A must-see for anyone interested in classical music
The subject of this 'mini-series' is classical music -- more specifically what is the 'future' of 'art' music. These are tapes of lectures given at Harvard in 1973 and broadcast (one, I believe) in 1976. There was a book of the lectures, with some mini-LPs for some of the musical examples.
These lectures are intended for a general, but well educated, audience. Non-classically trained musicians may find things rough going in spots, but Bernstein is an excellent lecturer. (Those of us who heard his young person's concerts in the 1950s should remember these concerts fondly.)
The title of the series is taken from a composition from Charles Ives. In the mid-20th century, classical music was in crisis -- and still is, if it has not become irrelevant to the majority of people. Bernstein examines the crisis from the viewpoint of why there is a crisis in the first place. Thirty years later, we may see that his conclusions are a bit optimistic, but the entire discussion is still relevant.
As far as the quality of the image and sound, the DVDs are taken directly from video-tape and the source material is not pristine. The sound is OK, but not up to current standards. However, the main reason for watching the lectures is the content, which is better than first rate.
These lectures raise issues that are still relevant today. Anyone who is interested in music will benefit by viewing this series.
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