The Great Courses: Fine Arts & Music

29 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 86 ratings

Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks to Fusion Publisher's Summary

Jazz is a uniquely American art form, one of America's great contributions to not only musical culture, but world culture, with each generation of musicians applying new levels of creativity that take the music in unexpected directions that defy definition, category, and stagnation.

Now you can learn the basics and history of this intoxicating genre in an eight-lecture series that is as free-flowing and original as the art form itself. You'll follow the evolution of jazz from its beginnings in the music and dancing of the antebellum plantations to its morphing into many shapes as its greatest innovators gave us ragtime, the blues, the swing music of the big band era, boogie-woogie, and big band blues.

You'll follow the rise of modern jazz in all of its many forms, including bebop, cool, modal, free, and fusion jazz. And you'll learn how the course of jazz was changed by key technological innovations, such as the invention of the microphone, which allowed smaller-voiced singers like Bing Crosby or Mel Torme to share a limelight once reserved for the bigger voices of stars like Bessie Smith or Al Jolson.

Beginning the story on those antebellum plantations, Professor Messenger reveals how the "cakewalks" of slave culture gave birth to a dance craze at the end of the 19th century that was ignorant of its own humble roots. And he explores the irony of the minstrel shows, which derived from Southern beliefs of black cultural inferiority yet eventually spawned a musical industry that African-American musicians would dominate for decades to come.

As a bonus, the lectures are also very entertaining, with Professor Messenger frequently turning to his piano to illustrate his musical points, often with the help of guest artists.

©1995 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1995 The Great Courses
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    • The Chamber Music of Mozart

    • Written by: Robert Greenberg, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Robert Greenberg
    • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
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    Nowhere is Mozart's maturity and mastery more apparent than in the chamber music he wrote during the last 10 years of his life. These 16 lectures take you deep inside the structure of Mozart's chamber masterworks to reveal his hand at work. This is an amazing opportunity to hear, study, and enjoy a selection of immortal musical compositions that Professor Greenberg calls "a blessing of inconceivable richness". You will learn the basic "language" that all 18th-century composers used to write Classical music. You'll also explore the subtleties of Mozart's technique as a composer: his ability to make art "artless".

    Price: CDN$ 46.25

    • The String Quartets of Beethoven

    • Written by: Robert Greenberg, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Robert Greenberg
    • Length: 18 hrs and 31 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
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    In this musically rich 24-lecture series, Professor Greenberg guides you in a deep encounter with these majestic works of art, offering you the rare opportunity to grasp the musical riches and spiritual greatness of the quartets in a clear and accessible way. Each of these lectures is a rare and life-enriching opportunity to know the scope of Beethoven's genius, his most unforgettable music, and the profound humanity and beauty that live through them.

    Price: CDN$ 55.51

    • Beethoven's Piano Sonatas

    • Written by: Robert Greenberg, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Robert Greenberg
    • Length: 18 hrs and 23 mins
    • Original Recording
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    A revolutionary man living in a revolutionary time, Beethoven used the piano as his personal musical laboratory. The piano sonata became, more than any other genre of music, a place where he could experiment with harmony, motivic development, the contextual use of form, and, most important, his developing view of music as a self-expressive art.Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas include some of his most popular works as well as some of his most experimental.

    Price: CDN$ 55.51

    • The Concerto

    • Written by: Robert Greenberg, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Robert Greenberg
    • Length: 18 hrs and 56 mins
    • Original Recording
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    The concerto offers a kind of unique excitement no other instrumental music can match. Where a symphony enthralls us with its thematic variations and development, a concerto gives us human drama-the exhilaration of a soloist or group of soloists ringing forth against the mass of the orchestra.In 24 musically rich lectures, Professor Greenberg provides a guided tour of the concerto, from its conception as a child of Renaissance ideals, through its maturation in the Classical age, its metamorphosis in the Romantic era, and its radical transformation in the 20th century and beyond.

    Price: CDN$ 55.51

    • The Music of Richard Wagner

    • Written by: Robert Greenberg, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Robert Greenberg
    • Length: 18 hrs and 50 mins
    • Original Recording
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    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. 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.

    Price: CDN$ 55.51

    • Great American Music: Broadway Musicals

    • Written by: Bill Messenger, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Bill Messenger
    • Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 2
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      4 out of 5 stars 2
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    Rodgers and Hart. George and Ira Gershwin. Cole Porter. Lerner and Loewe. For most people who've grown up with and shared America's musical heritage, great songs open the floodgates to memories and feelings. Perhaps nowhere is this more profound than in the world of Broadway musicals, with their iconic melodies and memorable lyrics.Revisit the standards, originally written for the stage, that have both delighted and helped mend the broken hearts of Americans for decades.

    Price: CDN$ 46.25

    • The 23 Greatest Solo Piano Works

    • Written by: Robert Greenberg, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Robert Greenberg
    • Length: 19 hrs and 28 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 5
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    The piano is the most popular solo concert instrument in Western music. One of the key reasons is the fact that it has inspired many of the greatest masterpieces in the concert repertoire. To study these masterworks and to understand their genius and lasting appeal is to know one of the greatest accomplishments of Western culture, works that give great pleasure even as they deepen your insight into the meaning of music.

    Price: CDN$ 55.51

    • The Great Works of Sacred Music

    • Written by: Charles Edward McGuire, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Charles Edward McGuire
    • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      3.5 out of 5 stars 2
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    Beginning with medieval chant, discover how its single musical line evolved into polyphony (music with multiple simultaneous melodies). You'll also learn how the religious reformations of the 16th century compelled composers to create new musical genres and to make religious texts more intelligible. Additionally, observe how 17th-century composers blended sacred styles with genres such as opera, producing music of dramatic and unforgettable beauty.

    Price: CDN$ 46.25

    • Music as a Mirror of History

    • Written by: Robert Greenberg, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Robert Greenberg
    • Length: 18 hrs and 16 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 8
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 8
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    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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Informative and entertaining

    • By May Fung on 2018-09-13

    Price: CDN$ 56.38

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