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

Forever change the way you listen to music with this outstanding course that explores the history, composition, and sublime accomplishments of Western concert music.
How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 374.
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Rated 3 out of 5 by from too much non-music history As others have pointed out, there is too much lecture and not enough music in this course. A big chunk of this has to do with his long discussions of historical background. I know it's important to relate music to its period, but this was far too much. And at the same time it was far too little. I know plenty of history so I got nothing out of these digressions. And if you know no history you won't learn much from these digressions. And by eliminating this there would be much more room for what the course purports to teach, music history.
Date published: 2023-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Timeless Music History Five years after taking this course, I still marvel at how useful it was. I hear the lack of understanding in other peoples' remarks and chuckle to myself. As a lifelong business major and worker, I needed this very much, thank you.
Date published: 2023-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful I have watched several of Prof. Greenberg's courses, and I am finally getting around to posting a review. He is one of the best teachers at the Great Courses, and this course is an excellent introduction to classical music. I have never been properly trained as a musician and taught myself just enough guitar to woo women in college. This course was the first time that I truly understood music. Now, I can listen to classical music and immediately identify which period it is from. This is a fascinating and thorough course, yet also accessible. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2023-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course and great teacher I’ve listened to and loved classical music since I was a teenager, but I didn’t have a deeper understanding of how it worked, nor the vocabulary to talk about it. Professor Greenberg has changed all that. This course provides a in-depth understanding of how great Western music works. It’s helped me better understand the works I loved and to widen my tastes into new area. Professor Greenberg is a great teacher, insightful and at times funny. He’s perhaps the best teacher I’ve ever had. My only complaint is that this 48 lesson series could easily have been 60 lectures long. In discussing the 19th century, for example, it mostly skips over Brahms, Dvorak, and Mendelssohn. And it ends in the early 20th century, when I’d have loved for it to also cover such composers as Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Elgar, and Vaughan Williams. Though to be fair, many of these composers are covered in other lecture series by Professor Greenberg (which I’d also recommend).
Date published: 2023-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course and teacher This course was highly enjoyable. Some reviewers found Professor Greenberg's continual imitations of a teapot ('here is my handle, here is my spout') and hand movements a distraction and I must confess I also found them a tad annoying. However, his knowledge of the subject, his passion and his sense of humor shone through and made each lesson a treat. If I'd had teachers like Greenberg in my educational youth, interest in my subjects and grades would both have been higher. Recommended.
Date published: 2022-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How to Use this Course This marvelous 2006 course has a dichotomous nature: a historical aspect juxtaposed with a technical musical analysis. Greenberg prepares us for the historical in the Scope where he broadly divides music by era. He begins with an ancient Greek humanistic (mystical) view of music with its “its power to change nature, to heal…and to change” humanity. After the Roman Empire the Roman Catholic Church, made music the servant of religion via monophonic plainchant. The 14th century saw tonal harmony and the rebirth of Greek-inspired Humanism whereby the Mass gained increased clarity though “vocal declamation” and word painting. The 1600s Baroque brought exuberance along with its early scientific (and now disproved) clockwork universe whose mechanism " found its way into music (via)...standardization of the well-tempered tuning system, meter, and harmony.” From this, the symphony and concerto evolved. Storytelling reached its peak with Wagner and Verdi. Program music and musical nationalism arrived in the 19th century. At its end, Debussy led a quest to break conventional systems ending in the atonal music of Schonberg. Beginning with Lecture 1 (L1), Greenberg expands on the one’s understanding of this historical order but with many ebullient side trips. For example, in L1, his Musical Selection is Beethoven, Symphony no. 2 in D Major, op. 36. He shows us that it’s a crude portrayal of Beethoven’s gastrointestinal problems complete with “hiccups, burps, and rumbles.” Why include such material? Despite his historical approach (which begins in earnest in L2), Greenberg constantly returns to an over-arching theme: music reflects the personality/emotionality of whoever controls the instruments. Greenberg then proceeds through the historical development of music over the centuries. He is very often "sidetracked" into effervescing illustrations of the humanity behind the music AND his methods of codifying the technical aspects of what you are listening to. The latter is where those of us not technically gifted can get lost (and those who are will be in love). I best illustrate this by an extended quote from Lecture 10: “If we move up or down by perfect fifths, we generate the so-called Pythagorean collection. [Piano examples: F–C–G–D–A–E–B.] If we contain these fifths within one octave, we get the white notes on a keyboard. If we move up or down by a continuous string of perfect fifths, the 13th pitch brings us back (almost) to the 1st pitch. [Piano example: circle of Fifths, F–F.] However, there is a slight difference between the first and last pitches, called a Pythagorean comma.” His musical selections make this jargon clear, but if this is not your field, frequent similar illustrations rapidly challenge retention. L10, L15 (and others) introduce Greenberg's use of the "Word Score Guide". For those gifted in the technical aspects of music these are marvelous. For myself the Guidebook, its Glossary, and the web helped me moderately understand these "Word Score Guides", but I was glad not to be tested at the end of the course. SUMMARY: Two of my friends are marvelous musicians. One is a ghetto born natural singer of ferocious abilities and intimidating demeanor. She can take music and instantly go places with it that amaze for their range, tone, and originality. She coaxes wonders out of her choir without a written bar of music. Another is a brilliant musical technician. When he hears something, it gets tone-mapped through his fingers to the keyboard. He also knows the technical terms for what he does and teaches music in college. Like Greenberg, he has it all written down in his head. If YOU are like the technical musician, you will get the most out of Greenberg's course. If you are the singer or simply someone who loves music, you will gain much from this course. If you can hear complex music in your head but have zero technical skills to write it down, enjoy the gifting you have and let Greenberg free you from the burden of authorship.
Date published: 2022-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Title says exactly what the course is about I've listened to all of Robert Greenberg's courses. He teaches with great knowledge a wonderful humor (I love his metaphors!). He breaks whatever subject he's expounding upon down into bite-sized pieces that make it easy to understand and remember.
Date published: 2022-12-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from This lecturer is not talking to me I listen to this course via Audible and I'm glad that I did not pay the price of the full course. I have no issue with the content or information present, it was adequate for a survey course such as this. I knew, given the subject matter that I would spend the majority of the time learning about some white men. But when the lecturer makes analogies or asides or personal opinions, he's speaking to the men in the audience and only the men. What few women mentioned in the course -mostly the subject of the musical works- don't escape without a snide comment. The real life women are rarely named and usually reference solely in their relation to some man (ex: Mozart's mother) and not a single female composer is discussed. Most attempts at humour missed the mark for me due to the extreme masculine lens. I did laugh out loud at this, that demonstrates exactly who this lecturer is talking to: "My friends, I trust that at one time or another we’ve all had the experience of having accomplished something special. We’ve completed a major project, run a marathon or won a tournament. We’ve received some special honour or recognition or witnessed the birth of a child. Whatever." I will not be seeking out any other course by this lecturer despite the multiple requests he makes throughout the course to do so. I expect more from a course of this level and price point.
Date published: 2022-09-14
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Overview

This course can permanently enrich your life. With Professor Robert Greenberg as your teacher, you will hear and understand an entire language of unmatched beauty, genius, and power. Using digitally recorded passages to illustrate his points, Professor Greenberg takes you inside magnificent compositions by Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Verdi, Wagner, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, and more. After this course, you will never listen to music the same way again.

About

Robert Greenberg

For thousands of years cultures have celebrated themselves through their music. Let us always be willing and able to join that celebration by listening as carefully as we can to what, through music, we have to say to one another.

INSTITUTION

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.

You can find more music content from Robert Greenberg on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/RobertGreenbergMusic.

By This Professor

The 23 Greatest Solo Piano Works
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Music as a Mirror of History
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Great Music of the 20th Century
854
Symphonies of Beethoven
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The 30 Greatest Orchestral Works
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How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition
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How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition

Trailer

Music as a Mirror

01: 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, usin...

47 min
Sources-The Ancient World and the Early Church

02: 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 examina...

45 min
The Middle Ages

03: 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 Babylonia...

44 min
Introduction to the Renaissance

04: 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 ...

46 min
The Renaissance Mass

05: 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,...

45 min
The Madrigal

06: 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...

45 min
An Introduction to the Baroque Era

07: 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 a...

45 min
Style Features of Baroque-era Music

08: 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...

48 min
National Styles-Italy and Germany

09: 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.

46 min
Fugue

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 discus...

46 min
Baroque Opera, Part 1

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 ...

45 min
Baroque Opera, Part 2

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.

48 min
The Oratorio

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...

44 min
The Lutheran Church Cantata

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 St...

47 min
Passacaglia

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 focu...

45 min
Ritornello Form and the Baroque Concerto

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 a...

46 min
The Enlightenment and an Introduction to the Classical Era

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.

45 min
The Viennese Classical Style, Homophony, and the Cadence

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.

46 min
Classical-era Form-Theme and Variations

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 &quo...

48 min
Classical-era Form-Minuet and Trio: Baroque Antecedents

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 wh...

44 min
Classical-era Form-Minuet and Trio Form

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,...

47 min
Classical-era Form-Rondo Form

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....

49 min
Classical-era Form-Sonata Form, Part 1

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.

43 min
Classical-era Form-Sonata Form, Part 2

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.

46 min
Classical-era Form-Sonata Form, Part 3

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 c...

46 min
The Symphony-Music for Every Person

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 infl...

43 min
The Solo Concerto

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 h...

43 min
Classical-era Opera-The Rise of Opera Buffa

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 ...

45 min
Classical-era Opera, Part 2-Mozart and the Operatic Ensemble

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 r...

44 min
The French Revolution and an Introduction to Beethoven

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 r...

44 min
Beethoven's Symphony no. 5 in C Minor, op. 67, Part 1

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...

45 min
Beethoven's Symphony no. 5 in C Minor, op. 67, Part 2

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 ab...

46 min
Introduction to Romanticism

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 ex...

44 min
Formal Challenges and Solutions in Early Romantic Music

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 ...

46 min
The Program Symphony-Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, Part 1

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 repre...

45 min
The Program Symphony-Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, Part 2

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,&q...

49 min
19th-Century Italian Opera-Bel Canto Opera

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),...

46 min
19th-Century Italian Opera-Giuseppe Verdi

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 cant...

48 min
19th-Century German Opera-Nationalism and Experimentation

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 19t...

46 min
19th-Century German Opera-Richard Wagner

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 o...

46 min
The Concert Overture, Part 1

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....

44 min
The Concert Overture, Part 2

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....

47 min
Romantic-era Musical Nationalism

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....

46 min
Russian Nationalism

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...

46 min
An Introduction to Early 20th-Century Modernism

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 ...

44 min
Early 20th-Century Modernism-Claude Debussy

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 extraordin...

45 min
Early 20th-Century Modernism-Igor Stravinsky

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 o...

45 min
Early 20th-Century Modernism-Arnold Schonberg

48: Early 20th-Century Modernism-Arnold Schonberg

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&q...

46 min