The Modern Scholar: Masterpieces of Western Music

  • by Jeffrey Lependorf
  • Narrated by Jeffrey Lependorf
  • 7 hrs and 43 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

This lecture series focuses on the very best of Western music, and as we progress through these lectures, the following are two important questions that we will seek to answer as we examine the various musical selections: What makes these works masterpieces? Why highlight these works?

These works share, for the most part, a common language, and were all composed to be listened to in the concert hall.
The works have stood the test of time - they remain popular and can be found annually on concert programs.
These works are loved not only by audiences, but have served as quintessential models for other composers as well.
These works stand up to repeated listenings - in fact, the more we study them, the more they seem to yield.
In addition, the course highlights relevant details of the lives of the great composers and aids in developing a knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of Western music.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent and solid listen

Listening to the lectures gave me so much pleasure. Prof. Lependorf teaches the listener to understand the music and create a mental map of the passages. Personally, it was like learning a new language in an insightful way. I'd say the lectures helped to develop my sensitivity.
You can download the accompanying guide and figure out what the lectures are about. In short, they cover the following musicians and their masterpieces:
A.Vivaldi 'The Spring' (Movement I), J.S.Bach 'Brandenburg Concerto No. 5' (Movement I), G.F.Handel 'The Messiah' (“Ev’ry Valley”, “All We Like Sheep”, “Hallelujah”), W.A.Mozart 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' (Movement I), L. van Beethoven 'Symphony No. 5' (Movement I), H.Berlioz 'Symphonie Fantastique', F.Chopin 'Nocturnes' (Vol. 1, Nocturne in Db, Op. 27, No. 2), J.Brahms 'Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Händel' (Variations I, II, III, V, VI, Fugue), R.Wagner 'Prelude to Tristan', M.Mussorgsky 'Pictures at an Exhibition' ('Promenade', 'The Gnome', 'Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks', 'Great Gate of Kiev'), C.Debussy 'Prelude to The Afternoon of the Faun', I.Stravinsky 'The Rite of Spring' (Pt. 1), M.Ravel 'Mother Goose Suite', A.Copland 'Appalachian Spring Suite'.
Prof. Lependorf introduces such notions as tonic, ritornello, tutti, continuo, terraced dynamics, concerto grosso, pedal point, cadenza, oratorio, melisma, serenade, sonata-allegro, adagio, col legno, bel canto, arpeggio, da capo aria, tempo rubato, appoggiatura, hemiola, rounded binary, canon, cross-rhythm, two-against-three, leitmotiv, tremolo, ostinato, whole-tone scale, pentatonic scale, mode, gamelan, glissando, and syncopation, to name a few.
The lectures expanded my musical experience. I'll certainly listen to them again.
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- ESK "There are books of the same chemical composition as dynamite. The only difference is that a piece of dynamite explodes once, whereas a book explodes a thousand times. ― Yevgeny Zamyatin"

A joyful tour through the history of the classics!

Any additional comments?

I recommend this book to everyone! It is complex enough for those who know music and simple enough for beginners.

The sound quality of the musical examples is not the best, but you should buy and listen to the complete recordings of the pieces after the lecture anyway, if you don't already have them.

Also, Prof. Lependorf is not a professional voice artist, that is clear. However, his love and enthusiasm for the subject shines through and his delivery is very relaxed and friendly. Prof. Lependorf gave new depth to pieces that I thought I knew well, and turned me on to others that I had neglected for one reason or another.

These are fascinating lectures that include both the technical music theory behind the pieces, as well as the human stories of the people that created them and just enough audio examples to demonstrate his points while enticing us to seek out the full recordings to hear more.

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- michael "documentary filmmaker"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-22-2008
  • Publisher: Recorded Books