Music as a Mirror of History [TTC Video]

Music as a Mirror of History [TTC Video]
Music as a Mirror of History [TTC Video] by Robert Greenberg
Course No 7340 | MP4, AVC, 856x480 | AAC, 192 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x45 mins | 10.98GB

“What I write is my commentary on what is happening around me… my music is my commentary.” Henryk Gуrecki

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 a role in historical events.

But what about music? What is the intersection—if any—between the influential works of Western concert music and the historical times that surrounded them?

In Music as a Mirror of History, Great Courses favorite Professor Robert 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. Indeed, certain works of music do not just mirror the general spirit of their time and place, but can even explicitly evoke specific historical events. As Professor Greenberg demonstrates in this course, 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 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 experience. Music lovers and history enthusiasts alike will be enthralled by this exploration of how momentous compositions have responded to—and inspired—pivotal events.

Consider the following:

  • The writing of Handel’s celebrated Water Music (1714) was intimately connected with the incredible story of how a German prince of Brunswick-Lьneberg became King George I of England—whose patronage of Handel produced a series of masterpieces created to glorify the English royal court.
  • Frйdйric Chopin’s iconic Revolutionary Etude for piano (1831) was written in the composer’s dark despair over a failed uprising in Warsaw against Poland’s Russian overlords, an event which left a permanent mark on the character of Chopin’s music.
  • Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3 (1946) expresses the euphoric postwar spirit of the American people, victorious after both the Great Depression and a globe-spanning battle against fascism.
  • In this unique and eye-opening course, Professor Greenberg presents an in-depth survey of musical works that were written in direct response to contemporary historical events—events that both shaped the composers’ lives and inspired the creation of the works in question. In a novel departure from his previous courses, which explore how classical masterpieces work as music per se, here Professor Greenberg reveals, in stunning and poignant detail, the ways in which history influenced some of the great (and not so great!) works of music, and how they in turn influenced history.

Ranging widely across the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, the lectures immerse you in 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 U.S., 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 Janбиek, Gуrecki, and Crumb.

Incorporating superlative musical excerpts in each lesson, these 24 sumptuously detailed lectures offer you a revelatory look at history through the lens of music. The result is deep and enlightening insight into both, and a view of the remarkable interface between the events of history and a musical repertoire which stands among the most sublime creations of our civilization.

A Vividly Different Window on Music—and on History

This is as much a course about history as it is about music, and anyone with an interest in history will find it both enthralling and richly informative. The course reminds us that history is not only available to us through the study of events, but also through many diverse forms of human expression, including great music. For example, Mozart’s Abduction from the Harem vividly reflects Europe’s centuries-long conflict and simultaneous fascination with the Ottoman Empire, and you’ll find this in both the opera’s text and in Mozart’s use of specific, stereotypically “Turkish” musical devices and figurations.

To know the historical context of these great works opens up an entirely new level of understanding and appreciation of music—music that was meant to be not only aesthetically and spiritually satisfying, but also socially, historically, and politically meaningful.

At the heart of the inquiry, you’ll discover how history and music intertwine in works such as:

  • Beethoven’s Farewell Sonata (1810): Witness the dramatic unfolding of the French Revolutionary Wars, and the escalating military conflicts that pitted Napoleon against the Austrian Habsburg Empire. Observe how this great sonata for piano expresses Beethoven’s range of emotions over the absence of his esteemed patron as Napoleon’s army vanquished Vienna.
  • Berlioz and de L’isle’s La Marseillaise (1830): Trace the complex and colorful history that made Paris the hotbed of European revolutionary activity. Learn how Rouget de L’isle’s beloved marching song La Marseillaise echoed across France from 1792 to the anti-Bourbon revolution of 1830, when Hector Berlioz set it epically for double chorus, children’s choir, and extended orchestra.
  • Verdi’s Nabucco (1842): Discover the historic events that linked Verdi’s 1842 opera inextricably with the Italian movement for unification, and consider how the Italian people’s passionate embrace of Verdi’s music swept the composer into a reluctant but ultimately committed role as a politician in the birth of the Italian nation.
  • Gottschalk’s The Union (1862): Enter the life of one of the most dazzling and outlandish of American composers—that of Louis Moreau Gottschalk, a world-conquering piano virtuoso, composer of genius, and fierce anti-slavery advocate during the Civil War, whose unflagging efforts on behalf of the Northern cause included this galvanizing, patriotic concert piece.
  • Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel (1907): Uncover how Rimsky-Korsakov’s classic opera functioned as thinly-veiled political polemic, and grasp how both its allegorical narrative and musical setting mocked and satirized the Russian military’s disastrous defeat by the Japanese in 1905, the iron hand of the Imperial government, and the beleaguered figure of Tsar Nicholas II.
  • George Crumb’s Black Angels (1970): Trace the genesis of this contemporary masterpiece in the Cold War political maneuvering that led the U.S. into Vietnam and an era of bitter protest. In Crumb’s visionary string quartet, experience the composer’s searing musical language that evokes the battlefield horrors and the American public’s sense of waste and grief.

A One-Of-A-Kind Learning Experience

The unique manner of inquiry of this course offers you an analysis of history that is not available anywhere else—an analysis that synthesizes two fields of knowledge with astonishing detail and depth, requiring an expert historian, on the one hand, and an expert musicologist, on the other. As the lectures consistently reveal, Professor Greenberg is both.

In the lecture on Mily Balakirev’s Symphony No. 1, you’ll observe how the 19th–century Russian movement toward “expository” music writing, as well as rejection of pre-existing musical forms, was profoundly linked to notions of the Russian “national character”—an example, as Professor Greenberg says, of how “a musical syntax can become part of a national myth.” Later, you’ll take the measure of the nightmare of Stalinism, and of how Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 expresses the experience of the millions who were destroyed by the regime. And, in Henryk Gуrecki’s heartbreakingly beautiful “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs,” you’ll see how the composer used ancient musical material with deep cultural resonance—history in sound—to reflect unforgettably on the modern tragedy that befell Poland in World War II.

Standing on the shoulders of Professor Greenberg’s catalogue of celebrated courses, Music as a Mirror of History offers further compelling insights into our musical tradition. By demonstrating the deep interconnections between lived human experience—that is, history—and musical expression, Professor Greenberg speaks incisively to both the nature of great art, and to what is perhaps the greatest gift of the art form in question: the ability of music to speak to dimensions of our awareness that are unreachable by words or visual symbols.

In Music as a Mirror of History, you’ll explore how music, in its singular capacity to evoke and reflect experience, can bring us not only transcendent beauty and joy, but also understanding, compassion, and meaning amid even the most terrible of human events. Join us for an unparalleled look into the power and scope of musical art.

Music as a Mirror of History [TTC Video]

Classical Archaeology of Ancient Greece and Rome [TTC Video]

Classical Archaeology of Ancient Greece and Rome [TTC Video]
Classical Archaeology of Ancient Greece and Rome [TTC Video] by John R Hale
Course No 3340 | AVI, XviD, 640x432 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 5.26GB

Classical archaeology—the excavation and analysis of ancient Greek and Roman sites—was born on Wednesday, October 22, 1738. On that day, Roque Joaquнn Alcubierre, an engineer in the army of the Bourbon royal family in Naples, was lowered by ropes down a square well shaft cut through volcanic material that had formed on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. When Alcubierre reached the bottom of the well, 65 feet below the surface, he began to wind his way through tunnels carved into the volcanic material, noting pieces of architectural elements as he went.

This discovery became the first systematic study of the astonishingly intact ruins of the Roman city of Herculaneum, buried for 1,700 years in the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Alcubierre's recording of the artworks, colored marbles, inscriptions, lamps, and items of everyday life he discovered deep inside the earth marked the "Big Bang" of Classical archaeology—a quest to understand Greek and Roman culture through its material remains that continues to this day.

In the 36 lectures of Classical Archaeology of Ancient Greece and Rome, archaeologist and award-winning Professor John R. Hale guides you through this fascinating field of study and through dozens of ancient sites with the skill of a born storyteller. Mixing the exotic adventures, unexpected insights, and abiding mysteries of archaeology's fabled history with anecdotes of his own extensive field experience, Dr. Hale creates a fascinating narrative that unfolds like a series of detective stories and provides a new perspective from which to view the world of the Greeks and Romans.

A Discipline unto Itself

Many disciplines have tried to claim Classical archaeology as their own, yet it is a discipline wholly unto itself. Classical archaeology is less a branch of archaeology and more the root of the entire field.

"It was in the archaeology of Greece and Rome that the entire discipline of trying to understand the past through its material remains began," notes Dr. Hale. "It's through archaeology that some of the most important advances—such as proper field technique, experimental archaeology, and underwater archaeology—were all brought into this great world of study."

As you discover in Classical Archaeology of Greece and Rome, the field has evolved over the years from a pastime for collectors and antiquarians to a mature science. Today, Classical archaeology is a multidisciplinary effort that involves not only traditional diggers but geologists, geographers, chemists, anthropologists, historians, and linguists.

Through Classical archaeology, the civilizations of Greece and Rome come into sharper focus through a reconstruction of the past in all its color: its ideals, aspirations, achievements, and virtues; its vices, superstitions, disasters, and crimes. From the various physical remains of these long-gone places, Classical archaeologists create a window in which to see the richness of the worlds of Greece and Rome, resurrecting them in all their glory and affording us a better grasp of cultures which have greatly influenced our own.

Explore Ancient Sites and Meet Early Pioneers

The course introduces you to a series of exciting archaeologist sites that provide you with a detailed idea of what Classical archaeology entails, as well as insights into the details of ancient Greek and Roman life. These case studies—involving both famous sites and discoveries unknown outside the field—include:

  • Troy: In 1871, the German entrepreneur Heinrich Schliemann confirmed the long-forgotten site of ancient Troy in northwest Turkey, based on astute detective work by a resident English diplomat. Schliemann's sensational discoveries at this and other Bronze-Age sites made him the most famous archaeologist of his day.
  • The Athenian Agora: Since 1931, the American School of Classical Studies in Athens has been excavating this civic heart of ancient Athens, which witnessed momentous events including the trial of Socrates. Buildings and artifacts discovered here give you an unsurpassed picture of life in a major city of Classical Greece.
  • Torre de Palma: In 1947, plowmen working a field in southern Portugal chanced upon the base of a Roman column, which turned out to be sitting on a mosaic floor. Archaeologists eventually uncovered an entire Roman country estate, equipped for complete self-sufficiency in the uncertain times of the later Roman Empire.
  • The Cape Gelidonya Shipwreck: In 1960, American archaeologist George Bass forged the techniques for systematic underwater archaeology by excavating a rich Bronze-Age cargo ship off of southern Turkey. He discovered a hoard of artifacts and the largest stockpile of ingots ever recovered from the Trojan War period.

Through an analysis of these and other riveting sites, you get a superb sampling of Classical archaeology and learn how it combines ancient history, anthropology, ethnography, comparative religion, art history, experimental engineering, historical linguistics, paleobotany, and other pursuits with a dash of Indiana Jones–style adventure.

You also encounter some of the pioneering figures in Classical archaeology whose work had a lasting impact on the field, including:

  • Guiseppe Fiorelli: who conceived the strategy of pouring plaster into cavities in the volcanic rock at Pompeii in the 1860s to reveal the precise forms of long-dead Pompeiians.
  • Sir Mortimer Wheeler: who with his wife developed the grid system of excavation still in use today, in which the site is laid out like a checkerboard with a wall of the original ground left around each excavated square to give an exposed sequence of the dig's different layers.
  • Michael Ventris: who discovered that Linear B, a mystifying script discovered in the early 1900s at a Bronze-Age complex on Crete, was a form of Greek.

Three Views from Complimentary Perspectives

Dr. Hale divides Classical Archaeology of Greece and Rome into three parts, each of which approaches the field from a different, complimentary perspective.

  • Creating a Science of the Past (Lectures 1–12): You trace the origin of archaeology—from the enthusiasm surrounding early excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii to the latest technological advances of today—and focus on methods, tools, technologies, and how archaeologists evaluate evidence and solve problems.
  • An Archaeologist's Casebook (Lectures 13–24): You tour a dozen important archaeological sites or discoveries ranging from the Bronze Age to late antiquity: sites in Greece or Greek waters, sites in Rome or its provinces, and a pair of bronze statues found off the coast of southern Italy.
  • A View from the Trenches (Lectures 25–36): You approach Classical archaeology thematically, exploring what the field has contributed to our knowledge of ancient life including topics like diets, entertainment, engineering, slavery, religion, and the role of women. Two lectures investigate what archaeology has to say about a pair of big-picture controversies: What are the roots of Classical culture, and why did the Roman Empire fall?

Details that Bring the Ancient World Alive

One of the joys of Classical archaeology is that it brings history alive in very specific, personal ways by offering you glimpses into the lives of real people—sometimes very famous ones:

  • The most renowned of all Greek sculptors was Phidias, and while little of his sculptural work survives, his personal drinking cup was found at the excavation of his workshop in Olympia, inscribed: "I belong to Phidias."
  • A papyrus discovered in 1904 was recently studied in detail and appears to have an instruction written in the handwriting of Cleopatra: to grant tax exemptions to one of her generals and the friend of her lover, Mark Antony.
  • In 1980, excavations at Herculaneum found the remains of 300 men, women, and children who were awaiting evacuation when the eruption of Vesuvius engulfed them. Some of the personal effects uncovered included a carpenter's tool chest, a nursemaid's bracelet, and a child's treasure box—with a pair of coins still inside.
  • Graffiti on a Roman outpost dated to A.D. 238 bears the chilling message, "The Parthians have fallen upon us." Archaeologists found evidence of a great assault that overwhelmed the imperial garrison.
  • Among the many "curse tablets" found at the Roman spa in present-day Bath, England, is one from the victim of an ancient purse snatching. He asks the gods for various favors: the return of the money, bad luck for the thief, and, if nothing else, the perpetrator's name.

Classical Archaeology of Greece and Rome enables you to view the world of the Greeks and Romans not as a sequence of historical events but as an immense living organism; a system in which society, culture, and the natural environment interact in dynamic, creative, and sometimes destructive ways.

See History through the Eyes of an Expert

Dr. Hale is an experienced archaeologist who has lectured widely beyond the university and brought the wonders of archaeological discoveries to the general public. His background includes a long-running position as field director for the University of Louisville's excavations at Torre de Palma and his participation in the search for sunken ships from the armada that attached Greece during the Greek and Persian Wars.

From Spain and the Black Sea to Romania and the shores of North Africa, Dr. Hale takes you on a captivating 2,000-year journey that will strengthen what he calls your "archaeological literacy." At the end of Classical Archaeology of Greece and Rome, you will have a clearer understanding of Classical archaeology: its scope, its methods, its accomplishments, its terms, its controversies, and—above all—what it can tell us about life in antiquity and how it relates to our own time.

Classical Archaeology of Ancient Greece and Rome [TTC Video]

Jesus and His Jewish Influences [TTC Video]

Jesus and His Jewish Influences [TTC Video]
Jesus and His Jewish Influences [TTC Video] by Jodi Magness
Course No 6281 | M4V, AVC, 854x480 | AAC, 157 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 2.5GB

For anyone interested in understanding the profound effect Jesus had on the world, it’s important to realize that his actions and teachings didn’t emerge from a vacuum. Rather, they were the product of a fascinating dialogue with—and reaction to—the traditions, cultures, and historical developments of ancient Jewish beliefs. In fact, early Judaism and Jesus are two subjects so inextricably linked that one cannot arrive at a true understanding of Jesus without understanding the time in which he lived and taught.

In search of a more complete comprehension of Jesus’s legacy, this course explores fundamental questions such as:

  • How was early Judaism markedly different from the Rabbinic Judaism practiced today?
  • What kind of world did early Jewish sects envision, and how does Jesus’s world view relate to theirs?
  • How did events like the Babylonian exile and the reign of Herod the Great affect the development of Judaism up to Jesus’s time?
  • What did it really mean to be a Jew in ancient Israel—and what did it mean for Jesus?

Answers to these and other thought-provoking questions about ancient Judaism and the roots of Jesus’s ministry can be found in the 24 intriguing lectures of Jesus and His Jewish Influences. Crafted by acclaimed archaeologist and biblical scholar Jodi Magness of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this fascinating course approaches the subject of Jesus from a historical, rather than scriptural, perspective; one rooted in the study of ancient texts and archaeological discoveries. You’ll embark upon an in-depth investigation of the ancient world that Jesus was born into, and you’ll revisit the tumultuous events of early Jewish history with the specific purpose of gleaning hidden insights into how they shaped an individual—and a movement—whose legacy endures to this very day.

Learn How Ancient Israel Gave Rise to Jesus Instead of focusing on historically authenticating the Gospel accounts of Jesus’s sayings and activities, Jesus and His Jewish Influences is interested in exploring how the Gospel accounts are better understood through the lens of early Judaism. To this end, Professor Magness’s lectures are a veritable survey of some of the most defining moments in ancient Israel, from the establishment of Mosaic Law to the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 A.D. These include:
  • The destruction of Solomon’s Temple: In 586 B.C., the Kingdom of Judah fell to the Babylonians, and Solomon’s Temple was destroyed. Signaling the end of the First Temple Period, this traumatic event was drawn upon later by the Gospel authors as a way to illustrate Jesus’s foreshadowing of the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D.
  • The Babylonian exile: After the conquest of the Kingdom of Judah, the inhabitants were forced into exile. The exile ended in 539 B.C. after the Persian king Cyrus allowed the exiled Jews return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple. This return, however, led to a powerful schism between the Jews and Samaritans—one reflected in Gospel parables about Samaritans.
  • The Maccabean Revolt: When Judaism was outlawed under the orders of Antiochus IV, a priestly clan named the Maccabees (or Hasmoneans) led a revolt in 167 B.C. to oppose this new reality. Lasting for years, the revolt was a reaction to Antiochus IV’s edict outlawing Judaism and rededicating the Jerusalem temple to the worship of Olympian Zeus. The rise of the Maccabean Kingdom also provides interesting context for understanding the Gospel birth narratives about Jesus.

Along the way, you’ll encounter a fascinating range of early Jewish sects, including the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. You’ll also meet some of the predecessors and contemporaries of Jesus who played a pivotal role in shaping or recording the world Jesus was born into, such as

  • Herod the Great, the tyrannical and murderous ruler of Judea infamous for the (historically questionable) Massacre of the Innocents;
  • Flavius Josephus, the ancient historian whose writings complement the works of the Gospel authors and who offers first-hand accounts of events during the time of Jesus and afterwards;
  • King Josiah, the ruler of Judea loved by the biblical writers (and described in glowing terms) for his religious reforms asserting the centrality of the Jerusalem Temple and its priesthood.

Draw Illuminating Connections between Jesus and Judaism

At the heart of these lectures are eye-opening, illuminating insights into the numerous historical connections between Jesus and the story of early Judaism. You’ll see firsthand how this background provides a deeper, more well-rounded context for understanding Gospel accounts of Jesus’s life and ministry—and, conversely, the Gospels themselves provide valuable information about how Judaism was lived and practiced in Jesus’s time.

Here are just a few of the many connections you’ll make in Jesus and His Jewish Influences:

  • Schismatic Samaritans: The historic schism between the Jews and Samaritans after the Babylonian exile can be found hidden within the popular parable of the Good Samaritan. The story itself puts a strange spin on the person who comes out looking good (the Samaritan) considering that Samaritans were, in the eyes of Jews during the time of Jesus, schismatics.
  • Golden rules: The passage in Matthew that recounts Jesus’s “golden rule” illustrates a broad disagreement among early Jews about whether or not to love one’s enemies. Jesus’s views about loving everyone (and healing the sick) stem not from pure kindness alone but from his view of holiness—that one can only enter the Kingdom of Heaven by emulating God’s perfection.
  • Political executions: Why was James, the brother of Jesus, not crucified but stoned to death? The answer is that he was charged with violating Jewish law, unlike Jesus, who was executed by the Romans on a charge of treason. James’s execution by the Sanhedrin (on possibly trumped-up charges) reflects the early hostility of elite Jews toward the proto-Christians.
  • Mountaintop revelations: What makes the episode of the Sermon on the Mount so interesting is its clear connection with Moses’s revelation of the law on Mount Sinai. Both revelations take place on sacred mountaintops, and both involve the establishment of new laws meant to guide an entire people

Get a Fresh Look at the Origins of History’s Most Influential Figure

Throughout the course, Professor Magness speaks directly from her hands-on experience as a classical archaeologist digging in Israel and her depth of knowledge as a scholar of early Judaism. The winner of numerous teaching awards and honors, she’s spent her entire career immersed in the rich history of the ancient Holy Land, making her the perfect professor for a course designed to place Jesus within his contemporary socio-political environs.

Every lecture of Jesus and His Jewish Influences draws on a wealth of excerpts and passages from some of the most important and influential texts ever written, including:

  • the Hebrew Bible
  • the New Testament (specifically the four canonical Gospels)
  • the Apocrypha (“hidden works”) and Pseudepigrapha (“false writings”)
  • historical accounts, including Josephus’s The Jewish War
  • the Dead Sea Scrolls

What made Jesus Jesus? How did his life and teachings reflect his Jewish roots—and break away from them? Prepare for a fresh look at Jesus that will bring you closer than ever to the dawn of a spiritual figure—and revolution—that would change the world.

Jesus and His Jewish Influences [TTC Video]

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