Wednesday, August 13, 2014

McGill University Music and Mind Lectures

I stumbled across in iTunesU a series of public lectures given over the past several years by both faculty and guests at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. I've been listening to it all day today. I just couldn't stop.

Music and Mind Lecture Series, McGill University

I managed to get through the first 12 hours of lectures. Not all of them were stellar, but each of them were unique, presented by experts of the field, and contained live performances by the lecturers themselves. It was a musical delight for myself today.

Among my favorites so far are:

"The Secrets of Music Theory" by Nicole Biamonte
This is the one that kickstarted today's indulgence. If you know nothing about how to listen to music, this is a great one to listen to.

"Presence and Experience" by Shelley Stein-Sacks
Easily my favorite lecture. It's about how you establish your career as a musician, but the elements in it rung so close to home. He said what I've always felt about how I played music. I just didn't know that's what it took to make it something of a career. This guy knows how it works. Even if you don't plan a career in music, what he has to say will make you think.

"Voice of the Violin" by Mark Fewer
For the low-down on this beautiful instrument. But most wonderful is the jazz improvisation he does on the violin of a Dvorak piece. Beautiful performance.

"Success in Music, Success in Life: Reflections of the career path of a professional musician" by Jens Lindemann
Near the beginning, at minute 10:32, he has a performance of "What a Wonderful World" which brought tears to my eyes. He's an excellent presenter -- engaging and entertaining.

"How to Build an Opera" by Patrick Hansen
He's a great presenter and gives a real insight into the tremendous amount of work that is required of an opera singer, and an opera production. The real treat here though, is the student, Phillipe, and his amazing AMAZING voice. He demonstrates Hansen's lecture points with some stunning display of the Toreodor aria from the opera, Carmen. I've been left mesmerized. I looked forward to every time he went to sing. He does a full performance of the aria at the end of the lecture. And he does not disappoint.

I got as far as Anton's Kuerti's lecture on the late piano sonatas of Beethoven, but by that time, 12 hours of pure music lecture was about all I could take. So I'll probably start there tomorrow.

If you love classical and jazz music, you may find these enjoyable as I have.

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