The Concerto

Course No. 7270
Professor Robert Greenberg, Ph.D.
San Francisco Performances
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Course Overview

Ready for thrills? A concerto is exciting in ways that no other instrumental music can match. Where a symphony enthralls us with themes that are contrasted, varied, transformed, and developed, a concerto adds the extra dimension of human drama—the exhilaration of a soloist or group of soloists ringing forth against the mass of the orchestra.

Little wonder, then, that the concerto grew out of the same musical setting in 17th-century Italy that gave birth to opera. And like opera, the concerto is a vehicle for the depiction of every human emotion and relationship imaginable, from the gentlest and most tender to the most violent and confrontational, and everything in between.

The concerto is also an extreme sport for soloists, representing musical life lived at the edge, as instruments and the musicians who play them are pushed to the very limit of what is possible by composers exploring the extremes of instrumental virtuosity.

Best of all, the concerto repertoire is huge! The genre was invented long before the symphony. As a result, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli, and Telemann composed hundreds of concerti, but among them not a single symphony. Mozart's great concerti far outnumber his great symphonies; Beethoven wrote almost as many concerti as symphonies; and Brahms composed equal numbers of both. During the 18th and 19th centuries, at least as many concerti were composed as symphonies. And during the 20th century, in terms of sheer quantity, the concerto was by far the single most important genre of orchestral music.

Thrills, drama, emotion, virtuosity, and a vast repertoire—what more could a music lover ask?

300 Years of Concerti

In this series of 24, 45-minute lectures, Professor Robert Greenberg gives you 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. The course closes with a look into the future at concerto composers who are now in mid-career and poised to carry this vibrant musical tradition well into the 21st century.

These lectures are musically rich, including selections from nearly 100 concerti representing more than 60 composers—from Gabrieli to Gershwin, from Schumann to Shostakovich.

Along with the bedrock of the repertoire, represented by Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Rachmaninoff, Bartok, and many others, you will be introduced to superb concerti by Hummel, Vieuxtemps, Wieniawski, Moszkowski, Paderewski, Ginastera, and other less-familiar masters.

The many pieces you will explore in depth include:

  • Mozart's Concerto for Flute in G Major, K. 313: For one who claimed to detest the flute, Wolfgang Mozart composed some of the most gorgeous music ever written for the instrument.
  • Haydn's Concerto for Trumpet in E-flat Major: Often heard on today's concert stage, this stirring piece was nearly lost forever. It was only found in 1929—120 years after Joseph Haydn's death.
  • Beethoven's Piano Concerto no. 4 in G Major, op. 58: Ludwig van Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto is one of his greatest works in the genre—filled with compositional, pianistic, and expressive innovations that changed the course of Western music.
  • Chopin's Piano Concerto no. 2 in F Minor, op. 21: Disdaining large-scale form, Frederic Chopin strove for achingly beautiful themes and an amazing harmonic palette. The spectacular third movement of this piece is a Polish mazurka gone wild.
  • Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor, op. 16: The most beloved and recognizable concerto to early 20th century audiences was not by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, or Brahms; it was this piece by the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.
  • Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major, op. 35: In Professor Greenberg's estimation, this concerto is Peter Tchaikovsky's single greatest work and one of the greatest concerti of the 19th century.

Other highlights of the course include virtually an entire lecture devoted to Johannes Brahms's Piano Concerto no. 2 in B-flat Major, op. 83; and another lecture focusing on Antonin Dvorak's Concerto for Cello in B Minor, op. 104, "the greatest cello concerto ever written," says Professor Greenberg. You also explore some notoriously esoteric and difficult 20th-century composers, including Arnold Schoenberg and Elliott Carter, learning how their music is much more accessible than it appears.

Concerto Play-by-Play

As in his many other courses for The Teaching Company, Professor Greenberg has put together a fascinating itinerary that will surprise, delight, and instruct you, introducing you to new realms of music and also teaching you how to appreciate familiar pieces in new ways.

And, as always, his musical analysis is a vivid play-by-play, mixing technical information (which he always explains) with a connoisseur's appreciation for the grand effect, the crucial detail, and the telling anecdote that help bring a piece of music to life. For example:

  • Bach's Brandenburg Concerto no. 3 in G Major, BWV 1048: "One could argue quite persuasively that rather than feature no soloist at all, Brandenburg 3 demands that virtually every player become a soloist."
  • Mozart's Concerto for Piano no. 21 in C Major, K. 467: "Mozart creates for the piano a persona that is a rakish bon vivant that stands in contrast to the orchestra's grandeur. The piano is 'escorted' on stage, Dean Martin-like, by what I imagine to be three lovely ladies: a sultry redhead, portrayed by a solo oboe; a husky-voiced brunette, portrayed by a solo bassoon; and a ravishing blonde, portrayed by a solo flute."
  • Bartok's Piano Concerto no. 2: "Bartok's music is precisely what all 21st century music should aspire to be: personal, powerful, and brilliantly crafted; music that somehow manages to reconcile diverse aspects of our global environment into a whole greater than its parts. Bartok is, truly, a composer for our time."
  • Richard Strauss's Oboe Concerto in D Major: "Strauss's Oboe Concerto is a masterwork of elegance, melodic grace, and concision, though it begins with a passage that strikes fear and dread in the heart of every oboist. To play the passage, an oboist has to use a technique called circular breathing, during which she must exhale air held in the cheeks while simultaneously inhaling through the nose."

A Thrill in Every Sense

Professor Greenberg observes that the same qualities of drama and conflict that make concerti exciting experiences for the audience also create the prospect for real-life conflict among the musicians. "The performance of a concerto is ripe with potential for interpersonal conflict that goes beyond the usual conductor versus orchestra warfare," he notes. "By adding an outsider—a featured soloist—to the mix, we are witness to an exponential increase in the likelihood for interpersonal rivalry, resentment, envy, and sabotage." Professor Greenberg gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse at several incidents that illustrate the fragile egos and turf wars that seem to be an inevitable part of the business of making great music.

But great music it is—a thrill in every sense. The concerto is a genuinely theatric construct. Beyond its pitches, rhythms, and forms, it is about the aspirations of the individual—each of us, as we venture forth and make our way in a sometimes hostile, sometimes friendly, but always challenging environment.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 47 minutes each
  • 1
    The Voice in the Wilderness
    Alessandro Stradella was the first to compose works now recognized as concerti. His Sonata in D Major for Trumpet and Strings from around 1680 is really a concerto and shows how operatic technique is transferred to instrumental music. x
  • 2
    The Baroque Italian Concerto
    Giuseppe Torelli pioneered the three-movement concerto as well as ritornello form. Tomaso Albinoni elevated the solo oboe to a position approaching that of the solo violin, while Antonio Vivaldi made the concerto the most important instrumental form during the High Baroque. x
  • 3
    Baroque Masters
    In the first of his musical potpourris, surveying a wide range of concerti and their composers from a given era, Professor Greenberg examines Baroque works by Alessandro Mar'cello, Francesco Geminiani, Francesco Manfredini, Pietro Locatelli, Georg Muffat, Georg Philipp Telemann, and George Frederick Handel. x
  • 4
    Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti
    Johann Sebastian Bach composed transcendent music that married craft, imagination, spiritual depth, and expressive profundity with lyricism, grace, and delicacy. These qualities can be found in his six Brandenburg concerti—supreme masterworks that are unmatched by any concerti before those of Mozart. x
  • 5
    Mozart, Part 1
    The solo concerto became the predominant type of concerto during the Classical era. The era's brightest star, Wolfgang Mozart, was arguably the greatest composer of concerti who ever lived. This lecture focuses on his Concerto no. 4 in D Major for Violin, K. 218; and Concerto for Flute in G Major, K. 313. x
  • 6
    Mozart, Part 2
    This lecture explores Mozart's Oboe Concerto in C Major, K. 271k; Horn Concerto in E flat Major, K. 495; Sinfonia Concertante in E flat Major for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra, K. 364; Concerto in E flat Major for Two Pianos, K. 365; Piano Concerto no. 20 in D Minor, K. 466; Piano Concerto no. 21 in C Major, K. 467; and Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622. x
  • 7
    Classical Masters
    The second of Professor Greenberg's musical potpourris examines the rich environment of pre-Classical and Classical-era concerti. Featured are works by Giuseppe Tartini, Johann Joachim Quantz, Frederick II of Prussia, Johann Christian Bach, and Joseph Haydn, whose Trumpet Concerto in E flat Major is considered the greatest of his surviving concerti. x
  • 8
    Beethoven
    With its inherent principle of contrast, the concerto was an ideal vehicle for Ludwig van Beethoven, whose belief that expressive content should determine form resulted in an unheard of degree of formal flexibility. This lecture discusses his Triple Concerto for Violin, 'Cello, and Piano in C Major, op. 56; and Piano Concerto no. 4 in G Major, op. 58. x
  • 9
    The Romantic Concerto
    The Romantic era's focus on virtuosity resulted in the predominance of the soloist over the orchestra, exemplified in Niccolo Paganini's Violin Concerto no. 1 in D Major. With Franz Liszt's Piano Concerto no. 1 in E flat Major, even traditional double exposition form disappeared in the face of the "heroic" soloist. x
  • 10
    Hummel and Chopin
    Frederick Chopin considered his compositional style to have evolved from Mozart. Chopin's link to Mozart was Mozart's student Johann Nepomuk Hummel, whose Piano Concerto in B Minor, op. 89, is featured in this lecture. Of Chopin's two piano concerti, Piano Concerto no. 2 in F Minor, op. 21, is discussed. x
  • 11
    Mendelssohn and Schumann
    This lecture compares and contrasts two Romantic-era giants, Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann. Featured are Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto in G Minor, op. 25; and Violin Concerto in E Minor, op. 64; followed by Schumann's Piano Concerto in A Minor, op. 54; and 'Cello Concerto in A Minor, op. 129. x
  • 12
    Romantic Masters
    Professor Greenberg's third musical potpourri discusses the work of seven Romantic composers, whose concerti are still current on the concert stage and in recording: Henri Vieuxtemps, Henryk Wieniawski, Max Bruch, Edvard Grieg, Moritz Moszkowski, Ignaz Paderewski, and Richard Strauss. x
  • 13
    Tchaikovsky
    Excoriated by colleagues and critics alike, Tchaikovsky's concerti ultimately triumphed to become cornerstones of the repertoire. This lecture explores his Piano Concerto no. 1 in B flat Minor, op. 23; Piano Concerto no. 2 in G Major, op. 44; and Violin Concerto in D Major, op. 35, arguably his single greatest work and one of the greatest concerti of the 19th century. x
  • 14
    Brahms and the Symphonic Concerto
    Johannes Brahms's compositional style is a synthesis of the clear and concise musical forms and genres of the Classical and Baroque eras, and the melodic, harmonic, and expressive palette of the Romantic era in which he lived. This lecture examines in depth his monumental Piano Concerto no. 2 in B flat Major, op. 83. x
  • 15
    Dvorak
    Antonin Dvorak appreciated Mozart and the clear constructs of Classical-era music, infused with a Beethovenian expressivity, and a Romantic melodic and harmonic language. His 'Cello Concerto in B Minor, op. 104, is likely the finest 'cello concerto in the repertoire. x
  • 16
    Rachmaninoff
    Sergei Rachmaninoff displays a high degree of lyricism and drama, and a preference for the minor mode that often tinges his music with melancholy. This lecture explores his Piano Concerto no. 1 in F sharp Minor, op. 1; Piano Concerto no. 2 in C Minor, op. 18; and Piano Concerto no. 3 in D Minor, op. 30. x
  • 17
    The Russian Concerto, Part 1
    Music of Alexander Glazunov, who reconciled 19th-century Russian musical nationalism with German compositional style, is the foundation on which this examination of the Russian concerto is based. This lecture examines such works as his Violin Concerto in A Minor, op. 82, as well as concerti by Dmitri Kabalevsky and Aram Khachaturian. x
  • 18
    The Russian Concerto, Part 2
    Sergei Prokofiev had a wry and acerbic personality that found its way into his music. This lecture discusses his Piano Concerto no. 1 in D flat Major, op. 10; Piano Concerto no. 3 in C Major, op. 26; and Violin Concerto no. 2 in G Minor, op. 63, a work designed for performance in the Soviet Union. Dmitri Shostakovich, whose output of concerti is modest compared to his symphonies and string quartets, is represented by his Piano Concerto no. 1 in C Minor, op. 35; Piano Concerto no. 2 in F Major, op. 102; Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, op. 77; and his 'Cello Concerto no. 1 in E flat Major, op. 107, a work composed for his friend Mstislav Rostropovich. x
  • 19
    The Concerto in France
    This lecture explores the concerti of French composers Maurice Ravel, Jacques Ibert, François Poulenc, and Henri Dutilleux. All were profoundly influenced by the French language in their love of sound, a penchant for long melodies, a tendency toward slow harmonic turnover, and an emphasis on thematic variation. x
  • 20
    Bartok
    Bela Bartok combined elements from Eastern European folk music, a love for Classical-era forms, a Beethoven-inspired mastery of motivic development and an innate sense of drama to create a viscerally exciting and intellectually rewarding music. This lecture discusses his Piano Concerto no. 2 and his Concerto for Orchestra, one of the great orchestral masterworks of the 20th century. x
  • 21
    Schönberg, Berg and the 12-Tone Method
    Arnold Schönberg was one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. As an example of his 12-tone music, this lecture looks at the viscerally powerful Piano Concerto, op. 42. Also examined is the haunting Violin Concerto of Schönberg's student, Alban Berg, whose use of the 12-tone technique in this work is stunningly expressive and lyric. x
  • 22
    Twentieth-Century Masters
    Professor Greenberg's fourth musical potpourri explores five composers and five concerto masterworks from the 20th century: Jean Sibelius's Violin Concerto in D Minor, op. 47; Carl Nielsen's Clarinet Concerto, op. 57; William Walton's Viola Concerto; Aaron Copland's Piano Concerto; and Albert Ginastera's Piano Concerto no. 1. x
  • 23
    Elliott Carter
    Elliott Carter's great achievement is his ability to meld completely different, simultaneous musical elements into a convincing and homogeneous whole. This lecture focuses on his incredibly complex Double Concerto for Harpsichord and Piano of 1961, which is also his greatest orchestral work. x
  • 24
    Servants to the Cause and Guilty Pleasures
    In the final lecture Professor Greenberg looks at the relationship between soloist, conductor, and orchestra in the performance of concerti. Next he focuses on some composers and superb concerti that have not been discussed thus far in the course. Finally, he lists composers to watch—living composers of concerti whose careers are well worth following. x

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Your professor

Robert Greenberg

About Your Professor

Robert Greenberg, Ph.D.
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,...
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Reviews

The Concerto is rated 4.9 out of 5 by 50.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting! As with Dr. Greenberg's other courses, this course is filled with fascinating facts about the composers and the music. It inspired me to seek out the full performances of some of the concertos I wasn't familiar with.
Date published: 2016-07-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is the perfect combination of biography, context, analysis of the music itself, told with the passion of someone who clearly loves it.
Date published: 2016-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Saying What Has Already Been Said I have taken a few courses with Professor Greenberg and this one simply continues his journey of excellence. I especially like his historical perspective on the composers, the time the music was written, and musical history in general. I will not repeat all the extremely positive comments made by other reviewers only adding another "Bravo" to the mix.
Date published: 2016-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Introduction to the Concerto In this lecture series, Greenberg continues his trend of providing contextualizing biographical data placing a composer and their works into their time period, and then segments of particular concertos to “get them in one’s ear.” In these biographical sketches, one learns useful and interesting tidbits that help one understand particular pieces, and also that humanize the composers. One also gets some insight into the mechanics of a concerto concert, particularly the tension between a conductor, orchestra, and a featured soloist. All of these are delivered in Greenberg’s informative and mildly irreverent style. I have listened to over a dozen of Greenberg’s lecture courses. Other than one college course on “music appreciation,” nearly all I have learned about the history of music, the symphony, the opera, or various composers comes from Greenberg. In that context, this was one of his best courses. First, I had come to view classical music in a rather narrow context, focusing on symphonies. The concerto, however, is quite a different style, growing out of vocal music and emphasizing the individual against the group. In this course, one encounters composers that one already knows but in a new context, and this leads one to reevaluate them. One discovers many new composers, and is reminded that there is a lot of good in the world that one had not yet been exposed to. For me, this was one of the more expensive courses, as time and again I heard music that I wanted to hear again and again and found myself buying pieces and even exploring the particular genre of cello concerto. Indeed, the past three months of concertos have been a welcome addition to my musical library. After this course, I feel like I have a foundation from which to explore other works—and really, isn’t this the purpose of a great course?
Date published: 2014-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Everyone Loves Greenberg. There's a reason. Professor loves the music, loves to teach, and is engaging. That's a wonderful combination. He also has a great voice for this kind of work. I don't have his magnum opus, How to Listen to and Understand... but this is a great course.
Date published: 2014-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a great experience this course is classic professor greenberg. i really enjoy his survey courses because the fact that you’re constantly moving forward in time means that the material remains fresh throughout. i was initially concerned about the amount of time allotted to each of the various musical eras, but in fact it works quite well and there’s no sense that some styles get passed over too quickly. and by the end of the course you definitely feel like you’ve got a strong handle on the main concerto repertoire. i also appreciated the fact that alongside all the big names and famous works there were plenty of minor players and concerti you’re less likely to have heard of. this makes this course much more than just “the concerto’s greatest hits,” and provides more experienced listeners with various possibilities for exploration. i supplemented the course by actually seeking out and listening to many of the concerti discussed, and if you can manage it i highly recommend this approach as it increases your appreciation exponentially. it not only allows you to perceive each concerto as a whole rather than as just a few choice excerpts, but it also lets you directly experience the changes and transformations the concerto underwent over time. it’s one thing to be told the cadenza has moved from the end of the recapitulation to the end of the development; it’s quite another to hear what that actually means in practice. this course is so well done that it took me nearly twenty lectures to find a single point to criticize, and that is that you should not expect any sympathy if you have difficulty with modern music. clearly prof. greenberg, himself a modernist composer, has been endlessly harassed over these works, and i can understand how he would get tired of having to constantly come to their defence. he has an exasperated tone whenever we come to anything modern, a kind of, “yes, it sounds modern—deal with it!”, and in the lecture on schönberg that tone becomes decidedly antagonistic. this may be understandable, but it’s not particularly helpful. a simple “i understand that this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but here it is” might have been more effective, but instead where we most need our hands held we instead get pushed out on our own while the channeled spirit of charles ives effectively tells us to “take our dissonance like a man.” nonetheless for the survey to be complete the modern works have to be there, and even if you don’t particularly enjoy listening to them they usually are interesting to learn about. and this complaint, which really only affects a handful of the later lectures, was indeed my only beef in an otherwise stellar and highly recommended course.
Date published: 2013-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bravo Dr. Greenberg Bravo, Robert Greenberg for a truly outstanding course, The Concerto. I’ve been a life-long serious music lover. His course has enriched my appreciation for music I love, advanced my understanding of pieces I have heard dozens of time, and introduced me to new works/composers. Dr. Greenberg is a stellar teacher. The course was tightly organized, combining an accessible analysis of major works, a deep appreciation and love for music, with an eye to the historical and social context when each piece was written. After setting the biographical and historical context of each composer and concerto, he delves into the great works with gusto. The course is developed for those who would wish to hear an analysis of the themes and structure of the concertos selected. The themes, tensions between soloist and orchestra, and the unique elements of each piece are presented. But this course is not just for those with musical training or advanced musical knowledge. Dr. Greenberg is so clear in his presentation that most folks who would consider taking a course like this would have sufficient musical skills to gain much from his remarks. OK – I am still smarting from his devastating remarks about Beethoven’s Triple Concerto. (I still love the piece, but now hear it with his comments in my ear. Nuts!) And some might find his corny sense of humor and vocal imitations of composers off-putting. I listened to this course in my car and loved his occasional cutesy remarks and Yiddish words. Greenberg projects his rich and engaging personality into his teaching. In my book, that’s what makes a great teacher. I purchased this coursed primarily to hear his observations about Bach’s Brandenburgs, Mozart’s piano works, Brahm’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and various cellos concertos (Dvorak, Deutilleux). I have listened to most of the CDs two or three times. I am buying a number of new works that I did not know before this course. And although I haven’t yet purchased something by Carter, he has deepened understanding of his music. I will surely be purchasing some of his many courses for the Teaching Company. Robert Greenberg has enabled me to love even more, the great music which has been integral to my life. That is a tremendous gift and, in effect the highest compliment I can pay to him. Bravo – no, bravissimo Greenberg - for a truly delightful course.
Date published: 2013-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just Plain Great! Of the ten courses I have followed with Professor Greenberg, this is simply the best. In this series of lectures, he covers with his usual energy and enthusiasm the history and evolution of the concerto from the early 18th century to the late 20th. He succeeds in reaching an excellent balance between historical background, musical analysis and (mostly) pertinent anecdotes. At 24, the number of lectures is sufficient to provide a very substantial offering that is not overpoweringly long. Since lectures only include musical excerpts of the works discussed, it is a good idea to insert into your playlist full recordings bought from another source.
Date published: 2013-06-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from jarring I found Professor Greenberg’s presentational style extremely jarring. I could only watch the first lecture and part of the second. I would prefer to listen to ‘Duelling Banjos’ for example than the concertos he gave examples of. I was expecting more history and information together with music that would enthral. I am going to send this one back. I do like classical music but I made a mistake in buying this course. It is for a different species than me; not necessary a worse one, just different.
Date published: 2013-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Greenberg does it again I have taken several of Professor Greenberg's courses and the one on the Concerto is another example of his excellent work. I cannot recommend this course more highly. The only possible suggestion I might have is to not concentrate as much content on the 20th century, and more on the 18th and 19th century. That said, it is still a marvelous course.
Date published: 2012-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Illuminating for every level This course will not only explain the difference between concerto, symphony, and sonata, but will provide the best examples from all time periods from baroque to 20th century modernism. He devotes lectures to Russian and French concertos, and 2 to Mozart. He covers the concerto masters Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, and along the way recommends many pieces which even if familiar are given a deeper understanding. Pieces include Locatelli concerto grosso, Viotti violin concerto, Beethoven piano concerto #4, Haydn trumpet concerto, Rachmaninoff piano concertos 2 and 3, Glazunov and Prokofiev violin concertos, Shostakovich piano concerto, and Bartok concerto for orchestra, just to name a few. He does a great service by covering the modern masters in the last few lectures, and provides them with much needed exposure. When he recommends a piece, it won't disappoint, and here such glowing recommendations include Beethoven piano concerto #4, Grieg piano concerto, and Dvorak cello concerto. Here he discusses Brahms piano concerto #2, because he refers to his other courses for coverage of his beautiful violin concert and first piano concerto. All in all, an excellent survey of concertos without any major gaps an plenty of hidden gems.
Date published: 2012-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stunningly Brilliant Lectures What a marvellous experience this course proved to be! Such an animated and inspiring Professor! Truly, I cannot praise this course too highly: it is masterfully presented, with powerful explanations ~ and a good dose of humour when appropriate. I look forward to watching more courses by Dr. Robert Greenberg (I have three standing by).
Date published: 2012-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Understands the Excitement of Great Concertos Ever since my teens, I've found concertos especially exciting. Prof. Greenberg feels that excitement, and teaches us a great deal that enhances our enjoyment of concertos. This is a wonderful course, combining intellectual enlightenment with emotional elevation.
Date published: 2011-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ENRICH YOUR LIFE This review refers to the CD's. No matter where one finds oneself in the musical knowledge spectrum, this series will add depth to one's listening pleasure. Professor Greenberg covers a vast number of concerti written by the standard greats, but he also takes one on an exploration of music by composers not widely followed or whose music is not in the standard repertoire usually performed by orchestras. One listens to excerpts of wonderful music as he explains what one is hearing. He also adds colorful commentary on the lives of the composers as well as the times in which the music was created. There are amusing stories about the tension between solo performers and conductors as well as orchestras. Even if one owns CD's or records of many of the concerti covered in this course as I do, one will find Professor Greenberg will enrich the listening pleasure of them as well as one's life. This series can't be recommended highly enough for everyone no matter what his or her musical taste may be.
Date published: 2011-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional I know nothing about music except how to read it from high school. Listening to this series, I realized I knew nothing about concertos except the name. This is an outstanding instructor and a highly recommended course.
Date published: 2011-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful course This is based on downloaded version. Bob Greenberg is a great teacher. I have listened to all his courses and they are all excellent. In my opinion he is one of the 3 top professors in the Teaching Company. He presents the material that sounds pretty technical for a non-musician (like me) and makes it easy to understand and to follow. And he does it in a manner that is simply delightful and leaves you wanting more. As I mentioned in my reviews of his other courses, it is always a disappointing moment when you realize that the course is over. It might be a good idea to listen to his excellent course How to Listen and Understand Great Music where he explains various musical technical issues. It will make things easier to understand, but if you choose not to do it, you will still find this course enjoyable. I was not familiar with several of the concertos discussed and I was very happy to learn about them. But even the works that I heard before and thought that I knew well were presented in a way that made them like brand new works, with the kind of information and understanding that I could not possibly ever hope to gain, no matter how often I listened to them. Great course, just like the other Bob Greenberg’s courses.
Date published: 2011-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magnificent Series Professor Greenberg is by any measure an outstanding music composer and educator. His lecture series on The Concerto is one of the best courses that the Teaching Company has in its repertoire. Highly enthusiastic and obviously competent, Dr Greenberg traces the origins of the Concerto from its opera house foundation to its present day compositions. He traces the evolution by a combination of insights and use of compositional constructs while at the same time using the music itself to highlight the steps of the evolutionary process. From the first Venetian composers to the experimental constructs of the 21st Century, the path the Concerto took on its journey is explained and highlighted by this exceptional professor. I enjoyed this course immensely and although familiar with much of the music, the insights into the life, loves, shortcomings and talents of the many composers made this course extremely valuable. This is definitely a course for anyone interested in this fascinating and satisfying modem of musical expression. Its a great course.
Date published: 2010-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bravo! Every course that I have studied with Dr. Greenberg has been a treat; however this course is exceptional. I loved the conversational tone of the lectures and looked forward to each and every lesson. The examples of the music in this genre are comprehensive and wonderful. I have a whole new appreciation for the concerto thanks to this course. It made my driving time a pleasure.
Date published: 2010-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyable learning! The course material presented was thoroughly researched as is usual for Dr. Greenberg and any course he teaches for the Teaching Company. He backs up his opinions and observations with humor and interesting side remarks that further accentuate his comments and we remember the material all the better. We especially enjoyed the Brandenburg lecture and the Russian composers and their works. All of the lectures were very interesting and it was good to learn about the motivations composers had for some of the "newer" works even if the "music" was odd to our ears.
Date published: 2010-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must have companion for concert goers This is probably one of the best of the Greenberg courses that I have taken. This is saying a lot as I have got immense pleasure from all the 10 or so that I have listened to. He provides a very comprehensive survey of the concerto from its beginnings right up to concerti from living composers. Oddly enough in the parallel course on the symphony he stops about half a century ago. I wonder why he chose to a different approach here? One extra bonus to the general survey is a very interesting lecture on the personal dynamics of concerto performance i.e. the relationship between the soloist, the orchestra and the conductor. Absolutely essential for the classical music lover.
Date published: 2010-05-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Wonderful Complement I purchased the Concerto class because it presents music that I have studied and played. I found that the material is not repetitive of the material contained in Prof. Greenberg's 'How to Listen to and Understand Great Music". The Concerto course can be integrated extremely well with the general music history course. The Concerto course offers more discussion, for example, on many of the composers of the High Baroque, including Vivaldi, who are understandably not covered in the more general survey course. The Concerto course is another masterpiece by Dr. Greenberg. I never had a teacher in music school as entertaining as he is. His humor, however, hais a purpose and he uses it effectively to enhance a point he is making. Dr. Greenberg is an extraordinary teacher. He knows how to put a lecture together and present it in a manner that is both instructive and entertaining. This course is better than most that I took while studying piano. Thank you, again, Dr. Greenberg. I treasure your courses.
Date published: 2010-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent and Entertaining Professor Greenberg always combines enthusiasm, spectacle, historical information and music theory in a heady blend. This was the first of his courses that I took, and far from the last. The concerto is a superb music form and Greenberg covers it from its beginning in Renaissance Italy to the Twentieth Century, with wonderful examples and anecdotes. His exploration of why Mozart is possibly the greatest composer of the concerto is insightful, as is his analysis of two Beethoven concerti, one a failure (the Triple Concerto) and one a magnificent success (the Fourth Piano Concerto). And he introduced me to several concerti, especially modern ones by Poulenc and Ibert, that I was not familiar with. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2009-10-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from mostly good, but . . . There is a lot of good information to be had in this course. It also comes with a pdf of outline/notes to allow you to refresh your memory if you get sidetracked for some time between lectures. You should know, however, that the "exuberance" of the lecturer has both an up and down side. The man is clearly excited about his subject: good. He frequently goes overboard: less good (it's hard to take someone seriously when everything is described as amazing, plus he favors corny comments better suited to a very young listener that beg a fair amount of tolerance from mature listeners). He also should have included a discography so one could track down recordings used. He samples A. Marcello's Oboe Concerto in C min. transcribed for trumpet, but does not list the recording and it is nowhere to be found on Amazon or with Google search. Ultimately, I found the course best enjoyed in small doses.
Date published: 2009-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Music Course by a TTC Favorite The Concerto Taught by Robert Greenberg 24 lectures, 45 minutes/lecture Dr. Greenberg is one of the most prolific and popular speakers in the Teaching Company Collection. He is both a renowned scholar of music history and a composer in his own right, having had his own music recorded and performed worldwide. His many music courses with TTC include "How to Listen to and Understand Great Music","Concert Masterworks", "The Symphony",and the "Great Masters Series", a set of ten courses highlighting the life and music of major classical composers from Hayden to Shostakovich. This course titled "The Concerto" examines the evolution and development of the Concerto genre, from its beginings in 17th-century Italy to the present day. It is a fascinating story filled with the delightful personalities, interresting technological developments and the social changes that all directly profoundly effected the development of the Concerto in one way or another. Dr. Greenberg provides superb examples of the genre with his keen and insightful analysis. The works are well chosen examples and demonstrate some of the most popular and beautiful classical music ever written. In addition to well known works by the major composers, the viewer will become familiar with some of the lesser known works by composers such as Marcello, Hummel and Spohr. These wonderful examples are alone worth the price of admission. The course continues through the 20th Century with analysis and examples of works by Arnold Schoenberg and Elliott Carter. With 24 lectures, the course gives the depth and insight that some of the shorter music series are unable to provide.This course works equaly well in both audio and video formats. This course is a great companion to the excellent course "The Symphony" also by Dr. Greenberg. A very highly recomended course!
Date published: 2009-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Pleasure from Beginning to End This is another splendid series of lectures by, arguably, The Teaching Company's finest professor. If you enjoyed Professor Greenberg's wonderful course "How to Listen to and Understand Music," then be assured you will love this survey of concerto works. It is similar in style and presentation, except focused this time on a single musical genre -- the concerto. Highly recommended to all lovers of great music! As with most of Professor Greenberg's courses, this one works just fine on audio CD.
Date published: 2009-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very engaging presenter Professor Greenberg's style was both personal and professional. The course has anecdotes and interesting sidenotes throughout. The ability to hear the music at the same time as it is discussed is very useful, and makes this one of my favorites at the Teaching Company. Compared to reading and listening to the music myself this was amazing.
Date published: 2009-04-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! He Gets It & Now I Do I've been studying concertos for over 4 decades. Where was Professor Greenberg when I started? His knowledge, humor and presentation made me go through this course much more quickly than I intended. Professir Greebberg truly makes learning a rewarding experience. He's turned l.ights on in pieces with which I had been previously quite familiar. As an indication of the impression he made, before I had completed the course, I had ordered two others.
Date published: 2009-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Entertained and Enlightened Prof Greenburg's delivery is as much quality humor as incisive instruction. I've rarely been as entranced by a professor's delivery as well as by the subject matter. Laughter in counterpoint with auditory ecstasy - my only regret is that the course length was not extended to include both the full performance of his musical selections or full range of his wit. I detect quality stand up comedy here. If I were a student, I would have to sit through his course a second semester just for the sheer joy of the humor combined with musical exploration and discovery.
Date published: 2009-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Music Teacher I Wish I Had in School I'm a math and science type who sat through horrible high school music theory classes and was forced to learn to play the "recorder". This turned me off to formal music theory in general and classical music in particular. My wife is a hardcore classical music afficianado and I bought the Teaching Company music courses to try to capture the kind of joy she gets from the music. After being lured in by his Gret Music and Opera courses I began buying more of Greenberg's courses and his wit, anecdotes, depth of contextual perspective, and well-thought out lectures bring the music to life. I now see what I was missing and wish I had heard these lectures 25 years ago
Date published: 2009-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ranks #1 When you look at the professors page that lists all of their Teaching Company lectures, there's a reason Prof. Greenberg has far and away the most number of courses. He's the best of the best. Anything he's done in music is worth your time and this set on The Concerto is no exception. Now if only he would do Wagner...
Date published: 2009-01-11
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