Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Superbo di me stesso

How to Understand and Listen to Great Music - Audio Cassettes
Audio tapes: how quaint!

I recorded my first course for The Teaching Company (now branded as “The Great Courses”) in May of 1993. That was the first edition of How to Listen to and Understand Great Music. To date, I’ve recorded 666 forty-five minute lectures for The Teaching Company/The Great Courses, and virtually every single one of them features any number of musical examples. 

Licensing recordings for use in my courses has been – and continues to be – the single greatest (and most expensive!) headache in creating a courses. It’s a topic I’ve written about and whined about many times, and I’m not going to get into it at length here except to point out that for many years, the terms of our licensing agreements forbade me from identifying on camera the particular recordings I was using. (I know: this is totally counter-intuitive. You would think that the record companies would want me to identify recordings I was excerpting and by doing so drive sales of those recordings. But there you go: it’s just another instance of “go figure.”) 

I bring all of this up because the vast majority of mail and emails I receive from my viewers and listeners include a request for me to identify a specific recording (or recordings) used in one (or more) of my courses. I’m happy to comply when I can though I often cannot, as our licensing agent often sent me unlabeled performances (on cassette) from which to choose my preferred performance. These performances were almost always taken from recordings made in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia on such labels as Supraphon, Hungaroton, and Melodiya; companies that charged next-to-nothing for licensing. 

However, every now and then I managed to license a recording I really wanted to use, usually by telling the power-that-were that it was the only one in existence that could properly illustrate what needed to be illustrated. Such a recording is this week’s “Dr. Bob Prescribes” on Patreon. Of all the hundreds of recordings I’ve licensed and used over the years, it is is this performance (heard on How to Listen to and Understand Great Opera) that has – by far – received the most requests for identification.

See the recording and performer on Patreon!

Robert Greenberg Courses on Sale

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How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition

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Sale! Great Music of the 20th Century

Great Music of the 20th Century

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Concert Masterworks

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Bach and the High Baroque

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The Symphony

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The Chamber Music of Mozart

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The String Quartets of Beethoven

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Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas

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Understanding the Fundamentals of Music

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The Concerto

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The Music of Richard Wagner

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The Symphonies of Beethoven

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The 23 Greatest Solo Piano Works

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The 30 Greatest Orchestral Works

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Music as a Mirror of History

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How to Listen to and Understand Opera

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Great Masters: Haydn — His Life and Music

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Great Masters: Mozart — His Life and Music

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Great Masters: Tchaikovsky — His Life and Music

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Great Masters: Stravinsky — His Life and Music

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Great Masters: Beethoven — His Life and Music

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Great Masters: Mahler — His Life and Music

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Great Masters: Brahms — His Life and Music

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Great Masters: Liszt — His Life and Music

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Great Masters: Robert and Clara Schumann — Their Lives and Music

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Great Masters: Shostakovich — His Life and Music

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The Operas of Mozart

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The Life and Operas of Verdi

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Mozart In Vienna

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Festejo Episodios: A Divertimento for Five Players for Two Percussion, Piano, Flute and Trombone

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“O Sweet Spontaneous Earth” for Mezzo-Soprano and Piano

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Breaths, Voices and Cadenze

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“By Various Means” for Clarinet Quartet

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Songs and Dances for Piano

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Prayer for the Great Family

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Quasi Un Madrigale: Four Italian Songs

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Child’s Play for String Quartet

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Miracles for Piano Solo

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The Passing Years

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In Shape Concerto for Two Pianos and Marimba

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“It Don’t Mean A Thing” for Percussion Sextet

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Dude ‘Tudes: Six Etudes for Piano

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Iron Balconies and Lilies

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“Crazy Levi” for Soprano and Piano

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Pluck for Guitar Solo

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On Trial: Concerto for Vibraphone and Chamber Orchestra

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Among Friends for String Quartet (String Quartet No. 3) (1995) (ca. 30’)

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Piano Concerto No. 2 (1997)

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Sale! Behavioral Science for Trombone Solo

Behavioral Science for Trombone Solo

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Sale! “Rarefied Air” Score Cover

Rarefied Air

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Sale! Funny Like A Monkey for Piano Quartet Score Cover

“Funny Like a Monkey” for Piano Quartet

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Sale! Snappy Rejoinder - String Quartet No. 4 Score Cover

Snappy Rejoinder for String Quartet

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Sale! Anything You Can Do . . . for Vibraphone and Violin Score Cover

Anything You Can Do…

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Tempus Fugit

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So Let Us Live – Really Live!

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Sale! Lemurs are Afraid of Fossas - Score and Parts Cover

Lemurs are Afraid of Fossas

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South Bay Angle (A Twisted Tango)

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“It’s Snowing” for String Quartet

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Invasive Species

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180 Shift

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Of a Single Mind

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Suite Revelation

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Exercised

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The Daughters of Atlas

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