Category Archives: Music

How to Listen to Great Music: A Guide to Its History, Culture, and Heart by Robert Greenberg

How to Listen to Great Music: A Guide to Its History, Culture, and HeartHow to Listen to Great Music: A Guide to Its History, Culture, and Heart by Robert Greenberg

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listen to The Teaching Company’s Great Courses on my commutes and with the exception of one on Native American Peoples to start this year, the rest have been concert music oriented. Greenberg has a ten artist series on the lives and music of great masters and the one I am finishing now, of the same title as this. It’s a 48 lecture companion course and I highly recommend listening to it in parallel to reading this (he has more…I have them queued). Greenberg is energetic, entertaining and eminently knowledgeable. I can’t begin to capture here even a fraction of the breadth he covers. There is depth, to be sure, but Greenberg masterfully surveys the monumental repertoire of modern western music from ancient Greece (yes! they’ve managed to reconstruct a couple of pieces from stele and pottery!) through medieval times through Baroque, Classical, Beethoven (per Greenberg, he sort of is in his own category), Romanticism and early 20th century modern composition. Continue reading


Haydn Seek

I am not obsessive compulsive but I can be a wee obsessive about certain things. I searched for years for Twilight Zone episodes missing from my collection – lots of taping marathons looking for one here and one there – so that I could watch all 156 in original broadcast order, which I did over a two and a half year period starting in 2009 (geek obsession…that was the 50th anniversary year of its premiere). Now and then, I like to listen to the entire Rush, Pink Floyd and Beatles discographies in release order. As I like classical music, among many other collections, I’ve listened to all of Mozart’s symphonies in 2010 – in numerical order, of course. When a set of the Deutsche Grammophon Complete Beethoven Edition made its way to me, well, that took a while to get through, in disc order, also of course! So yes…obsessive. I was learning about Haydn in a lecture series (more on that) and wanted to hear more, so I went seeking. Continue reading