Robert Greenberg

Robert Greenberg >

25
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Music and History, Madrigals and Maps
Episode 1 of Music as a Mirror of History
Begin to contemplate the connections between composers and specific historical events. Grasp how Thomas Morley's madrigals in praise of Queen Elizabeth I engaged with English national self-perception and myth, and how Leon Janacek and Frederic Chopin responded to political events…
Wagner: The Ring - 1876
Episode 14 of Music as a Mirror of History
Wagner's operatic cycle The Ring functions metaphorically as a caustic critique of 19th-century European society. Learn about Wagner's embrace of anti-capitalist rhetoric in 1848 and 1849, a time when revolutions broke out across Europe, and his writing of revolutionary articles…
Chopin: Étude in C Minor, Op. 10, No. 12 - 1831
Episode 8 of Music as a Mirror of History
In 1831, a failed political insurrection in Warsaw left a permanent mark on the music and spirit of Frederic Chopin. Beginning in the 17th century, explore the history of invasions, "partitions," and occupations of Poland by neighboring European powers, which…
Crumb: Black Angels - 1970
Episode 24 of Music as a Mirror of History
Conclude with George Crumb's passionate anti-war string quartet. Trace the backdrop of its writing in the political climate and policy decisions that led the U.S. into the quagmire of the Vietnam War. Observe how the attempted U.S. policy of "containment"…
Handel: Water Music - 1714
Episode 2 of Music as a Mirror of History
Discover how music and history intersected in the remarkable career of George Frederick Handel. Trace the extraordinary circumstances in which the German prince George Ludwig of Brunswick-Luneberg became King George I of England. Learn about his patronage of Handel, whose…
Verdi: Nabucco - 1842
Episode 13 of Music as a Mirror of History
In the creation of his opera Nabucco, Giuseppe Verdi played a key role in the movement for Italian unification. Study the series of 19th-century rebellions against Austrian rule that culminated in the two Italian wars of independence. Observe how the…
Haydn: Mass in the Time of War - 1797
Episode 4 of Music as a Mirror of History
Take stock of how events that began in revolutionary Paris inspired the expressive content of Haydn's Mass in the Time of War. Delve into the dramatic unfolding of the French Revolution, the subsequent rise of Napoleon, and the impending threat…
Mozart: The Abduction from the Harem - 1782
Episode 3 of Music as a Mirror of History
Here, learn how political events in Europe directly shaped Mozart's music and personal circumstances. Investigate the long-term threat posed to Europe by the Ottoman Empire, and observe the paradoxical Turkish vogue in European art and fashion. Study the Turkish elements…
Beethoven: Wellington’s Victory - 1813
Episode 6 of Music as a Mirror of History
The Napoleonic Wars--and Beethoven's conflicted feelings toward Napoleon--were elemental in another important episode in the composer's life. Trace Beethoven's increasing animosity toward the French, and observe the unfolding debacle of Napoleon's Peninsular War against Portugal and Spain. Learn how Beethoven…
Beethoven: The Farewell Sonata - 1810
Episode 5 of Music as a Mirror of History
In the first of two lectures on Beethoven, learn how the composer identified, almost mystically, with the figure of Napoleon. Study the events of the continuing clashes after the French Revolution, and witness the progressive military conflicts between Napoleon and…
Strauss Sr.: Radetzky March - 1848
Episode 10 of Music as a Mirror of History
Uncover the story behind Vienna's beloved Radetzky March, which reflects the last glory of the Austrian Empire. As background, track the historical triumphs and tribulations of the Habsburg dynasty, leading to the 1848 rebellion in which the musical Johann Strausses,…
Copland: Symphony No. 3 - 1946
Episode 22 of Music as a Mirror of History
Trace the Depression-era movement of populism in American art, based in the notion that high art should speak to the broad, general population, and learn how Copland's Symphony No. 3 captured the euphoric mood of the country following victories over…
Górecki: Symphony No. 3 - 1976
Episode 23 of Music as a Mirror of History
As context for this modern symphonic masterpiece, investigate the nearly inconceivable atrocities committed against Poland during World War II by Hitler's and Stalin's regimes, encompassing efforts by both aggressors to destroy Polish nationhood. Learn about Henryk Gorecki's life in wartime…
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13 - 1962
Episode 21 of Music as a Mirror of History
Take the measure of the terrors of the Stalinist regime in Soviet Russia, and uncover how many people, including Dimitri Shostakovich, were forced to lead double lives. Learn about the composition of the Symphony during the post-Stalin "Thaw," a less…
Berlioz/de L’Isle: “La Marseillaise” - 1830
Episode 7 of Music as a Mirror of History
In this lecture, envision the evolution of Paris from the 17th century to the 19th, and grasp how the city became a magnet for artists and intellectuals, and the spawning ground for the age of European revolutions. Witness the political…
Gottschalk: The Union - 1862
Episode 12 of Music as a Mirror of History
Louis Moreau Gottschalk was the first truly American composer. Delve into his early life in New Orleans, and observe the richly diverse cultures that shaped his music, encompassing European, Caribbean, Latin American and African influences. Follow his remarkable career as…
Brahms: Piano Quartet in G Minor, Op. 25 - 1861
Episode 11 of Music as a Mirror of History
As the prelude to a fateful episode in the life of Johannes Brahms, explore the 19th-century Hungarian nationalist movement, highlighting the revolutionary initiatives of Lajos Kossuth, icon of the 1848 revolt against Austrian domination. Witness how Brahms's meeting with the…
Glinka: A Life for the Tsar - 1836
Episode 9 of Music as a Mirror of History
Glinka's A Life for the Tsar was a landmark in the creation of Russian language opera. Learn about the origins of the opera's storyline in Russia's "Time of Troubles," an era of discord and invasions, and consider Glinka's role in…
Holst: Ode to Death - 1919
Episode 19 of Music as a Mirror of History
Gustav Holst's luminous Ode to Death responded to the immeasurable suffering of World War I. Learn about the underlying causes of the conflict, and grasp how the horrific human cost of the war reflected a tragic clash between archaism and…
Dvorák: From the New World Symphony - 1893
Episode 15 of Music as a Mirror of History
Explore the extraordinary industrial and economic rise of the United States in the 19th century, a phenomenon celebrated in the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893, one of the most spectacular world's fairs ever held. Witness the historic participation of Antonin…