In the worlds of painting and literature, it's easy to see where history and art intersect. In Picasso's Guernica or Tolstoy's War and Peace, it's evident how works of art mirror and participate in the life of their times, sometimes even playing roles in historical events. But what about music?
In Music as a Mirror of History, Great Courses favorite Professor Greenberg of San Francisco Performances returns with a fascinating and provocative premise: Despite the abstractness and the universality of music - and our habit of listening to it divorced from any historical context - music is a mirror of the historical setting in which it was created. Music carries a rich spectrum of social, cultural, historical, and philosophical information, all grounded in the life and experience of the composer - if you're aware of what you're listening to. In these 24 lectures, you'll explore how composers convey such explicit information, evoking specific states of mind and giving voice to communal emotions, all colored by their own personal experiences. Music lovers and history enthusiasts alike will be enthralled by this exploration of how momentous compositions have responded to - and inspired - pivotal events.
Ranging widely across the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, you witness historical moments such as the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, the Austrian-Ottoman conflict, the Hungarian nationalist movement, the movement for Italian unification, the economic ascent of the US, the Stalinist regime in the USSR, and World Wars I and II. Across the arc of the course, you'll see how these events were felt and expressed in the music of Mozart, Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms, Verdi, Wagner, and many others, including modern masters such as Janáček, Górecki, and Crumb, and you'll hear superlative musical excerpts in each lecture. Join us for an unparalleled look into the power and scope of musical art.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
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More history than music
So after all Prof. Greenberg is a history aficionado! In 23 lessons he features as many compositions by 22 composers from Händel to Crumb and puts them in a historical context. Each of them is self containing and like a Holbein miniature full of details and surprising insights. But sometimes his exuberance carries Prof. Greenberg a bit to far and - interesting as his story telling is - the connection to the composition at hands gets lost. An example is Lecture 17 about Janaceks piano sonata of 1905 which starts with a discussion of events in the Czech countries during and after world war II. On the other hand I simple missed a couple of things. The title "Music as a Mirror of History" invoked in me questions like: - Did the change to gothic architectural style with its huge open space influence church music? - What about the change of spirituality during reformation? - In so far is French absolutism reflected in the music of Lully or Delalande? - What was the influence of the instrument builders? - And so on and on I would love hear an audio book about these topics!