Friday, November 12, 2004

I Miss Dr. Greenberg

I did it. I went and listened to every Teaching Company/Robert Greenberg lecture series offered by my local library. And the library had quite a few: How to Listen To and Understand Great Music, How to Listen To and Understand Opera, Symphonies of Beethoven, The Symphony, and Bach and the High Baroque.

Actually, "Bach and the High Baroque" is mine. The library just couldn't order it fast enough, so I ordered it myself.

So I'm out of Greenberg lecture tapes and am very sad about this. My commute to and from work every day has been greatly enriched by Dr. Greenberg. Some of the information in these lectures has been review for me, since I took quite a few music classes in college. But a lot of it was new. And it's good to hear someone (Dr. Greenberg) get even more excited about classical music than I do.

I've already requested that the library buy more Greenberg lectures. Until then, I'm listening to a 50-lecture series, The Great Ideas of Philosophy, by Professor Daniel N. Robinson of Oxford University. They're pretty good. The professor says "do you see" whenever he makes a point, states it like a declarative sentence even though it's in the interrogative form. It's endearing. Here are some examples: "Plato could have been sitting there, taking notes, do you see." "Euripides was ahead of his time, do you see." Stuff like that. (These aren't exact quotes ... just riffraff I pulled out of my head for use as examples.)

Oxford has been merging in my head a lot lately, too. Probably because I've been reading so much of C.S. Lewis, who was an Oxford don. And I had a fruit-and-cheese plate at a restaurant the other day. That's significant because when I was at Oxford in the summer of '91, I would hang out at The Eagle and Child and order a fruit-and-cheese plate because the food at the college was so bad. And I'd just sit there at the pub of the Inklings and relish in the fact that, several decades before, C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien may have sat in the exact spot where I was seated. I was pretty miserable that summer at Oxford, but I enjoyed haunting The Eagle and Child and imagining the ghosts.

So anyway, now you know why fruit-and-cheese plates, The Eagle and Child, and Lewis and Tolkien are forever linked in my mind.

I also enjoyed the Mozart Bicentennial Loan Exhibition that was ongoing at the Bodleian that year (1991). The coolest part was seeing Mozart's handwritten music to the A-minor sonata that I had been learning the year before. I just about fell to my knees.

I DID fall to my knees at the grave of Shakespeare. But that's another story.

Anyway, I hope to have more Robert Greenberg lecture tapes soon. 'Cause he seems like a very nice, smart man, and I miss him dearly.


Anonymous said...

The Teaching Company also offers a course on CS Lewis. And many more Greenbergs as well! Happy listening!

Waterfall said...

Yes, the C.S. Lewis lectures are on my list of courses to listen to. Glad to see there are more Teaching Company fans out there!

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