forces have swirled through the lives of music's creators and listeners in various historical epochs. You'll also grasp how these forces have stimulated the creation of musical masterpieces that are both transcendent works of art and compositions deeply rooted in their respective eras, telling us something central about the human condition in each one.

The Composers: The course examines the contributions of nearly every major composer. But one of Professor Greenberg's aims is to make their music accessible, and, for this, we must accept that every one of them was human and no more. (He observes at one point that an English translation of the name Giuseppe Verdi would be simply "Joe Green.") You will remember their music, and you will never forget the composers who are brought to life throughout the lectures. Consider Professor Greenberg's introduction to Berlioz:

"Hector Berlioz begins writing the Symphonie fantastique in 1829 and he completes it in 1830, the same year he graduates from the conservatory, so he's only 27 years old and still learning his craft.

"The Symphonie fantastique is an experimental artwork if there ever was one. It is an absolutely avant-garde piece of music. It attempts to unite the four great loves of Berlioz's life, as he felt them then and as they continued to be throughout his life. Those four great loves, in no particular order, are: first, Shakespeare's plays and Shakespeare's sense of drama; second: Beethoven's symphonies, which Berlioz worshipped; third: opera, which Berlioz lived for; and we must not forget the fourth great love of Berlioz's life: himself. It's a very autobiographical work. Again, we have to understand that autobiography is very typical of the self-involvement and expressive self-indulgence of the 19th- and indeed, the 20th-century artist."

The Music: Using digitally recorded musical passages to illustrate his points, Professor Greenberg will take you inside magnificent compositions by Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Verdi, Wagner, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, and more. You have listened to many of the illustrative pieces all your life—you will never hear them the same way again after Professor Greenberg has opened them up. Look at the titles of the lectures in this course to see how much you'll learn.

View Less
48 Lectures
  • 1
    Music as a Mirror
    This opening lecture introduces themes, concepts, and terminology that will be used throughout the series. The nature of concert music as a living, breathing entity and not a fossil of the past is introduced. Important definitions and distinctions are discussed, including: concert music, classical music, popular music, and Western music. The concept of music as a mirror is introduced. Lastly, using Ludwig van Beethoven as an example, the composer is discussed as a person describing some aspect or aspects of his life and world in his music. x
  • 2
    Sources—The Ancient World and the Early Church
    This lecture introduces the ancient world as a 4,000-year period of extraordinary cultural richness and variety. From this long ancient era only 40 or so fragments of music have survived. In this lecture we discuss the cyclical, rather than linear, nature of art and music. Ultimately, this lecture focuses on the role of music in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds and concludes with a brief examination of the role of music in the early Christian Church. x
  • 3
    The Middle Ages
    This lecture focuses on the changing role of music in the medieval world. First we examine the liturgical plainchant of the so-called Dark Ages, its role within the Church, and its musical characteristics. The rebirth of Europe during the High Middle Ages and the attendant development of polyphony are examined. Finally, we explore the violent disruptions of the 14th century—the so-called Babylonian Captivity, the Great Schism, the Black Plague, the Hundred Years War—and their affects on the arts and music of the time. x
  • 4
    Introduction to the Renaissance
    This lecture examines the impact of the rediscovery of ancient Greek and Roman culture on Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. Important Renaissance trends—from Humanism to Classicism—are defined and discussed. The ancient Greek ideal of music as a humanistic art powerfully influenced the music of the Renaissance, an influence that is examined both theoretically and musically (through the works of Josquin des Prez). x
  • 5
    The Renaissance Mass
    This lecture introduces the mass as the most important compositional genre of the Renaissance. The mass itself is defined and the ceremony is discussed in detail, in particular the nature and content of the Proper and Ordinary. We then examine the Renaissance musical setting of the Ordinary of the mass and the three types of Renaissance masses: the Cantus Firmus or Tenor mass, the Paraphrase mass, and the Imitation mass. We then discuss the Protestant Reformation and the subsequent impact of the Counter-Reformation and the Council of Trent on the nature of Catholic liturgical music in general and the mass specifically. x
  • 6
    The Madrigal
    This lecture focuses on the madrigal, the most important genre of Italian secular music of the late Renaissance. We examine the heightened poetic content of the madrigal and the Petrarchian revival. Then we examine the role played by word-painting in the genre of the madrigal. Three madrigals are examined for the progressive development of the genre from the mid-16th century to the very early 17th. x
  • 7
    An Introduction to the Baroque Era
    This lecture introduces the brilliant and exuberant Baroque era. We differentiate between the measured elegance of Renaissance music and the extravagant emotionalism of Baroque music. Special attention is paid to the scientific and investigative spirit of the Baroque and its impact on the arts of the era. The Baroque artistic duality of emotional extravagance and intellectual control is examined as a manifestation of the scientific and philosophical currents of the time. The lecture concludes with a musical example the genre of French overture. x
  • 8
    Style Features of Baroque-era Music
    In this lecture we build listening skills and a descriptive vocabulary and discuss style and features of Baroque music. A vocabulary for addressing sound aspects of music is presented, defining and discussing discrete sound, frequency, pitch, melody, motive, theme, and tune. The advent of instrumental music during the Baroque era is examined. Essential musical elements as pulse, meter, scales, and harmony are examined in light of the Baroque predilection for scientific investigation, systemic organization and codification. x
  • 9
    National Styles—Italy and Germany
    This lecture describes the rise of German music during the Baroque. The Protestant Reformation put a new emphasis on the German language in worship, and the music with it followed the idiosyncratic cadences of the German language, as opposed to Latin/Italian. We also explore the Lutheran view of music and composition as a spiritual act, a view that altered the history and nature of German music. x
  • 10
    Fugue
    This lecture examines fugue, defined as a typically monothematic, polyphonic work in which a theme is examined, broken down, reassembled, etc., in as many ways as possible. Drawing on fugues by Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frederick Handel, this lecture introduces and examines the parts of a fugue: the exposition, subject restatements, and episodes. This lecture also seeks to define and discuss the various tuning systems used up to and during the Baroque era. x
  • 11
    Baroque Opera, Part 1
    We discuss the evolution of opera from the late Renaissance through the early Baroque. Believing that ancient Greek drama was entirely sung, members of the Florentine Camerata sought to create their own music dramas, and, in doing so, they invented opera around the year 1600. These lectures discuss two early operas—Jacopo Peri's Euridice and Claudio Monteverdi's Orfeo—and describe and demonstrate the musical content of these early operas. x
  • 12
    Baroque Opera, Part 2
    We continue the evolution of opera from the late Renaissance through the early Baroque. We discuss the transition of Italian opera from courtly to popular entertainment and the development of the aria around 1660. x
  • 13
    The Oratorio
    This lecture and the next focus on the adaptation of Baroque operatic elements to the world of Baroque sacred music. This lecture introduces the oratorio and Lutheran Church cantata, and briefly discusses and defines the Baroque Mass, Magnificat, Passion, and sacred Motet as well. The oratorio is then examined in detail, from its modest beginnings as a musical setting of some Biblical text through its growing popularity as an operalike entertainment, particularly during Lent, becoming ultimately an opera on a religious subject. The lecture concludes with a discussion of the career of George Frederick Handel and a brief examination of his English language oratorio, Messiah of 1742. x
  • 14
    The Lutheran Church Cantata
    This lecture continues the examination of Baroque sacred music, focusing now on the Lutheran church cantata, which evolved as a musical commentary on a particular Bible reading, becoming known as the musical "sermon before the sermon." We also examine the operatic ideals of the Lutheran librettist Erdman Neumeister, and Johann Sebastian Bach's Cantata No. 140, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme. x
  • 15
    Passacaglia
    We introduce the concept of instrumental musical form—processes that organize musical materials into recognizable structures without the presence of, or need for, words. The advent of instrumental music during the Baroque indicated that parts of musical speech—melody, rhythm, harmony, form—had developed enough to provide a satisfying, although "abstract," musical experience. We then focus on Baroque musical forms based on the process of variation: passacaglia, ground bass, or chaconne (or ciaconna). Such variations are demonstrated in works by Henry Purcell and Johann Sebastian Bach. x
  • 16
    Ritornello Form and the Baroque Concerto
    The discussion of Baroque instrumental form begun in Lecture 15 now focuses on ritornello form and the Baroque concerto. We first differentiate between chamber and orchestral music. Next, we discuss the degree to which the opera house was responsible for the development of the orchestra, as well as genres such as overture, suite, and concerto. The three types of high Baroque concerti are defined and discussed. Finally, the concerto grosso is examined in detail, with special attention paid to the ritornello form, first movement of Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. x
  • 17
    The Enlightenment and an Introduction to the Classical Era
    This lecture introduces the Age of Enlightenment and its impact on musical style. The dramatic difference between the music of the late Baroque and Classical eras is brought into high relief—differences that are a function of societal change during the 17th century. This lecture discusses Enlightenment-inspired and Classical trends such as cosmopolitanism and the rise of musical amateurism. x
  • 18
    The Viennese Classical Style, Homophony, and the Cadence
    This lecture seeks to further build listening skills and vocabulary regarding cadence, or musical punctuation. The four cadence types are defined, demonstrated, and discussed. We examine the geographical and social importance of the city of Vienna for the origin of the Classical style. x
  • 19
    Classical-era Form—Theme and Variations
    This lecture initiates a discussion of Classical instrumental musical form that will continue through Lecture 25. We examine the theme and variations form, an adaptation of Baroque variations to the expressive and musical needs of the Classical era. The Classical theme and variations form uses a tune as its theme rather than a bass line or harmonic progression. Wolfgang Mozart's Variations on "Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman" is an example. x
  • 20
    Classical-era Form—Minuet and Trio: Baroque Antecedents
    This lecture continues the examination of Classical instrumental musical form with an investigation of Baroque minuet and trio form, the antecedent of Classical minuet and trio form. The importance of courtly dance in 17th-century France is discussed, as is the development of stylized dances. This lecture lists the most important and popular dance types to come out of 17th-century France, among which the minuet and trio was pre-eminent. The French minuet and trio form is demonstrated with a movement by Jean-Baptiste Lully. x
  • 21
    Classical-era Form—Minuet and Trio Form
    This lecture continues the discussion of minuet and trio form begun in Lecture 20 with an examination of Classical minuet and trio form. Late 18th-century composers extended the formal structure and the expressive content of minuet and trio to create movements appropriate for the multimovement instrumental genres of the Classical era. With minuet and trio movements by Mozart and Haydn as examples, we examine the highly stylized minuet and trios of the Classical era. We discuss the meaning and origin of Köchel numbers as they apply to the music of Mozart, and examine the reputation and personality of Joseph Haydn. x
  • 22
    Classical-era Form—Rondo Form
    This lecture continues the examination of Classical instrumental musical form with a discussion of rondo form. We discuss the antecedents of rondo form—the French rondeau and the Baroque ritornello (or refrain) form. In a Classical rondo form movement, the rondo theme is the central musical element, not the departures from that theme. Movements by Beethoven and Haydn are demonstrated as examples. x
  • 23
    Classical-era Form—Sonata Form, Part 1
    In Lectures 23 and 24 we examine sonata-allegro form, but first, we observe the life and personality of the extraordinary Wolfgang Mozart. We discuss the many meanings and uses of the word "sonata." The fourth movement of Mozart's Symphony in G Minor, K. 550, is analyzed and discussed in depth as an example. x
  • 24
    Classical-era Form—Sonata Form, Part 2
    In Lectures 23 and 24 we examine sonata-allegro form, but first, we observe the life and personality of the extraordinary Wolfgang Mozart. We discuss the many meanings and uses of the word "sonata." The fourth movement of Mozart's Symphony in G Minor, K. 550, is analyzed and discussed in depth as an example. x
  • 25
    Classical-era Form—Sonata Form, Part 3
    This lecture completes the survey of the Classical instrumental musical forms with a continuation of sonata-allegro form. Two additional sonata-allegro form movements are analyzed and discussed: the first movement of Haydn's Symphony No. 88 in G Major, and the overture to Mozart's opera Don Giovanni. Regarding the overture, we examine the long, tragic introduction that precedes the brilliant and comic sonata-allegro form and question its meaning here at the onset of the opera; it is an element to be discussed at length in Lecture 29. x
  • 26
    The Symphony—Music for Every Person
    This lecture explores the Classical symphony as both an orchestral genre and a social phenomena—it had become by the early 19th century the musical property of the rising middle class. The Baroque antecedents of symphony are described and discussed; a Baroque, Italian-style overture by Handel is compared directly to an early Classical symphony by Johann Stamitz. We then examine the tremendous influence of opera on the genre of symphony. x
  • 27
    The Solo Concerto
    This lecture examines the Classical solo concerto. We discuss the perfection of the violin family and the invention of the piano during the Baroque era, primary instruments for the concerto repertoire during the Classical era. We discuss the invention of the piano and compare the sound of an early piano to a harpsichord. Mozart's incredible piano concerti—27 in all—are discussed as a pinnacle of his compositional output. The first movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major is examined as an example of both the Classical solo concerto and double exposition form. x
  • 28
    Classical-era Opera—The Rise of Opera Buffa
    Lecture 28 explores the development of Classical opera buffa: the ideal operatic genre for the Classical era's more realistic plots, more "natural" music, and more common characters, over the Baroque era's formulaic nature in opera seria and the domination of these operas by singers and virtuosic singing. We will consider Jean-Jacques Rousseau's objections to Baroque opera seria and his unqualified support of the new opera buffa as the ideal opera for the Enlightenment. Finally, we will sample Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's opera La Serva Padrona, a work embraced by Rousseau as a model for operas of the future. x
  • 29
    Classical-era Opera, Part 2—Mozart and the Operatic Ensemble
    We discuss the operas of Mozart with special attention to Don Giovanni. We then discuss the nature and content of an opera buffa finale. As an example of Mozart's unparalleled ability to sustain a musical-dramatic line, this lecture features a hearing and discussion of Act I, Scene 1, of Don Giovanni. We examine the Act II finale of Don Giovanni, when the tragic music that initiated the overture returns with the entrance of the statue and the Don's subsequent (and fiery) demise. x
  • 30
    The French Revolution and an Introduction to Beethoven
    This lecture discusses the life of Ludwig van Beethoven and the revolutionary times in which he lived. In comparing Haydn's Symphony No. 88 and Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, we emphasize the fact that Beethoven's symphony does not reflect a period style but is, rather, a self-referential art work. We explore Beethoven's early life and progressive hearing disability to understand the sources of his rage, alienation, and independence. We also explore the elements of heroism, radical change, revolution, and Napoleon that helped to inspire Beethoven's music and allowed its acceptance. x
  • 31
    Beethoven's Symphony no. 5 in C Minor, op. 67, Part 1
    Lecture 31 describes Beethoven's mature compositional innovations and artistic beliefs through the example of his Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 (1808). Beethoven's four compositional periods are described and discussed, as are his great compositional innovations. These innovations are all a function of Beethoven's essential artistic tenet that music composition is self-expression above all. We rapidly but vigorously examine his Symphony No. 5, paying special attention to his idiosyncratic use of Classical musical form and his remarkable motivic development. x
  • 32
    Beethoven's Symphony no. 5 in C Minor, op. 67, Part 2
    Lecture 32 continues describing Beethoven's mature compositional innovations and artistic beliefs through the example of his Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 (1808). Beethoven's four compositional periods are described and discussed, as are his great compositional innovations. These innovations are all a function of Beethoven's essential artistic tenet that music composition is self-expression above all. We rapidly but vigorously examine his Symphony No. 5, paying special attention to his idiosyncratic use of Classical musical form and his remarkable motivic development. x
  • 33
    Introduction to Romanticism
    This lecture introduces the Romantic era. The difference between Classicism and Romanticism has to do with expressive content, as Romantic composers sought to express more and more in their music: to paint pictures, describe complex emotions, and tell stories in instrumental terms. This lecture also examines the legacy of Beethoven's vision of music as self-expression. Finally, we introduce and examine four Romantic trends that will be studied in detail over the next few lectures. x
  • 34
    Formal Challenges and Solutions in Early Romantic Music
    This lecture explores a paradox encountered by many early Romantic composers: the spontaneity and creative freedom of the composer being at odds with the preordained musical form. This lecture discusses the formal solutions embraced by composers who chose to abandon Classical form, and focuses on two miniatures: lieder or German language songs, and instrumental miniatures. Works by Franz Schubert and Frédéric Chopin are used as illustrations. x
  • 35
    The Program Symphony—Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, Part 1
    This lecture is the first of two to explore a great Romantic original—Hector Berlioz. In 1830 at age 27 he wrote his Symphony Fantastique, a work that combines his four great loves: the drama of Shakespeare, the musical storytelling of opera, the symphonic genre of Beethoven, and himself. We examine the gestation of the symphony, the fixed melodic idea that is heard in each movement and that represents the "beloved image," and the final two movements. x
  • 36
    The Program Symphony—Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, Part 2
    This is the second lecture to explore Hector Berlioz. In 1830 at age 27 he wrote his Symphony Fantastique, a work that combines his four great loves: the drama of Shakespeare, the musical storytelling of opera, the symphonic genre of Beethoven, and himself. We examine the gestation of the symphony, the fixed melodic idea that is heard in each movement and that represents the "beloved image," and the final two movements. x
  • 37
    19th-Century Italian Opera—Bel Canto Opera
    This lecture begins a four-lecture examination of 19th-century opera. In this lecture, early 19th-century Italian opera is examined as a popular art, the product of a highly profitable media industry. The style of this opera is called bel canto; its essential composers were Gaetano Donizetti, Vincenzo Bellini, and Gioacchino Rossini. Rossini's opera Il Barbieri de Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), is used as an example of the bel canto style. x
  • 38
    19th-Century Italian Opera—Giuseppe Verdi
    This lecture continues the examination of 19th-century Italian opera with the life and music of Giuseppe Verdi. Verdi was not an innovator or reformer; his operatic style evolved as he sought ever-greater refinement of dramatic line, singing technique, and literary truth. He elevated the role of the orchestra and favored characterization and dramatic truth over the vocal prettiness of the bel canto style. The final scene from Verdi's opera Aida is heard and discussed. x
  • 39
    19th-Century German Opera—Nationalism and Experimentation
    In this lecture we examine early 19th-century German opera, which developed rather late compared to Italian and French opera. Genuine German opera evolved from native German roots, not by imitating and adapting Italian operatic plots and singing style. The lecture discusses the rise of German literature and musical theater in the late 18th century in the works of Goethe and Mozart. It examines 19th-century German opera as an experimental tradition, using as an example Carl Maria von Weber's Der Freischütz. x
  • 40
    19th-Century German Opera—Richard Wagner
    We continue to review 19th-century German opera with an examination of the life, ideas, and music of Richard Wagner. Wagner was a revolutionary who sought to radically reinterpret the function and substance of music drama in the mid-19th century. This lecture explores his early life and his paternity, an issue of great importance to Wagner's emotional development. We observe Wagner's ideas about opera, music drama, and Gesampkunstwerke (synthesis of the arts). We turn to the overture and Act I of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde as an example of Wagner's use of the orchestra, leitmotif, and the impact of the ideas of philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer on his own vision of music drama. x
  • 41
    The Concert Overture, Part 1
    We return to the realm of instrumental music, specifically late 19th-century orchestral program music. We will define and discuss major genres of 19th-century orchestral program music and Shakespeare's importance to 19th-century music. We introduce the life and personality of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and conclude with an in-depth examination of his Overture-Fantasy to Romeo and Juliet. x
  • 42
    The Concert Overture, Part 2
    In this lecture we continue to discuss major genres of 19th-century orchestral program music. We discuss Shakespeare's importance to 19th-century music. We introduce the life and personality of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and conclude with an in-depth examination of his Overture-Fantasy to Romeo and Juliet. x
  • 43
    Romantic-era Musical Nationalism
    This lecture examines the trend of folkloric musical nationalism during the second half of the 19th century with a brief history, followed by a discussion of musical exoticism. Ultimately, the lecture turns to Franz Liszt, perhaps the most representative instrumental virtuoso/composer of the 19th century, and his composition Totentanz. x
  • 44
    Russian Nationalism
    We turn to 19th-century Russian musical nationalism with a brief history of St. Petersburg, a city built by Czar Peter I as his window on the West. Russia's entry into the greater European community as a result of the defeat of Napoleon and the Decembrist Revolution of 1825 are discussed, as is the growing conviction that the language and native music of Russia were capable of the highest artistic expression. The music and ideas of the Russian Five—Balakirev, Cui, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Borodin—are discussed and illustrated, with special emphasis on Rimsky-Korsakov and his Russian Easter Overture. x
  • 45
    An Introduction to Early 20th-Century Modernism
    This lecture seeks to explain the historical inevitability of early 20th-century modernism by surveying musical and expressive trends from the Baroque era through the late 19th century. With an expressive language pressed to the breaking point, with a new scientific and technological world at hand, and the thrill of a new century about them, will the best young composers be content to work within the same melodic and harmonic language as their great-great-grandfathers? Clearly, they were not. x
  • 46
    Early 20th-Century Modernism—Claude Debussy
    This lecture explores early 20th-century modernism with an examination of the life and music of Claude Debussy. We discuss the alienation of French artists from Austrian/Germanic models and the increasing French cultivation of the French language in the arts, both visual and musical. We observe and analyze the music of Claude Debussy, a French-language-inspired music that represented an extraordinary break with the past in compositional and expressive content. x
  • 47
    Early 20th-Century Modernism—Igor Stravinsky
    We continue our exploration of early 20th-century modernism with a discussion of Igor Stravinsky. He gained almost instant fame in Paris with The Firebird in 1910, which displays aspects of tradition and innovation, the latter marked by Stravinsky's idiosyncratic use of rhythm. Stravinsky's early experiments with rhythmic asymmetry and layering reach a pinnacle in Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) (1912), an experimental high point discussed and examined during this lecture. x
  • 48
    Early 20th-Century Modernism—Arnold Schönberg
    In this lecture we conclude our exploration of early 20th-century modernism with Arnold Schönberg. He saw himself not as a revolutionary but as the next inevitable step in the history of German/Austrian music. To that end, we discuss the elements of German music from the Protestant Reformation through the 19th century. We explore and discuss Schönberg's "emancipation of dissonance" through which he attempted to free his music from the shackles of traditional tonality while maintaining the traditional elements he considered his birthright. As examples of Schönberg's "freely atonal" music, we discuss three songs from his seminal Pierrot Lunaire (1912). x

Lecture Titles

Clone Content from Your Professor tab

Your professor

Robert Greenberg
Ph.D. Robert Greenberg
San Francisco Performances

Dr. Robert Greenberg is Music Historian-in-Residence with San Francisco Performances. A graduate of Princeton University, Professor Greenberg holds a Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of California, Berkeley. He has seen his compositions—which include more than 45 works for a wide variety of instrumental and vocal ensembles—performed all over the world, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, England, Ireland, Greece, Italy, and the Netherlands.

He has served on the faculties of the University of California, Berkeley; California State University, Hayward; and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and has lectured for some of the most prestigious musical and arts organizations in the United States, including the San Francisco Symphony, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Van Cliburn Foundation, and the Chicago Symphony. For The Great Courses, he has recorded more than 500 lectures on a range of composers and classical music genres.

Professor Greenberg is a Steinway Artist. His many other honors include three Nicola de Lorenzo Composition Prizes and a Koussevitzky commission from the Library of Congress. He has been profiled in various major publications, including The Wall Street Journal; Inc. magazine; and the London Times.

View More information About This Professor
Also By This Professor
View All Courses By This Professor

Reviews

Rated 4.8 out of 5 by 194 reviewers.
Rated 4 out of 5 by Just-shy-of-wonderful This course was my first exposure to Professor Greenberg, As a novice when it comes to understanding the evolution of classical music, I found the material absolutely fascinating and, for the most part, both comprehensive and clear -- a first-rate introduction to the subject. In terms of presentation, Prof. Greenberg is a force of nature; he's in something of a league of his own in terms of dynamism and engagement. But, like a few other reviewers, I found some of his personal quirks irritating to the point of distraction. In future editions, please drop the incessant "my friend" address to your listeners, and please avoid using "please" as a frequent filler during your discourse. September 12, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Tour de Force Prof Greenberg is an engaging and enlightening and amusing as they come. You need this course as your first intro to the broad sweep of Western Music. Then start to eat up his other courses. July 5, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by So Far So far I've only viewed the first five lectures. I've listened to "classical music" all my life and thought that this might help my understanding and enjoyment of the music. My immediate response to the course was disappointment. I'm not sure why. But as I got into it, I felt that not only was I learning about something that I'd appreciated and enjoyed all my life, but after some initial scepticism Professor Greenberg turned out to be not only very informative but very engaging and entertaining. I know this review is only based on the first five lectures but I'm very excited about what's to come and what I will learn throughout the rest of the course. It's great to know I'm still learning and growing. It's never too late. June 4, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Better than excellent Professor Greenberg's courses consistently exceed my expectations -- which are high! The content is rich, dense, and meaningful; he is a superb and colorful lecturer; and he clearly is a master musicologist, scholar, composer, and teacher. And comedian. All of these earned attributes are gifts to us in his meticulously-prepared lectures and exemplars. His organization is crisp and he is perfectly rehearsed. He draws us into the material from the start, and never lets go. With his wonderful and wry humor, he condescends just enough to make the material accessible to the lay learner, like myself; but he never patronizes and he never cuts corners by "telling" without examples or anecdotes to give meat to the content. For example, in this series and in his Understanding the Fundamentals of Music, he both plays and performs the perfect pieces to illustrate the theory, style, historical figure, or era under discussion. He offers depth and lingers at just the right places. His perfectionism comes through time and again in his prolific body of GC work. As an example, his course guides are not the typical outlines. Rather, they are true supplements and enhancements. They include additional material that is just as fascinating as the recorded lectures--and just as essential. They include musical scores, diagrams, glossaries, biographies and photos, timelines, explications of eras in Western art, additional stories of the lives of geniuses, and outstanding bibliographies. These bibliographies really do provide a portal into more learning. His love of the phenomenon of music--that most abstract and marvelous of human enterprises--is infectious. He imparts joy. It is clear that Professor Greenberg wants his audience to deeply know and relish the best that human civilization can produce. This, my paen to Professor Greenberg, has been a long time coming as we listen and re-listen, always with fascination and chuckles, always learning something new. May 21, 2014
2 3 4 5 ... 8 next>>

Questions & Answers

Customers Who Bought This Course Also Bought

Some courses include Free digital streaming.

Enjoy instantly on your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Buy together as a Set
and
Save Up To $440.00
Choose a Set Format
$144.90
$259.90
$199.90