Great Masters: Brahms-His Life and Music : The Great Courses: Fine Arts & Music

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Robert Greenberg
  • Series: The Great Courses: Fine Arts & Music
  • 6 hrs and 7 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Johannes Brahms was a man of contrasts. His serious Teutonic music was balanced by joyful dance music. His miserliness with himself by exceeding generosity with family and associates. His kindness to working people with a biting, malicious wit reserved for those he encountered in artistic and aristocratic circles.
He was not an easy man to know, destroying a good deal of his own work and almost all of his lifetime's correspondence, in later years even collecting his letters from friends so that he could consign them to the flames.
Yet you can know this enigmatic genius through this 8-lecture series, which uses biographical information and musical commentary to link the complexities of Brahms the man with the electrifying music of Brahms the composer.You'll learn how Brahms found unique ways of combining the rigor and formal complexity of older Classical and even Baroque genres and forms with the melodic inventiveness, harmonic sophistication, and expressive richness so prized in the Romantic age. And how his fanatical perfectionism led him to write, rewrite, and ultimately destroy more than 20 string quartets before publishing a pair of exceptionally exquisite pieces at the age of 40, breathing new life into the old bones of this exacting chamber music form.
"His legacy," notes Professor Greenberg, "is a lifetime of extraordinary craft and artistic beauty without an inferior piece in the collection."


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

First class introduction to a wonderful composer

How have I gone so long in life getting so much joy from the works of Brahms without understanding something of this great composer and his life. How many times has my heart been lifted listening to his violin and piano concerti, his symphonies -- oh, why did I start making a list, all his works are all wonderful.

Upon downloading this series of lectures,a new and eminently accessible view of Brahms was revealed. I've only just finished listening and I am still under its spell.

Yet, for the listener who knows little or nothing about classical music, let alone who Brahms actually is, this would be an inspiring introduction. Professor Greenburg is funny, insightful, compassionate, and at times, delightfully satirical -- in short, a clever and effective communicator. Infectious, really.
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- Jane


I enjoyed this course very much. I would listen to another course by this presenter. I alternated between listening to it and listening to Brahms recordings. I have a wonderful collection of favorite Brahms recordings now thanks to this course. This and Brahms music got me through a difficult time. The focuses on his life, but has plenty of examples of his great music.
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- MNtea

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses