Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Great Courses

The Great Courses as a Curriculum

September is “Fine Arts Celebration” month for The Great Courses. To that end, I have been asked to write up a music curriculum that TGC can post on its social media channels. I preview it below: Among the questions I am most frequently asked (along with “what’s that aftershave you’re wearing?”) is a curricular one. That is, if my 27 in-print courses should constitute a curriculum, in what order should they be consumed? An excellent question: in fact, I do not wear aftershave. As for a curriculum, this is what I would recommend: Category One: Pre-requisites “How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, third edition.” This remains The Great Courses’ “Music 101”, the entry-level pre-requisite for all my other courses. FYI: this course is an intensified version of the full-year music history sequence I used to teach at the San Francisco Conservatory. “How to Listen to and Understand Great Opera”. If “Great Music” (above) is Music 101, then this is Music 102: a broad survey of the single most important genre in Western music: opera. “The Fundamentals of Music”. This course expands on the vocabulary and listening skills first introduced in “Great Music” and “Great Opera.” From here on […]

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Shostakovich — His Life and Music Playlist

Enjoy five excerpts from the “Great Masters: Shostakovich — His Life and Music” course in a new playlist on the Robert Greenberg YouTube Channel. Lecture highlights in the playlist: Shostakovich — His Life and Music: An Introduction Lady Macbeth The Fifth Symphony The Tenth Symphony The Eighth String Quartet Buy the Course More Great Courses Discover the extraordinary life, times, and art of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975), great musical master and flawed but faithful witness to the survival of the human spirit under totalitarianism. He is without a doubt one of the absolutely central composers of the 20th century. His symphonies and string quartets are mainstays of the repertoire. But Shostakovich is also a figure whose story raises challenging and exciting issues that go far beyond music: They touch on questions of conscience, of the moral role of the artist, of the plight of humanity in the face of total war and mass oppression, and of the inner life of history’s bloodiest century.

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A salute to American Oboist John de Lancie

I have spent the last four days writing up a calendar of events discussed in my twenty-six in-print The Great Courses/Teaching Company courses. (The calendar presently runs 70 pages in length. By the time I finish – with luck, tomorrow – it will run about 90 pages.) My intention is to choose one or two date-appropriate items per week, and post them along with a link to the appropriate Great Courses course. My thinking here is that a spoon full of info helps the shameless self-promotion go down. We lift a glass in a birthday salute to a dear departed friend and former colleague of mine, the American oboist John de Lancie, who was born on July 26, 1921 in Berkeley California and died on May 17, 2002 in Walnut Creek, a suburb of San Francisco. Aside from being one of the greatest oboists of the twentieth century, a brilliant educator and a ferociously exacting oboe teacher, de Lancie was personally responsible for the composition of the single greatest oboe concerto written during the twentieth century: Richard Strauss’ stunning Oboe Concerto in D Major of 1945. Strauss (1864-1949) rode out the end of World War Two at his country house […]

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