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Course Lecture Titles 1. Let the Controversy Begin 2. The Kid's Got Talent! 3. Lady Macbeth 4. Resurrection 5. The Great Patriotic War 6. Repression and Depression 7. The Thaw 8. Illness and Inspiration Course Lecture Titles 1. Let the Controversy Begin 2. The Kid's Got Talent! 3. Lady Macbeth 4. Resurrection 5. The Great Patriotic War 6. Repression and Depression 7. The Thaw 8. Illness and Inspiration


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Course Lecture Titles 1. Let the Controversy Begin 2. The Kid's Got Talent! 3. Lady Macbeth 4. Resurrection 5. The Great Patriotic War 6. Repression and Depression 7. The Thaw 8. Illness and Inspiration Course Lecture Titles 1. Let the Controversy Begin 2. The Kid's Got Talent! 3. Lady Macbeth 4. Resurrection 5. The Great Patriotic War 6. Repression and Depression 7. The Thaw 8. Illness and Inspiration

30 review for Great Masters: Shostakovich His Life & Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Monroe

    I was pleased to discover, after booking airline tickets for a flight to Malta, that I had a 20-hour layover in Vienna. No one usually enjoys a particularly long layover, but in Vienna? And at no extra cost? Wunderbar! And of course while in Vienna one has to visit the Wiener Staatsoper, the Viennese opera. The performance that happened to coincide with my visit was Dmitri Shostakovich's "Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District". I was initially disappointed, especially because a Mozart opera would I was pleased to discover, after booking airline tickets for a flight to Malta, that I had a 20-hour layover in Vienna. No one usually enjoys a particularly long layover, but in Vienna? And at no extra cost? Wunderbar! And of course while in Vienna one has to visit the Wiener Staatsoper, the Viennese opera. The performance that happened to coincide with my visit was Dmitri Shostakovich's "Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District". I was initially disappointed, especially because a Mozart opera would be performed the previous night and a Wagner one the following night ... but Shostakovich?? Bad luck. Or so I thought. Shostakovich's "Lady Macbeth" is extraordinary but it's the story behind the opera that really amazes. Initially a huge success in Shostakovich's Soviet Union, the fortunes of "Lady Macbeth" (and Shostakovich himself) plummeted after Stalin attended a performance at Moscow's Bolshoi Theater. Not known as a particular kind or affable fellow, Stalin hated the performance and - right on cue - the Communist Party's propaganda newspaper, "Pravda" (which, quite ironically, translates as "Truth") published a scathing review, saying, among other hogwash, that the opera was "muddle instead of music" and went so far as to cast into doubt Shostakovich's future health. Such words were tantamount to a death sentence in Stalin's Russia and Shostakovich was, understandably, scared shitless. Robert Greenberg, my very favorite Great Courses Professor, goes into detail on this and many other events in Shostakovich's fascinating life, along with plays pieces of "Lady Macbeth" and Shostakovich's various orchestral works. All in eight fascinating lectures. If you're interested in music, Stalin's Russia, or the life of a musical genius under immense pressure, then I cannot recommend this enough. It is, simply put, fantastic! And I have a Viennese layover to thank for it all.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Those who know me know that I’m are Shostakovich nut, and I admit to having a fair few seasons of Dimitri-obsession. He was such an extraordinary, humane, and deeply dignified man. Add a time when this could be said of very few of his contemporary compatriots in power. He found that the first 30 years of his adult career (having been something of a child prodigy) directly coincided with Stalin‘s rule. Of course, there are big questions about how he navigated the shark-patrolled waters of Soviet r Those who know me know that I’m are Shostakovich nut, and I admit to having a fair few seasons of Dimitri-obsession. He was such an extraordinary, humane, and deeply dignified man. Add a time when this could be said of very few of his contemporary compatriots in power. He found that the first 30 years of his adult career (having been something of a child prodigy) directly coincided with Stalin‘s rule. Of course, there are big questions about how he navigated the shark-patrolled waters of Soviet rule and he did in the end buckle under pressure to join the Communist party. But I don’t think many of us, if any, are in a position to judge or condemn and what is clear is that his humanity was preserved through his compositions and his Extraordinary capacity for friendship. Greenburg does a good job of leading us through the key moments. But it is necessarily brief and cursory and his music deserves a course double or triple in length. But, if his music is a mystery or you know little about his life then this is a perfect way in

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    Rack another success up for Professor Greenberg. This is an excellent Great Course on Shostakovich. I am not much on 20th century music, and while there are pieces here and there of Shostakovich, I have never liked much of his work. While I am still not going to purchase the famous string quartets of Shostakovich, I have gained a HUGE appreciation for his life and work. His life mirrors the "life" of communism in Russia. He grew up free, so to speak, stepped out into a fascinating world of musica Rack another success up for Professor Greenberg. This is an excellent Great Course on Shostakovich. I am not much on 20th century music, and while there are pieces here and there of Shostakovich, I have never liked much of his work. While I am still not going to purchase the famous string quartets of Shostakovich, I have gained a HUGE appreciation for his life and work. His life mirrors the "life" of communism in Russia. He grew up free, so to speak, stepped out into a fascinating world of musical creativity in the early 1920's only to experience the Stalin purges and the death of many of his friends and colleagues as well as the crushing of creativity that did not mirror the Communist Stalin way. Born in 1906, he died in 1975. It is miraculous that he survived. Maxime, his son, later reflected that every day his father went out he took a bit of soap and a toothbrush. You never knew when you'd be whisked away to torture and exile, or torture and death. What I found fascinating are the "public words" that Shostakovich "said" as part of his public duties, and how the West even now cannot understand that what "public words" were said did not reflect what Shostakovich actually believed. When Shostakovich was given a speech to read in New York at a musical event, the words the translator read had been scripted exactly by Stalin. The scripted speech attacked Stravinsky, who by that time was living in the United States, having escaped Communist Russia. When Stravinsky was questioned later as to whether he had comments about the things Shostakovich said about him, he exploded to the reporter. "Do you think he is free? There is no discussion, no comments with someone who is not free. He wrote what was given to him. The translator read what was given to him. None of them are free." (I'm paraphrasing) A recent biography of Shostakovich, "Testimony" (by Solomon Volkov) was published after Shostakovich's death. The words were from interviews DIRECTLY WITH Shostakovich. He signed the transcribed chapters as they were done. Some passages within the chapters he signed as well. All this to let the world know what he really felt and meant. And at its publication in 1979, the West rejected it! It seems the Communist lies were so effective that they could not believe Shostakovich felt anything different about the prepared speeches he was given, and the forced agreement to dogma he despised. This has spurred me to find "Testimony" and read it. I found this course excellent and would recommend it highly.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    A very engaging set of lectures on Shastakovich’s life and music. I couldn’t help but contrast this real life with the fictional life “In A Gentleman in Moscow.” Real life was so much more challenging.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bernard

    amazing history, and how Robert Greenberg tells us that Story !!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nina Braden

    2002

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tamminh

    At the end of the course, the prof said something to the effect that it was a world we could not imagine today. Well, yes, not only I could imagine it, I lived in it in Vietnam, right after the fall of Saigon in 1975! Just finished the last of the 7 courses (that I have) on Great Masters by Prof Greenberg: I'm sad. His courses are *that* good. He has the gift of teaching things in such a captivating way. These Great Masters courses have just the right mix of music and biographical details for me At the end of the course, the prof said something to the effect that it was a world we could not imagine today. Well, yes, not only I could imagine it, I lived in it in Vietnam, right after the fall of Saigon in 1975! Just finished the last of the 7 courses (that I have) on Great Masters by Prof Greenberg: I'm sad. His courses are *that* good. He has the gift of teaching things in such a captivating way. These Great Masters courses have just the right mix of music and biographical details for me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    James

    I listened to this in preparation for reading Europe Central, which I've already heard on MP3. This lecture series features a lot of biography and history along with Shostakovich's music, because the two are hopelessly intertwined. I felt he gave some very good insight into Shostakovich, who is presented as a tragic figure. The lecturer can sometimes be a bit clownish, but he keeps things rolling right along to the end. I listened to this in preparation for reading Europe Central, which I've already heard on MP3. This lecture series features a lot of biography and history along with Shostakovich's music, because the two are hopelessly intertwined. I felt he gave some very good insight into Shostakovich, who is presented as a tragic figure. The lecturer can sometimes be a bit clownish, but he keeps things rolling right along to the end.

  9. 4 out of 5

    bibliotekker Holman

    I'd never listened to one of the "Great Courses" series of audio lectures, until someone donated this one to the library. The mix of lecture interspersed with representative samples of music was a great way to learn, while also getting a feel for the music he produced. I'd never listened to one of the "Great Courses" series of audio lectures, until someone donated this one to the library. The mix of lecture interspersed with representative samples of music was a great way to learn, while also getting a feel for the music he produced.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    How can you not love Greenberg? "His life since 1919 had been a study in how to create an ulcer..." How can you not love Greenberg? "His life since 1919 had been a study in how to create an ulcer..."

  11. 4 out of 5

    Yi

    The part about Soviet politics seems too much to me, and the professor definitely has very strong opinion in this topic.

  12. 5 out of 5

    David

  13. 4 out of 5

    Daymara

  14. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alina

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  17. 4 out of 5

    Iavo

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  19. 4 out of 5

    Harriet Smith

  20. 5 out of 5

    David Milligan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eric Vanasse

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andy Hoke

  23. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

  24. 5 out of 5

    Irena

  25. 5 out of 5

    George

  26. 4 out of 5

    Victor Da Luz

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Richardson

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Pierce

  29. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

  30. 4 out of 5

    William Trently

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