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Publisher's Summary

Have you ever thought about the creative process that boiled inside geniuses like Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorák, Strauss, Brahms, Mendelssohn, or Liszt - or any composer, for that matter?
What goes through a composer's mind when a musical composition is being set to paper? Are those magical weeks or months spent in an agonizing creative blur of ideas first tried and then discarded, or is it a matter of pure inspiration? Does the composer hear the music in his head before even picking up a pen, or does the music in fact begin on that blank sheet of staff paper? Most important, can lay listeners like us, untrained in music's technicalities, learn how to open our ears to a composer's creative intentions?
Happily, the answer is a resounding "yes!" And in this series of 32 lectures, a professional composer and accomplished teacher will give you a new level of sophistication as a music listener - using as his teaching tools some of the most memorable works in all of music, by geniuses whose work has not only withstood time, but transcended it.
Through listening to these lectures, you'll gain a new grasp of the intricacies of musical purpose, structure, and narrative content that you will then be able to hear in any piece of music. And though this is a demanding course, with a deeper look into musical structure than untrained listeners are likely to have experienced, it is not an intimidating one. Professor Greenberg vividly positions each composition and its composer in the social and musical fabric of its period, so you can understand the music in its proper societal and artistic context and feel its emotional power in the same way as did its original audiences.
©1995 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1995 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By JaneN on 11-09-14

Down the rabbit hole with Dr. G!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?


My first attempt to break into the world of really enjoying music came when my husband bought. The Concert Masterworks. Until then, I knew my favorite music was Bach’s and Mozart came second and Beethoven and Vivaldi and Teleman were in there somewhere. I was pretty much a Baroque girl. When I listened to the first two lectures, I realized I was missing a lot. So, I got the How to Listen and Understand Great Music. Loved it. Listened until I got to the Classical Period and went back and did Bach and the High Baroque. Then on with the Classical Period--which I have not finished yet because I did Great Masters: Mozart and am about to start The Concerto. And then, either The Chamber Music of Mozart or The Symphony. I am enjoying Dr. Greenberg’s expertise and attitude so much that I keep diving down new rabbit holes!

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful


By augustine on 03-03-15

Very Well Done

I have criticized Professor Greenberg's "over the top" approach to his lectures. For those who have felt the same as me, I encourage you to have a listen to this set of lectures. Greenberg is restrained, professional and not constantly trying to be funny. Indeed, these lectures are very technical, historical detail is precise and informative and the overall tone is one of a deep regard for what constitutes "art".
My only critique is that these lectures do not include the word scores that Professor Greenberg rightfully feels the listener should follow along with. I went to my local library and luckily found the DVD's that included the printed word scores. It greatly enhances the listening experience. I therefore gave the overall rating of 4 stars.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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