The Colossal Symphony: Beethoven, Berlioz, Mahler and Shostakovich 
The Colossal Symphony: Beethoven, Berlioz, Mahler and Shostakovich by Yale / Craig Wright
Video Lecture 20 of 23
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Date Added: January 17, 2015

Lecture Description

The history and development of the symphony is the topic of this lecture. Professor Wright leads the students from Mozart to Mahler, discussing the ways in which the genre of symphonic music changed throughout the nineteenth century, as well as the ways in which the make-up of the symphony orchestra itself evolved during this period. The changes in the nature of orchestral music are contextualized within the broader historical changes taking place in Europe in the nineteenth century. The lecture is supplemented with musical excerpts drawn from Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Wagner, and Mahler. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction to Symphonies 08:52 - Chapter 2. Historical Changes in Strings and Woodwind Instruments 15:27 - Chapter 3. The Development of the Brass Family 23:22 - Chapter 4. The Growing Orchestra: Capacities and Limits in the 19th Century 29:52 - Chapter 5. Accommodating Orchestras: The Advent of Concert Halls 35:27 - Chapter 6. Gustav Mahler, the Symphony Composer 47:33 - Chapter 7. Conclusion

Course Index

Course Description

This course fosters the development of aural skills that lead to an understanding of Western music. The musical novice is introduced to the ways in which music is put together and is taught how to listen to a wide variety of musical styles, from Bach and Mozart, to Gregorian chant, to the blues.


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