The Great Works of Sacred Music (The Great Courses)

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Western classical music is one of humanity’s most sublime artistic traditions. Significantly, this great musical language—encompassing genres from symphonic and instrumental music to choral works and opera—was created through the meeting of art and faith. The first music schools in Europe were associated with the Catholic Church. Originally, the Church commissioned music, as composers and […]

Music as a Mirror of History (The Great Courses)

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“What I write is my commentary on what is happening around me… my music is my commentary.” Henryk Górecki In the worlds of painting and literature, it’s easy to see where history and art intersect. In Picasso’s Guernica or Tolstoy’s War and Peace, it’s evident how works of art mirror and participate in the life […]

Music as a Mirror of History (The Great Courses)

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“What I write is my commentary on what is happening around me… my music is my commentary.” Henryk Górecki In the worlds of painting and literature, it’s easy to see where history and art intersect. In Picasso’s Guernica or Tolstoy’s War and Peace, it’s evident how works of art mirror and participate in the life […]

Concert Masterworks (The Great Courses)

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Have you ever wondered what goes through a composer’s mind during those magical weeks and months when a musical composition—something meant to become a listening experience—is being notated on paper? Have you tried to imagine the creative process that boils inside geniuses like Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorák, Strauss, Brahms, Mendelssohn, or Liszt? Or within any composer? […]

Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas (The Great Courses)

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Beethoven was a revolutionary man living in a revolutionary time. He captured his inner voice—demons and all—and the spirit of his time, and in doing so, created a body of music the likes of which no one had ever before imagined. “An artist must never stand still,” he once said. A virtuoso at the keyboard, […]

Music of Richard Wagner (The Great Courses)

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Richard Wagner was one of history’s greatest composers, a theater artist of extraordinary genius and vision, and one of the most controversial characters in the entire pantheon of Western art. More than a century after his death, his legacy is still debated, his influence still felt in our very conception of Western music and in […]

Operas of Mozart (The Great Courses)

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By December 1791, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had written the defining compositions in every available musical genre of his time: symphony, chamber music, masses, and—above all—opera. Opera was the prestige genre of the time, and Mozart loved it dearly and counted on it heavily for personal, professional, artistic, and financial reasons. Just the thought of opera, […]

The Concerto (The Great Courses)

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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. […]

Great Masters: Stravinsky-His Life and Music (The Great Courses)

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When it comes to creative longevity, brilliance across a range of styles, and near-universal fame, Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971) is nearly unrivaled among 20th-century artists. As told by Professor Robert Greenberg, Stravinsky’s career is a dizzying, enthralling progression across the miles and the decades from fin de siècle Czarist Russia to Southern California in the 1960s. […]

Great Masters: Robert and Clara Schumann-Their Lives and Music (The Great Courses)

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In this course by Professor Robert Greenberg you meet the Schumanns—brilliant, gifted, troubled, and unique in the history of music. Robert Schumann (1810–1856) and his wife Clara Wieck Schumann (1819–1896) have earned a distinct place in the annals of Western music. As a couple with a two-career marriage—he as a pioneering critic and composer, she […]