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

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Discover the extraordinary life, times, and art of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975), great musical master and flawed but faithful witness to the survival of the human spirit under totalitarianism. He is without a doubt one of the absolutely central composers of the 20th century. His symphonies and string quartets are mainstays of the repertoire. But Shostakovich […]

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

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Musically, Franz Liszt (1811–1886) is one of the most written about but least understood composers of the 19th century. As for his life—Felix Mendelssohn observed that Liszt’s character was “a continual alternation between scandal and apotheosis.” “Scandal and apotheosis”? What could that possibly mean? Join music professor Robert Greenberg for these lectures, and go on […]

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

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The music of Franz Joseph Haydn (1732–1809) is so technically superb, so widely imitated, and so rich in quality and quantity that almost since the moment of its creation it has exemplified the Classical style. More than any other single composer, it was Haydn who created the Classical-era symphony. And his 68 string quartets? They […]

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

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“I am thrice homeless, as a Bohemian in Austria, as an Austrian among Germans, as a Jew throughout the world—everywhere an intruder, never welcomed.” Thus spoke Gustav Mahler (1860–1911), composer, conductor, symphonist. More than many other composers, Gustav Mahler’s works are highly personal expressions of his inner world, a world characterized by an overwhelming alienation […]

Chamber Music of Mozart (The Great Courses)

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What made Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart perhaps the most complete “musical package” in history—a man who created more masterpieces of virtually every musical genre of his day than any other composer before or since? There is perhaps no better way to explore this question than by studying his chamber music. Nowhere is Mozart’s maturity and mastery […]

Life and Operas of Verdi (The Great Courses)

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The Italians have a word for the sense of dazzling beauty produced by effortless mastery: “sprezzatura.” Perhaps no cultural form associated with Italy is as steeped in the love of sprezzatura as opera, a genre the Italians invented. And no artist working in opera has embodied the ideal of sprezzatura as magnificently as that gruff, […]

Symphonies of Beethoven (The Great Courses)

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Why is Beethoven one of the most revered composers in the history of Western music? Professor Robert Greenberg answers: “Beethoven possessed a unique gift for communication. He radiated an absolute directness that makes his music totally accessible. The sheer emotional power of his music is readily understood. His revolutionary compositional ideas are easily appreciated. “And […]

Bach and the High Baroque (The Great Courses)

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Underappreciated in his own time, Johann Sebastian Bach has ascended to Olympian heights in the estimation of generations of music lovers. But what is it about his music that makes it great? Composer and musicologist Robert Greenberg helps you hear the extraordinary sweep of Bach’s music and understand his compositional language—whether you’re a devoted admirer […]

How to Listen to and Understand Opera (The Great Courses)

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For more than 400 years, opera has been one of the most popular performing arts. Geniuses—Monteverdi, Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, and Puccini—produced some of the landmark artistic achievements of all time in this form. With Professor Robert Greenberg to show you how, you can learn to understand, appreciate—even to love—opera in just 24 hours of lectures […]

The Symphony (The Great Courses)

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The great Bohemian-born composer Gustav Mahler once said, “A symphony must be like the world. It must embrace everything.” Over the course of its nearly 300-year life, the symphony has indeed embraced almost every trend to be found in Western concert music. Humble Beginnings, Unmatched Achievement The symphony evolved from the 17th-century Italian opera overture […]