The Music of Richard Wagner : The Great Courses: Fine Arts & Music

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Robert Greenberg
  • Series: The Great Courses: Fine Arts & Music
  • 18 hrs and 49 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

In these 24 lectures filled with musical excerpts, enjoy a rich and multifaceted exploration of the trailblazing works and outsized life of this historically pivotal composer.
Your immersion in Wagner's art includes the following:

The Flying Dutchman (which illustrates several of Wagner's key compositional innovations)
Tannhäuser (the saga of a medieval knight torn between two worlds)
Tristan and Isolde (Wagner's crowning masterpiece)
And, of course, The Ring of the Nibelung (arguably the single most ambitious theater work ever created)
The sheer outlandishness of Wagner's life makes for an endlessly intriguing story, from his desperate escapades outrunning creditors to his obsessive personal relationships to his utopian artistic schemes. In his writings, letters, and public actions, you investigate the often contradictory - and hypocritical - aspects of his personality. And, reflecting on the nationalist spirit of his time, you track his core desire to make "German Art in the service of a German national identity," even as he created a body of works whose communicative power transcends any national boundary.
With Professor Greenberg's passionate and razor-sharp commentary, you'll plumb the fabulous mystery of a man who gave the world something of deeply compelling and universal resonance: music of great genius and a poetry that reveals the depths of the human psyche.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Where does The Music of Richard Wagner rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Among the best.

What other book might you compare The Music of Richard Wagner to and why?

This is more extensive than most of Greenberg's introductions to great composers. I generally find that the longer the course, the better it is.

Have you listened to any of Professor Robert Greenberg’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have listened to a great many. This is among the best. Not that it has no flaws (yes, there is a lot of recounting of plots; and Prof.Greenberg's pronunciation of German and French words leaves much to be desired), but Prof. Greenberg speaks with such verve and insight that his presentation of Wagner is both exhilarating and educational.

Any additional comments?

I am not exactly a novice in classical music or in opera (I have seen many of the Wagner operas in German opera houses as well as in Paris), but this audiobook extended and deepened my knowledge and understanding of both the music and the man, and it did so in a most enjoyable and stimulating manner.

I might add that those who are unfamiliar with Greenberg might be put off, as I initially was, by his brash way of speaking and his mispronunciation of foreign words (surprising considering his cultivation and his composer's musical ear). It would be a great shame however to let these keep one away! In time, I began to find his mannerisms more endearing than disturbing — to my own benefit for I have gained much through listening to his lectures.

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- Acteon

excellent, as usual

the courses taught by Prof. Greenberg are always extremely interesting, well paced, well researched and very entertaining.
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- Pablo

Book Details

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